Let's title this, "Portrait of an Administrative Assistant," because I'm pretty sure this is what I looked like this past Thursday at 3.
In fact, I may well have looked worse.
First, though, let me share a bit of background. I have been totally immersed these past two weeks subbing as an administrative assistant in a middle school. Administrative assistant (or A.A) pretty much equals being a secretary, but it sounds a lot better, a lot more official.
Playing A.A. involves quite a bit from allowing people to enter/leave the building and answering the phone to locating the janitor when you hear a group of students yell, "Mrs. Bogdan, someone is barfing right in the middle of our hallway." Said barfing, of course, commenced when classes were changing. A whole lot of other stuff happens in between.
To begin to understand Thursday afternoon, you need to know the following two bits of information.
A somewhat strident buzzer signals that someone wants in, so I check the monitor and grin when I see a student face plastered against the camera, grinning from ear and waving cheerfully. I hit the first button to unlock the door, followed by a second button to stop the buzzer. Are you thinking that the operation should only involve one button? Yeah, me too, but that's not the way it goes. And, even though it's the end of October, a few students still tug away on the wrong door, each tug getting stronger and each clank of the door as it refuses to open, getting louder. This means a short walk for me into the lobby, physically opening the door, and discussing the fine art of getting into the building with a mortified student.
And, then there's the schedule, or "SCHEDULES." If I need to find the student, I begin my internal litany. What is the student's homeroom? (Easily found on a handy dandy list, but God help me if I ever lose the list!) Is it a blue or white day? Where is the appropriate grade level folder? What day of the week is it? (Because, you see there is a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday schedule, a Wednesday schedule, and two different Friday schedules.) If all goes well, I make it through the litany and locate said student in the building. Sometimes, said student might be in the main building for various reasons, at which point, I call them and let them begin the hunt. Once the location mystery has been solved, I walk over to the intercom, and call for the student.
Now, to Thursday, which was really the perfect storm.
The students were ready to begin their long weekend.
The first student dance was that night, which led to a flurry of all sorts of dismissal slips and getting the slips to the students.
And, we had the "All Saints' Parade" toward the end of the day, which meant the older students got out of their last class to watch the younger students parade as their chosen saints.
And, of course, the Saint Parade ends just short of the end of the day, which means several hundred middle schoolers are chomping at the bit to get out of there, go home with friends, and prepare for their dance and their long weekends.
The word "NOISE" does not begin to describe the last 20 minutes of my day.
The door buzzer sounded repeatedly, with students entering the building after the parade, and with their parents, who wanted to check their students out early and go home NOW. The students were not yet in homeroom, so I had to go through the schedule process above to hope to locate the student, who may well also have been at their locker at this point. While I am answering the door, talking with parents, and trying to locate kids, the phone is repeatedly ringing with requests to dismiss other students to the main building. In between, someone needed kleenix, and someone else needs a bandaid.
After about 10 minutes, I gave up on individual calls and just began doing an "all call" which meant that the entire building heard me call for every requested student. Or, maybe they didn't hear me due to locker/student noise, meaning several students needed to be called repeatedly.
After another 5 minutes, I gave up my manners and dropped the "Please excuse this interruption..." and just called the students for dismissal.
And, at 3:15, well, yeah, you could have hung the above photo near my desk, titled it "Mrs. Bogdan," and not one person in the building would have blinked twice!