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Almost 12 years ago, I had to attend New Bus Driver’s Class to assure my employment.  It’s a state mandated class of 18hrs that you have to finish and pass a test in order to drive a school bus.  Every 2 yrs after that, you need to renew your Advanced Drivers Class certification with a 6hr class accompanied with passing a test.  If for some reason, you don’t keep up on your certification, you have to start at the beginning.

Tuesday night, I walked into New Bus Driver’s Class again.  This time, I was no novice.  8yrs of driving a school bus have been engraved into my mind.  I expected to be surrounded by newbies with a scared ‘doe caught in headlights’ expression in their eyes.  I was not disappointed.  Listening to them talk, it at once reminded of when I was like them and how far away from that I have grown.

It was a strange experience.  Sitting where you once sat, reflecting on whom you once were.  Beginning again but with the knowledge of experience behind you.  As I listened to their comments and concerns, it reminded me of just how unprepared you are of the enormous responsibility of transporting 70+ children all at once.  You need to be an expert at navigating a 40ft bus, managing conflict while doing so and maintaining grace under pressure.  It’s a tall order to fill and often a position that does not demand a lot of respect.  Add in a healthy heaping of personal liability and it can make you choke.

The instructor will often talk about past ‘fatalities’  involving a school bus in the state of MI so that we might learn from them.  He’s trying to impress upon us how 1 error can result in the death of a child and how becoming complacent in your job is dangerous.  I understand why he brings them up.  They are a learning tool.  What went wrong in that situation?  What could have prevented that incident?  But story after story of a child that died at the hands of their school bus driver quickly leaves me feeling literally sick to my stomach.

5yr olds are the most at risk age while riding a bus and every story he tells us, I can’t help but picture my babies.  It’s terrible.  My mind will flash a picture of Emma or Gerrit, squashed or being dragged by a bus.  It’s a horror so awful that I try to shake it out and wish for a bottle of mental bleach to cleanse the image. 

I can feel the other drivers in the class recoiling and questioning their decision to have this as an occupation.  And I remember back in the day, being scared myself.  I know that there’s still a twinge of fear inside me but that’s the healthy amount.  The amount that keeps you on guard, more aware, a better driver.

Trying to absorb as much knowledge for my future test, listening to tragic deaths and being at class late are taking their toll.  I’m emotionally drained when I get home.  I’m glad there’s only 3 more classes.  I’ll keep you updated.


About Chris

These are the pieces of my life and those that make it worth living
This entry was posted in Becoming, Me, My family, Other Peeps, School, The kids, Uncategorized, Woe is me. Bookmark the permalink.

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