Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Work Notes

Winter is Here

Yesterday was the unofficial start of winter for me when 57 little people all showed up at once wanting a ride home. I hadn't seen numbers this high since last winter. With the colder weather nobody wants to walk so my bus gets packed full.

Math Discussion Leads to Blows

I heard someone crying and looked up to see one of my 1st graders holding his head. I asked what happen and he cried that the boy sitting with him had punched him in the head. The other boy yelled out that he was just hitting back. I moved one to a different seat, messing up my seating chart for the rest of the route and proceeded to school.

After I got parked I called them both to the front and asked what had happened. The first boy, now fully recovered from his injury couldn't wait to tell me. "He says that 1,000 is more than 505!" I calmly looked him in the eye and told him that 1,000 is more than 505. He no longer had anything to say. I lectured both boys about hitting and assigned them new seats.

Mother Worried When Child is Late

I got a new 4th grade student yesterday. I got a radio call asking if she was still on the bus. I hadn't even started loading students yet. Her mother must have seen some other bus go by.

Unexpected Evacuation

When Angie brought Alex over yesterday she told us that the door on his bus had broken and so when he got dropped off he had to go out the back door! To say I found this shocking would be an understatement. If the main door doesn't work neither do the red flashing lights. So I started asking him some questions. He was just so excited that he got to go out the back door that he wasn't really clear when he spoke to his mom. It turns out that they called for a replacement bus and therefore had red lights and two drivers to supervise the transfer of students. He walked off the bus in the normal fashion when he got home. I'm glad he found the whole thing exciting and relieved that it didn't happen on my bus.

Could You Talk To The Dean?

One of my middle school boys got on today and asked me what happens if he skips late detention. I told him nothing good and to get back into school. He really couldn't stay today because he had to go to a funeral and could I please explain that to the Dean for him? Umm, no. I explained that he should have done that himself during the day and he'd have to face the music in the morning. This all led to a lengthy discussion about the difference between a wake and a funeral. Why there are open caskets and closed caskets. Communion wafers (everyone agreed that they taste like cardboard - finally something that they can agree on!) and the difference between the Pope and the Parish Priest. On my second route I went by the funeral home and it was packed. The deceased was my age and the son of a former coworker.

Guns Do Not Belong on the Bus

This incident happened in a neighboring county, not where I work, but it gives me pause.

Initial Report yesterday

November 26, 2007
Holland Patent (WSYR-TV) – Two teens face criminal charges after firing a gun on a Holland Patent school bus Monday morning.

The incident happened around 11:15am. The bus was transporting students from the Holland Patent High School BOCES to the high school. Around 30 kids were on the bus at the time.

Police said the gun went off accidentally, no one was being shot at, and no one was injured. School officials escorted students, aside from the suspects, from the bus to a safe location in the school.

Today the story changed.

Holland Patent, Oneida Co. (WSYR-TV) – Oneida County Sheriff’s Deputies have determined the shot fired on a Holland Patent school bus Monday was not an accident.

Deputies believe James Ranaudo, 16, of Holland Patent, brought the gun onto school property. While on the school bus, Ranaudo gave the weapon to Mathew Heinig, 17, of Rome. Sheriff’s Investigators say Heinig was in possession of the weapon, when he fired it toward the seat that was directly in front of him. The bullet passed through two seats and between two kids seated in front of him.

Call me crazy but I love my job. If I had been the driver of this bus however, I might be looking for a new job right now.


  1. Oh it's so encouraging to read your work notes - thanks for sharing. I agree about loving one's job - this is the first year I've struggled this much with mine. Some of your notes make me laugh - I can completely relate.

    Have a blessed day.

  2. Just a quick note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading that post.

    It's so wonderful to hear from people that are so passionate about their work.

    Thank you.

  3. Good grief Apple....that bus incident with the gun was pretty close to home! Scary!
    On the lighter side, the everyday notes of a caring (and amusing) school bus driver might make a good book :)
    Those kids keep you on your toes I'm sure :)

  4. Wow, Apple - this was a great post- you need all your skills to act as a tutor, security personnel, a social scientist and a psychologist! I wonder if those kids realize how lucky they are that you're their driver?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. Apple,
    Nice post! I like hearing about your day to day interactions :)
    That gun incident was pretty scary. My son goes to BOCES with these kids and I wonder what would have happened if they had actually gotten it into the school. Both boys are out of jail on something like 25 thousand bail. The not-so-bright kid thought that even if he fired it, no one would get hurt. Ummm...hello?! But, the scariest thing of all - my kids weren't all that shocked or surprised when this happened! What is going on with our children? :(

  6. Edith,
    I've been struggling the last two years. Writing things down helps me either put the bad things aside or have a good laugh as I'm sure it does for you too.

    Very few people stick with my job if they don't love it. It's great to look forward to going to work most days. (I could do without the bad weather days!)

    A book is a great idea! Maybe it would fund my retirement.

    Shhh, I'm not allowed to do any of those jobs without a master's degree!

    I'm glad your son wasn't on that bus!

    I always tell people that nothing shocks me anymore but this incident truly did. I don't know if this bus had an attendant or not or if it would have made a difference. I drove one of our BOCES routes for only one year and that was enough for me. 80% of the kids were great but the other 20% taxed me to my limits. We have two great drivers in our district that are great on these runs and have done them for years but I wonder if they will look for less challenging routes next year.

  7. You are crazy, yup you are.