Preparing yourself and your pupil
Preparation for the Standards Check
You should prepare a normal lesson with your pupil, based on their learning needs and/or agreed development strategy. This involves both you and the pupil getting familiar with a goal driven short burst methodology such as the chunking methodology outlined below.
It is important for both you and the pupil that you are as ready for this as is possible so think about how you might prepare each of you. Perhaps having someone regularly observe you during lessons will get you both used to the extra pressure of other eyes upon you as well as the extra weight you are carrying.
Are either you or the pupil prone to test nerves or anxiety (Well Duh!) if you are then you need to prepare for this by learning what the triggers are to you not being able to perform at your best and develop strategies to help you manage this. Breathing exercises are a great tool. Be sure that you are as well rested as is humanly possible, is it worth staying somewhere else the night before if you may have disturbed sleep (toddlers or other distractions) would a night in a hotel prove fruitful in terms of relaxation and preparedness.
Make sure you are well hydrated and have eaten the right kind of food. Start keeping a sleep/food diary and make notes of how different foods and sleep patterns impact on both you and your pupil. In this way you will ensure you are removing as many obstacles as you can to allow you to reach your full potential.
Your potential is easily described as your performance minus any interference. Interference is anything that will prevent you reaching your full potential, for example exam nerves, self doubt, negative self talk etc. We do not help ourselves in this regard by calling it the dreaded standards check letter; we are already wound up about it before it comes. It is simply someone watching what you normally do. Try to make what you normally do fit for purpose, and then you will just naturally fall into this pattern and stop worrying about the eyes in the back. See it as an opportunity not a problem. You can re-programme your thinking in such a way that it will help not hinder you. You will never fully get rid of test nerves and anxiety, but you can learn to manage them.
Take the time to investigate different relaxation and anti stress methods, you will find one that is effective for you, once you do, you will feel more in control of your body and lose some of the interference. Experiment with different foods and make a note of the impact on your energy levels. Try to align test time with the time when you feel you are at your optimum performance point in the day. Keep a diary that notes the effect of differing levels of sleep, experiment with different bed times. Make a note of the impact on your energy levels of the foods you are eating (for example how does a heavy meal impact on your performance the next morning or afternoon. By keeping an eye on these things you can start to see how you can best prepare yourself and remove obstacles to optimum performance, the very act of doing this will reduce the levels of anxiety as it is giving you a level of control over what is happening. The same thing will help your pupil prepare for their role as pupil on the day of your test, as well as preparing for their own test. Point out to your pupil the purpose of these exercises and help them to gain control over their environment.