Sunday, March 29, 2009

Teacher v. Bus Driver

During my college years in 1968 I made a five-year commitment to the Marine Corps. Once I completed my undergraduate work in elementary education in 1970, I accepted an officer’s commission and waited to begin serving on active duty. So, it was the time between finishing college and waiting for my active duty to begin that I got my first opportunity to teach.

I was living with my parents, looking for work when I was called by the local bus company to drive a school bus (I drove buses during college to earn spending money). As a part-time driver, I was assigned a morning and afternoon route, picking up and discharging kids. I enjoyed the interaction with kids, especially listening to their jabbering behind me while I drove.

A month passed and I received my report date for the Marines, which gave me another two months to keep working. Out of the blue, the local school district called and asked if I would be interested in substitute teaching at the local junior high school. Excited to keep my teaching going, I said, “Absolutely.” I donned my tie and jacket and early the next morning I reported to the principal’s office.

I was assigned to an eighth grade homeroom where I would teach social studies. A little nervous and anxious, I couldn’t wait to have my charges in front of me asking questions and looking to me for all of the answers. Standing behind my desk, the first student walked into the room, looked at me in a perplexed way, raised his eyebrows and did an about face and quickly departed. I could hear his voice loud and clear shouting down the hall, “Hey, you’ll never believe it, we got the bus driver for a substitute!”

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