VFES teacher encourages students before test

VFES teacher encourages students before test
Posted on 05/03/2019

This spring, thousands of Indiana students are taking state standardized tests. Before her students pick up their iPads to begin testing at Vienna-Finley Elementary School, Lindsey Cazares makes sure her students know they are more than what the score report reflects at the end of the year.

For the last three years, Cazares has left her students personalized messages of hope and encouragement on their desks to show how much she believes in each child and to help with test anxiety.

“I felt for weeks there was so much pressure,” Cazares said.

The idea to help alleviate the pressure of state standardized testing came to Cazares when she started teaching fifth grade and witnessed firsthand the stress her students were experiencing.

“I had a student with extreme test anxiety,” Cazares said. “They know the importance of the test. I needed to do something to put their mind at ease.”

Cazares went to work, spending hours after school writing carefully crafted, personalized messages of hope and encouragement to each one of her students. To create each letter, she uses a dry erase marker to write her messages on their desks. The next morning before the test starts, Cazares’ students run to their desks to see what the note Cazares left for them. It took about two hours for Cazares to write a message for each student.

“I tell my students to do their personal best and do not let those test define you,” Cazares said.
Lindsey Cazares tells each child how much she believes in them.

Before she has to wipe away the message and begin the test, Cazares takes photos of each message. This way, the students later can have a reminder of the messages Cazares left for each one of them.

“A lot of them have them as the backgrounds on their iPads,” Cazares said.

From the beginning of the year, Cazares deliberately asks about her students. She takes notice of each child’s favorite hobbies, interests, and goals. She spends the first weeks of school trying to build relationships with her students.

“In our district, there are so many educators who encourage their students,” Cazares said about working at Scott County School District 2.

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