It’s that week. That week that always sends me into a domestic tailspin, that week that reminds me of things I should “bring up in the next team meeting we have”, that week that keeps it real for me…and I know for many of my teacher friends. Bus. Duty. Week.
It’s inevitable. Bus duty week forces us to question our organizational skills, time management, and sanity. Not just at school, but in our own households. Why is everyone in the house ready to go except when I say it’s time to go…and then it takes 8 minutes to get 25 yards to the car? Why do I confuse Tuesday with Thursday, and upon realization that it in fact is only Tuesday, I spend 20 minutes confused about why I thought it was Thursday in the first place? Why do I feel like I “forgot” I had duty even though my calendar reminded me for 3 days that I had duty this week? My house looks like a crime scene; my kids eat Ramen noodles and hot dogs for dinner; my outfits become more “original” by the day; and my eating habits resemble something you might see on a Man v Food episode. I think I even said out loud this week, “Maybe I have a tapeworm.” When you think you have it together…that’s when bus duty comes-a-calling. She rocks my world. Every. Single. Time.
Mornings consist of walking around greeting students. Now, this greeting could fall anywhere between “Good morning, how are you?” to “Uh” (Which is middle school code for “Hey”, I think). Students come in. Backpack in tow. Homework hanging out, sometimes falling out. Hair, sometimes wet, sometimes dry, sometimes brushed, sometimes not brushed, sometimes tangled in a strange substance picked up from the ride to school. Shuffling feet. Yesterday’s drama not quite forgotten but “hey, we’re still friends”. Breakfast on the table in a styrofoam plate. And 15 cartons of their beverage of choice: apple juice, orange juice, milk 2%, milk 1% strawberry-flavored. All empty. And stacked on top of each other. Talking loud. “Can I go to the bathroom?” 7:35, dismiss.
Afternoons spent hemmed in an 800 square foot area of grass/sidewalk. “Watch for your ride!” Cell phones. Names on the microphone. Untying random things and asking how did this happen? Repeatedly asking students to not sit on the concrete step inches from the generator. “How was your day?” And dogs hanging out car windows. Lots of dogs along for the ride, picking up their humans. Backpacks in tow. Again. Homework hanging out. Falling out. “Watch for your ride!” 3:00, wrap it up.
I volunteered for “early” duty on Monday. Yeah, was 5 minutes late. Even though I left 10 minutes early. So, I volunteered for Wednesday. Forgot my lunch twice. Borrowed a sleeve of crackers from another teacher so I could eat my soup- cream of chicken. A hearty choice. Well, I guess I can’t say “borrowed” because I can’t give them back. But…I’ll return the gesture one way or another. Offered my kids chocolate chip cookies for breakfast just so they’d move faster and get in the car. Spent 20 minutes looking for my keys…that were on my wrist. Worked out 2 days ( I would say 3, but the third day doesn’t count because I was so tired I just watched the workout video- no participation), stuck my finger in a cup of ice cream one of my kids left in my car all day, spilled said ice cream in the seat, lost control of the shower sprayer and drenched myself while bathing one of the kids, lost 5 dollars that I could have sworn was in my pocket, and stubbed my toe on the table. Pretty sure it’s broken.
My favorite memory of the week, though, is this one. This one happened today. I’m at the water fountain- a fancy one that is actually called a “hydration station”. I’m attempting to fill up my water bottle. There is a line of middle schoolers behind me. The look on my face sparked an interest in the young man behind me. For, I had spent a good 45 seconds looking around wondering why the “hydration station” was not filling my bottle. I look down. The mouth fountain (you know, the water spout that we had growing up…push the button, water forms an arc, and you intercept with your mouth) was running, and running, and running. Student begins to giggle. The giggle turns to a laugh. Okay, I get it. Something is happening I can’t see…Yeah. My stomach was pushing in the push bar. My gut was pushing in the bar. Gah. I step back. How did I not feel that?! I can’t even.
You win, bus duty. You win. White flag.
Good news, though. I ate a Peggy Ann’s blueberry donut for breakfast. And it was good. I totally blamed the donut. It’s okay. It was bus duty week.