Whenever the weather turns nice, it is inevitable that one or more of my students will ask if they can get off at a stop location other than their own. It’s generally not far from their stop location, and typically their request is to get off at a friends stop. My reply is the same each time. “I will be happy to let you off at, XYZ, stop, I need, is a note from home, telling me that it is ok for me to do that.”
I received one such request from one of my second grade boys a few weeks ago. I gave him my standard response, to which he replied with the typical response, my mom won’t care, which only prompts a repeat of auto reply to such requests.
Travis got on the bus, and sat down with his seat partner, and friend, Carl. Shortly after the boys had been seated, Travis walked toward me with his hand outstretched telling me that he had a note for me. I reached out and took the note he was offering me and looked at it.
I would love to show you a copy of the “note” he brought me. A description of the not will have to suffice, being that the “note” was drawn out on the back of a referral that his friend needed to take home to have a parent sign. A referral, is a corrective notice for a child who is being counseled for a rule infraction, so I could not keep the “note”. That being said, I will do my best to give you an adequate description of the “note”.
Typically, when I get a note it will state that…student A has permission to get off at an alternate stop, then, it will be dated and signed by a parent or guardian. This “note” was more of a drawing…Lines were drawn forming a lane, or street, with a square on one side of the lane and Carl’s name written under the box with an X and an arrow indicating where I was to drop Travis off, with the words…drop off here.
I could not contain my laughter! I had received “notes” that I knew were not written by a parent, but this was another first. A permission map.
I love my job!
Almost daily, for the better part of the past four to six weeks I have been trying to find the student or students whom I felt had repeatedly spilled Kool-Aid, or some other type of red drinking solution on the floor of my bus. Each day this happened, I would become more and more frustrated with the children. I was certain, at least one of my students had some type of bottle that was defective and would leak the offensive liquid daily, leaving small trails of liquid running part way down the isle. Each time I finished interrogating the students sitting near or around the general vicinity of the fluid, my inquisition only left me feeling more perplexed…which is actually code for…irritated, and equally clueless. NO ONE was fessing up! No one knew, least of all me, where the liquid was coming from, and my irritation was growing each time I cleaned the offensive liquid from the floor. My verbal grumblings escalated as well. I went from mild irritation, you know…the audible heavy disgusted sigh,when I first started noticing the red liquid, and it morphed into an unpleasant rant, that may or may not have contained a string of obscenities. YES, I threw my temper tantrum after the children left.
This undesirable ritual had been going on for, W-E-E-K-S! My interrogation skills and tactics were fruitless and I had long since hit my patience level regarding the, lingering liquid lunacy.
Last week, my latest trainee, who, happens to be one of our mechanics, climbed aboard my bus to take the district road test, which is performed just before a driving student goes to take their state driving exam. Previously, we had been training on other vehicles, but that day, we hopped on my bus. I was lamenting to him about the problem I had been having and out of sheer exasperation asked if there was any thing on the inside the bus that could possibly leak. He asked me where the fluid was coming from and I showed him. It only took him seconds to unmask my leaky nemesis. The front heater hose was loose and needed to be replaced. The, Kook-Aid, was not Kool-Aid, but rather, coolant.
Today, I am very happy to report that I am leak, liquid, kook-aid and coolant free! So, Therese…how do you like your crow? Dinner…is served! Apologies and peace offerings are in the making.
Last week, was the first week, since last September, that I have been able to actually see my high school students as I picked them up in the morning. That was not the case this morning as we were thrust back into darkness, springing forward into daylight savings time. Last Friday, however, before the proverbial lights, were “turned back off,” I had the pleasure of witnessing a very sweet moment between two of my high school riders.
Mornings, with high school students are typically quiet and Friday morning was no exception. I just finished picking up the students at my last stop, and was making my way to the high school. I was approaching a stop light and as I was coming to a stop, I looked up and peered into my student mirror. (like a rear view mirror, but much bigger) When I looked back, I saw one of my students lay her head on the shoulder of the person sitting next to her. In return, the person, whose shoulder became a head rest, placed her head atop of the head of the persons who had placed her head on her shoulder. Whew…that was a mouthful! I do hope I adequately described the scene for you. Anyway, the two closed their eyes and appeared to drift off, for the duration of the ride to school. To most, this gesture would be ordinary and not all that note worthy, but to me, the gesture was tender, sweet, spontaneous, and innocent. I doubt the two students noticed me noticing them and I am thrilled that no one else on the bus made fun of the two girls. I think it is quite likely that the other students were sleeping, and paid no attention to the scene unfolding before them. What made the scenario all the more intriguing, is that the two girls, once at school, share a completely different circle of friends.
It was a pleasant reminder that gentle, compassionate kindness still lives. It is also reminds me that the, young adults, I transport, are still children and sometimes, that child like behavior, they so desperately want to hide, sneaks out. So grateful to have wittnessed this moment, before everything turned dark again.
As is typical, in the afternoon, as the children are boarding the bus, or occasionally as we are making our way to the children’s stops, I will ask them how their day was. I typically get the obligatory, auto response, “It was fine,” or “It was good”, or some variation of that response. Occasionally, I will get a, “It was great!” Today, however, I received a, “I had the worst day of my life.” It is not often I hear a response like this, so I probed further to find out what made Nathan’s day, the worst day, ever!
“What made today, the worst day of your life, Nathan?” I asked him.
“Well, first, I had to sit between two girls at math class.” Then, I had to sit with five girls during lunch. I was surrounded by girls all day!” Was Nathan’s reply.
“Nathan, weren’t you the one telling me, just a few weeks ago, how much you wanted a girlfriend…sooooo bad? Are you sure today wasn’t the best day of your life?” I asked him.
Aside from turning a stunning shade of red in reply, Nathan threw up his arms, waving them wildly, emphatically repeating his original proclamation, that today was his worst day ever.
Hmm…I’m still thinking…BEST DAY, EVER!
When we arrived at school today, and waited for the school to open its doors, Donovan, a fifth grade boy, came dashing up from the back of the bus, i-pod in tow.
“Mrs. Mileti, you have to listen to this song! It’s so awesome!” He said.
“What’s the name of the song?” I asked
“Just listen, it’s the best!”
Donovan pushed play though nothing appeared to be happening. I could not hear the song immediately. Donovan worked on turning the volume up so the song could be heard. I must say I was taken a back when I recognized the tune emanating from his i-pod. I certainly was not expecting to hear the, Bee Gee’s Stayin Alive. I asked Donovan if that was his favorite song. He said, no, that he just really liked the song. I then proceeded to ask him what his favorite song was.
“Picking a favorite song, is like picking a favorite child. You just can’t do that.” He replied.
His reply really put a smile on my face. I just love their blunt honesty…well…most of the time, anyway. 😉
Yesterday, one of my sixth grade girls got on the bus and proudly produced a portion of a mans neck tie. She excitedly reported that the tie was, Mr. Sobecky’s tie and her friend had the other half. I acted excited and impressed, though I must admit, I was rather confused by the odd treasure she was so proudly exhibiting to anyone who would look or listen.
Daphne, the girl with a cut off section of a tie, happens to be my last stop of the day, so when I was close to my last stop, I inquired as to how she happened to become the proud recipient of such a prized possession.
“It’s a German class tradition.” She responded.
“Oh, that’s a rather strange tradition. I wonder what the significance is of that tradition and how the tradition came to be.”
“Oh, I don’t know, I’m in Spanish class” She replied.