Friday, May 29, 2009

FW: last day warfare


Subject: last day warfare
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 12:23:41 -0700

                           The Last Day of School


Last year as a new driver I was totally unaware and unprepared for what apparently had become a last day bus tradition. After the bus gets moving the students start taking paper out of their binders wading it up into paper balls and have a paper war. I was so confused and surprised at this hail of paper warfare that I just pretty much let it run its course. My first run of elementary students started the fight. As the second run of Junior High students got on they did not even have to manufacture paper balls. The bus was already full of them.


This year on the day before the last day I reminded the students of last years paper war and warned them to not even think about it this year. If, however something like that did happen that no one would be let off the bus at the first stop until they, not me, had cleaned it all up.


On the last day I arrived at the school for the final trip home with black garbage bags already taped on up on the inside of the bus like black funeral crape.    It worked.    After I delivered the elementary students the bus was even cleaner than normal. This was too easy.


Now for the junior high students-------- As I took my seat and looked into the passenger mirror I sensed that munitions were already being manufactured behind the high back green seats. Realizing that this was a war that I was going to lose I thought I might regain some control by at least taking charge of the battle.


On some level you have to respect young people who take it upon themselves to defy their elder authority in the name of fun. I had told them I didn't want it to happen and I had also explained the consequences if it did. They apparently were choosing the consequences.


Before I started away from the school I reminded them that no one was getting off the bus till it was all cleaned up. I directed them that there was to be no flying objects till we were out of sight of the school and away from any other buses. I didn't want any other driver calling in backup help for a besieged driver.


After we passed though the first stop light I gave the command to commence firing.---- It was marvelous.---- A hail of white—front to back—side to side as new munitions were being made and the previously used ones were being refired. This went on for about four miles. Even before I had pulled off the road for the first stop the students had begun their cleanup. They took to it with the same vigor as they had the paper war. In the mist of the clean up one girl said, "This was so worth it."


Well it was for me too. Mr. "B"

Friday, May 22, 2009

FW: tales of a bus driver


Subject: tales of a bus driver
Date: Fri, 22 May 2009 08:27:38 -0700

                            Taking My Students to Church


Some time ago one of my student passengers revealed to me that there was some foul language going on on the bus and he told me who was involved. Not being up to date on the inventive new ways to use the English language I ask him to tell me what kind of verbiage was involved. The poor boy had to repeat it to me three times before I got it though my head what it meant. Yep, that would constitute inappropriate use of words in mixed company on a bus of young people and this was coming from young people. I thanked him for telling me and duly noted the situation. Not knowing how I was going to properly deal with this I put it in my mind and hoped that it would just go away.


A few days later the same boy reported the same conduct from the same boys. I knew that now this would have to be addressed. I spent the next few days planning how I could best correct this problem. I concluded I would get the most mileage out of the situation by not singling out the individual boys as I might miss some but rather by addressing the whole busload. I now planned the time and the place for the" teaching moment".                                                                                          

                                                                                                        As it happens my last pickup is on the road at the north parking lot of the LDS church at Val Vista and McClellan. On the day of the instructions I first notified dispatch on the radio that I would be off route for a" teaching moment" after my last pickup. After the pickup at the north parking lot I drove 200ft. to the south parking lot, pulled into the lot and up as close as I could to the front door of the church. I thought this setting lent itself to the instructions I was about to give. As the bus came to this unscheduled stop, the swoosh of the air park brake is heard, and the driver rises from his seat with the PA in hand, there was an uncharacteristic hush that came over my thirty five passengers.


As a former-LDS bishop in front of an LDS church with well over half of my students being LDS there was an instructional speech that I could have given on the subject. I did not give that one. There are ten rules posted at the front of the bus. Cooperate with the bus driver, Stay seated while the bus is moving, no profane language, no smoking on the bus etc. I briefly went over these rules and then pointed out to them that we would focus on the profane language one for a few moments. I told them that some were using language not appropriate for students of their caliber who had qualified to go to The Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies. I told them I knew who was doing it, they knew who was doing it, and the bus camera knew who was doing it and I did not want to hear about it again. After an appropriate and agonizing pause and not wanting this to be remembered as a totally negative moment I added, " I do thank all of you for not smoking on the bus."


Off went the air brake. We circled the parking lot and were off to school. So far I have not heard any more about this inappropriate language. I might add.  My students love me.   No really, they do.


 --Mr. "B"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Field Trips from Different Worlds

Last week I had two field trips from elementary schools. The first one was from the South side of Mesa sometimes referred to as the miserable mile. This is an area of low-income families dominated by Hispanics. As these beautiful brown first graders came to board the bus I observed them laughing, holding hands with each other, and clutching their water bottles. I wondered if in all the world God has any more beautiful children than these. I know where they live and I know that perhaps most of their parents are illegal. In their innocent childhood they did not seem to be aware that they lived on the wrong side of town. They were just happy to be going on a field trip in a bus. As I gained speed down the on ramp and merged onto the freeway there was an audible excitement as if they had just begun a trip to Disneyland. We were going just four miles to Mesa Community College for a water safety day.

My second field trip was from one of the best neighborhoods in town. There is a gated community just across the street from the school. As you might guess these kindergarten children were all white. They too held hands and clutched their water bottles. They too were so cute that I wanted to take a couple of them home with me. {This I’m told would be illegal.} One of the parents arrived fashionably late in her black Escalade to deliver her student. As I got up to the speed limit on the freeway I addressed them on the PA and asked them if they would like to go really fast on this bus. They answered excitedly in the affirmative. I replied” Sorry this is as fast as I can go”. Their trip was to the Phoenix Botanical Garden. As we got back to the school I had to dodge a 50 thousand dollar Hummer that one of the parents had boldly parked in the bus loading zone and left unattended. As these privileged children got off the bus most of them, I’m sure prompted by the teachers, came by and thanked Mr. Bus Driver for the ride.

This was a study in contrast of two of the most diverse neighborhood schools in Mesa. No one can know what these children will be doing in twenty-five years from now. I am reminded of a saying I once heard. Two things are needed in this world; For poor men to know how rich men work and for rich men to know how poor men live.

Random thoughts by Errol Bagley Seniority #447