As an elementary assistant principal, I often relieve teachers during standardized testing so they can take a quick potty break from actively monitoring the students. I find myself following the same routine in each classroom after relieving the teacher:
- looking carefully at each student for anything that seems off
- checking each students’ cubby to make sure there is no paper
- watching the hands of each student to check for unallowable materials
- checking the name on the test booklet matches the name on the scan sheet…
It was as I was doing this last task in a classroom that I realized I could use this test time to build my relationships with students while still actively monitoring the test to exact state standards. Instead of only checking to make sure all rules were being followed, I began to start with checking the names on the test booklets and playing a game with myself to recall each student’s name as I continued walking in and amongst the desks.
I know a lot of names of a lot of my students, but with a school of over 1,000, I admit that I do not know every name – something I truly hate to admit because knowing someone’s name can make their day. If someone who I think is important knows my name, it makes ME feel important. When I greet students by name, or congratulate them by name on a job well done, I see their faces light up with the realization that their AP thinks highly enough of them to remember who they are.
So I now look at active monitoring during standardized testing as an opportunity to stealthily build relationships. As I check that names match from booklet to scan sheet, I look at faces and memorize names so that after the test, in the hallway, on the way out the door to the bus, and in the morning the next day, I can greet more students by name so that they feel important and special and loved.
So, next time you are actively monitoring, checking that all rules are being followed, also check the name and face of each student. This will build your relationships with students upon your next interaction when you call them by name.