Ten minutes before the suspected hour, I realized I didn't have tomorrow's copies yet, so I raced down three flights of stairs to the dungeon where the fire-breathing copy machine resided and made copies. I was huffing and puffing my way back up the stairs when the first bell rang.
I manage to balance the copies and the rest of my lunch in one arm and get my door opened with my left elbow when kids come racing up, "Mrs. Huerta, aren't we in the library today?"
"No. We are finishing the story today."
"There's a sign on your door that says library," he says pointing to offending sign.
"Oh, that," I respond. "That was for the 5th hour class. We're in the classroom today." With effort I refrain from slapping myself on the forehead.
"But, Mrs. Huerta, half the class is already in the library!"
I assign a girl to go retrieve the stray students and spot my esteemed visitors headed my way. It's less than 30 seconds before the tardy bell and I'm getting the usual, "Can I get a drink of water?" After I wimp out and say yes to the first 3 requests, I have no choice but to authorize the others as well. Now there's a line at the fountain and ..... there goes the tardy bell.
I invited the guru and district official into the room and stand in the doorway and greet students, "My bad. Sorry I didn't take the sign down. Please be seated and get started."
At least inside the room, my TV monitors have the day's journal entry on the screens and my students DO know what to do, although they are not doing it. What can I say? They're still recovering from that mad dash down and then back up the stairs from the library! Did I mention that they're coming from P.E. in the first place. The locker rooms are located in the other half of the dungeon about a mile away from the fire-breathing copy machine. AND they have adrenaline rushing through their veins, sweat pouring from their brows, and have completely oxygen-deprived brains from the physical activity.
One last student raced in, "Mrs. Huerta, my Gym locker lock is gone. Can I go find it?"
I SO want to have everyone sitting down working. But...his gym uniform, shoes and who knows what else he has stashed is now in danger of being stolen. My empathy wins out over the desire to impress with the order in my room. "Yes. Go to the office, and come back as soon as you can."
After a couple of reminders, the other students settle down and get started. My visitors find seats.
I'm Miss cool-calm-and-collected, in spite of the chaos. I have my remoted control in hand which will move my Power Point from screen to screen. I change to the next screen: Turn in Journals today. I had debated that one with visitors, but decided a timely collection was more important. They managed with a minimum of fuss...for 8th graders.
I hand out the papers with the outline of a person and prepared them to pair-share character traits for the story we're reading.
Then I tried the remote again. Now it won't move anything. The next instruction screen might as well be in South Africa. It won't appear. I try to stall with a bit of discussion. All the time discretely pushing the advance button on the device. Still nothing. I did a mental argument: go get a new battery, or just fake it and go switch the screen manually. I decided non-tech was the way to go. Managed to give the directions and do occasional sharing and discussion without the visual with only an occasional punch at the recalcitrant remote, hoping my face isn't showing the frustration. I think this is called multi-tasking.
The intercom in my room interrupts: "Mrs. Huerta did you give John Doe permission to go to P.E.?"
My brain whirls past visitors watching, kids talking, who's on-task, why won't this remote work, etc. "Think fast...P.E. ...permission ....there's a student not here?..."
"Uh..." I respond most eloquently. "Yes," hesitantly. "I gave him permission to go to P.E." I shrug my shoulders and look at students in the room, hoping to remember from watching their faces just what I told John he could do. At least I remembered I had released him. But I couldn't recall what for.
"Well, he was discovered moving about the halls down here for the last 10 minutes or so. He says you told him he could go, but didn't give him a pass."
"That's right." I answered with a grimace and another shrug.
"Okay. We'll send him back to class then."
To my visitors, "Sorry. This is Middle School."
And that was the first ten minutes of my 8th hour class!!!
Oh yes. Halfway through the next period, when my visitors are safely stalking someone else, I discover an "off" button on the side of the little device. That was after I had changed the battery and hit the advance button another gazillion times. Now I know. The remote has an "off" button!