Fly on the Wall: Mr. Rivers

By: Adam Sutton

Principal Smith bellowed, “This year we are going to be incredibly efficient with our time.  We want to make sure we are focused on the School Progress Plan, and we don’t want to be wasting time.  Make sure your lessons last from bell-to-bell and are aligned to your curriculums.”


“I wanted to take a moment to inform the Board of Education here in Hamsterdam County that our schools have fulfilled our commitment to 21st century learning by providing every student a laptop.  This new initiative is set to transform teaching and learning.  It will close achievement gaps, improve student performance, streamline curriculum and instruction while improving efficiency across our system,” Superintendent Williams beamed. 


“Good morning fine people!  It’s testing day.  Get out your devices.  Log on and restart at least 3 times.  It’ll help this run more smoothly!”  Mr. Rivers belted out to his class.  “We need to start testing by 8:30!” 

“Mr. Rivers, do you have any chargers?” one student asked.

“Mr. Rivers, my screen is cracked,” said another.

“Becky and I need chargers.  Do you have any?”

“Does the library have extra chargers Mr. Rivers?” another inquiring mind needed to know. 

“Hey, Mr. Rivers.  Did you know you are out of chargers?” echoed another student. 

Taking control of the situation, Mr. Rivers said, “If you need a charger run down to the library.  Otherwise, log on and restart.  3 times minimum!  If you need to sit near an outlet, do it.  Otherwise, in your assigned seat!”

“What should I do once I’ve logged on?” one student asked.

“What’s my log on information?” another student wanted to know.

“My computer is slow,” said another for no reason at all. 

“Once you’ve restarted 3 times, restart again.  This time log in using the username `Fun` and the password `Funner,`” Mr. Rivers said pushing the class forward. 

“What did you say?” Susan wondered.

“Look at the board.  The directions are on the board,” Mr. Rivers reminded the class. 

“My computer won’t load.”

“My computer turned off.”

“I’ve got an error message.”

“This says my hardware won’t support the software. What’s that mean?”

“Mine says the software needs to be updated.” 

“Mr. Rivers, did you always want to be a teacher?”

“Should I restart again?”

“Where can I get a charger Mr. Rivers?”

The requests were unrelenting.  But, Mr. Rivers plowed through, “Be patient everyone.  Sometimes technology can be weird.  I’ll call the office.”  After 3 attempts to call the office and getting a busy signal, Mr. Rivers gave up.

“Ok.  If you can’t get into the testing software, take out your book.  We are going to move forward with testing for those whose computers are working.  The rest of you can use the time to catch up on your reading.”

After several minutes, Mr. Rivers quieted the class and began reading the directions.  “Listen carefully as I read the following directions.  Today’s test is important, so you need to follow several rules…”

“Mr. Rivers, I put in my code like you said.  Now, I’ve got this,” Isabel turns her computer to show a “Warning Error” in giant red letters displayed across her screen.

“Me too Mr. Rivers.” 

“Yeah, I was in Mr. Rivers, but now it won’t work.”

“Should I restart, Mr. Rivers?” 

“Mr. Rivers, I think this charger is broken.  Can you help me?”

“What should I do Mr. Rivers?  I’ve got an error message.”

Beginning to pull his hair out, Mr. Rivers asks, “How many of you have no warning message?  How many of you are ready to continue testing?”  It doesn’t take long to count to 6 in a class of 30. 

“Mr. Rivers.  I left my device at home today, but this book you assigned has been working fine all morning,” James deadpanned. 

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