Teacher Surprises Her Students With Letters From People Who Love Them Before A Standardized Test

This teacher went above and beyond to show how much her students are loved.

Chrishae Powell and students on TikTok TikTok

Standardized testing has become an ever-present and unavoidable part of students’ lives, and the pressure for them to succeed is high. 

A teacher in Texas worked overtime to ensure her students felt ready to take on the world before taking a standardized test. Before having her students start standardized testing, Chrishae Powell gave them letters from people who love them.

The thoughtful teacher offered her students a boost of confidence before administering a standardized test by showing them how loved they really are.


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In a TikTok video, the students are seen opening letters from their loved ones.

Powell filmed her young students opening letters she commissioned from people who love them, to demonstrate how cared for they are before the stressful activity of taking an important test.

“Imagine right before you take a state exam, you open an unexpected letter from an adult who loves you so much,” Powell captioned her post. 



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She showed her students smiling bashfully, their eyes bright, handling their letters delicately, as though they knew how important those pieces of paper were.

Powell explained that 'moms, sisters, teachers, dads, brothers, all came together' to write the students' letters before their big test.

The looks on her students' faces are full of love, joy, and pride, and the acknowledgment that they are worth something more than their score on a standardized test. 

Powell’s post received over 2 million views. She returned to TikTok to explain just how she made that special moment happen. Powell answered followers’ questions about what she did for students who didn’t have a family to write them a letter.

In a follow-up video, Powell detailed what she did for students without family members to write them letters. She said, “In that case, I wrote those students’ letters.” 


Powell emphasized that no matter what, her students would feel loved on that day. “No human being will allow someone to just sit there and not have a letter be opened by someone.”

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She further stated that she notified her parents about her letter-writing plan “2 days before the test. I was like, hey, fill out this Google form, send an encouraging message to your child. I’ll write it, I’ll hand write it, and then they will open it right before the test, just to give them that boost of confidence from someone who loves them.”


Powell kept the activity a secret from her students, saying, “I did not tell them, ‘this is a family member.’ All I said out loud before they opened the letter was, ‘this is a letter from someone who loves you,’ that way, it doesn’t make another student or another child feel uncomfortable.”

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When asked why she doesn’t opt out of state testing for her students, Powell reported, “I’ve never met a teacher who is for state testing, but it is my job to still give students the test, so I’m going to try and make it as less painful as possible.”

“Yes, the test sucks, and yes, teachers are stressed about it, but I would never put my stress on my kids. They will never know that I’m stressed about it because I don’t want to make them feel stressed about it.”


Many students experience extreme test anxiety when faced with standardized testing, as shown through one NIH study that reported elementary school students “experienced more test anxiety for state standardized tests than for classroom tests, with higher test anxiety levels associated with lower performance on high-stakes standardized tests,” creating a variance in testing scores. 

As many educators believe, standardized testing puts an undue amount of pressure on students and on teachers. Increased stress from standardized testing can lead to spikes or drops in cortisol levels in students.

One preliminary 2019 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, measured students’ cortisol levels during weeks when they went through standardized testing and discovered that “students had 15 percent more cortisol in their systems… before a standardized test than on days with no high-stakes testing.”


The study further found that “students who showed the largest variations in cortisol between testing and non-testing weeks tended to perform worse on tests than expected given their classwork and performance on non-high-stakes tests.”

But Powell has her standardized testing system under control.  “I can’t wait until they take their next test, which is in 2 weeks, because I’m going to have a totally different family member write them a letter,” she stated.

Powell is the kind of teacher who deeply cares about her students' entire well-being beyond their test scores, and her love for them shines through. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.