I don’t know one Arizona educator who actually enjoys April. Why? It’s that time of the year…… the dreaded AIMS has arrived to determine how much information our students absorbed throughout the school year and how effective we are as teachers.
You are probably thinking that you can stop reading this article now because you’re a primary teacher, administrator, parent, or curious random blog-reader. Wrong! We ALL have something to invest in the children whom are being assessed in the next two weeks. It’s down to the wire, and we are the village who must work together to make these children feel affiliated and affirmed within the greater body of intelligent human beings.
After teaching for over a decade, I can confidently conclude that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a valid tool to utilize when determining the knowledge of our students. Besides the two important foundational needs, Physiological and Safety, the third need is crucial to successful completion of standardized assessments: Love and Belongingness. I think this need is skipped as teachers assume parents provide this need and vice versa. But do you see the level of importance of this need? It surpasses the Cognitive Need by two levels!! As members of our society, not just educators, administrators, and/or parents, we should be providing Love and Belonging to all children!
So here are a few tips I have brainstormed to provide Love and Belonging to our students:
- Smile. Try it now. Practice it. Sounds corny, but when’s the last time you just sat down and laughed and smiled with your students?? I know as an educator I don’t think I smile too much during April. I am done with a lot of educational junk in my trunk, and usually am researching new careers and daydreaming about where to go during the summer. So make a POINT to smile. When you’re hammering in the last-minute AIMS practice questions, just stop. Turn. Take a deep breath. Smile. You can do it!
- Be positive!! Don’t despair when the children are not appearing to remember one single fact you taught them in the 100+ days you have been their teacher. Most likely they’re tired and burned out on assessing. Praise them for what they remember, increasing their confidence, morale, and self-esteem. They will shine when you remind them of their brilliance!
- Build up the children, don’t tear them down. They already feel the pressure about standardized assessments! They know what’s on the line for them, the teachers, and the school. A physical or verbal pat on the back goes a long way for many children. Take 5 minutes from your lunch every day to write 1 positive message on a sticky note for a few random students. Edification is the key to fruitful relationships within the classroom, uplifting our students to feel confident and successful.
- Celebrate all growth this Friday!! Find a way to celebrate how your children have grown as individual learners……. there is always some kind of growth to rejoice over. Don’t have your party after the AIMS, celebrate before!!
Remember that our students are children who need encouragement and emotional support as the building blocks of their psychological well-being. Be their rock this week!
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