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Paradise

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.”  Lily Tomlin

I love teaching, educating, inspiring students through field trips. Students (especially low income ones) need to get out into the world and meet new people.  They need to explore. However, I can’t stand being on the bus to and from our destination. The screaming, the singing and the physical jostling – ugh!   I have learned  a couple coping techniques from years of experience, but I still believe teachers should be chaperoned separately, in a quiet car with our beverage of choice. The adult chaperones on the bus with the kids should be those people who say teaching is easy and that class size doesn’t matter.

On our bus ride to Arizona State University for a science expo, I allowed my class to board the bus first and then I got on. I stood at the front, assessed the situation, rearranged a couple kids to help minimize noise and “issues” and then took a seat near the front. Fortunately, sixth graders do NOT believe it’s cool to sit next to the teacher. Ah, a seat to myself!  The other sixth grade teacher, Mr. Ash was relatively new to teaching. I noted him sitting in the middle of the bus, between his class and mine, sharing a seat with a boy.  Mr. Ash is a super nice, tall man with big brown doe eyes. Throughout our ten week stint together, he constantly reflected on his work, noting what was working and what wasn’t. I liked that.

As we rolled down the freeway, one of my students asked me to turn the music up. It was so loud with sixth grade chatter, I didn’t even know the radio was on. “Don’t you think it’s loud enough in here?” He begged and gave me the prayer hands. I asked the driver, “Do you think you could turn the radio up a little? You’re the driver, if you don’t want to, it’s totally up to you.” Safety first!

The driver complied with no expression on his face. His eyes never left the road as his chubby fingers dialed the volume up. Instantly, the entire busload of students was singing at the top of their lungs:

“Your sex takes me to paradise, yes your sex takes me to paradise and it shows, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!”

I was at once mortified and amused. I looked back at Mr. Ash, his face in his hands.

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