Students here are required to take a test that's supposed to measure reading ability. The data is mostly used to grade my teaching. Students take the test in September, January, and May. Growth targets are set, and I'm graded on whether they have or have not achieved those targets.
As students sit to take the test I say, "do the best you can and take your time," though it would be better for me if they all bombed it. I need them to show growth. If they did terribly on the thing in September, there's nowhere to go but up.
There are a couple problems with that.
In September students are ready and willing to take such tests. My students are more docile early in the year and will try their best even on "a boring test."
I also know a teacher in another district who was fired probably for telling kids not to work hard on the September test. She didn't tell them to bomb it, but she sure as hell told them it was okay to half-ass the thing. I don't need more reasons for management to dislike me, so I say, "do the best you can and take your time." I answer their procedural questions and explain why I am not allowed to clarify what any of the words mean. Then I say, "do the best you can and take your time." Students usually work at it and score well.
Which really screws me over.
The best things I can do are to accept the situation and stop worrying about how I'm working against my own interests. Things usually work out and as the song says, I will survive. At least I have so far.
Still, it's amazing how many things we teachers choose to do, have to do, or feel we have to do that go against our best interests. Doing lots of schoolwork after school hours, giving tests that are used against us, and a hundred other things. Some of it is unavoidable if I want a paycheck and healthcare for my family. The rest, well, I'll look more carefully at these things and make decisions.
For now, I tell myself do the best you can and take your time. Then I put my head down and do what has to be done. Soon enough, it's quitting time.