The Bus Duty Nazis
I’m generally a mild-mannered man, but there are days when my buttons get pushed. Yesterday was one of them.
I started volunteering at one of our elementary schools this fall. Two days a week I drive to the other end of the county to help coach a Lego robotics team. Thursday I was running late because I had been babysitting the twins while my wife had her hair appointment. Normally I get to the school before the end of the day, sign-in in the office and go to the classroom we use.
When I arrived yesterday the buses in front of the school were beginning to leave. The bus ramp is between the parking lot and the school building. Two teachers were on duty, one on each side of the crosswalk. The teacher on my side said I needed to wait for the buses to leave.
Okay. This makes sense. No one in his right mind is going to step in front of a bus. Right? The first bus pulled out, then the second, third, fourth, etc. Now there are two buses left. The one in the lead is four car lengths away and is just starting his engine. It is not moving. I cross and enter the school.
These bus ramp Nazis are yelling at me that I can’t go yet. I ignore them. You see I generally follow laws and most rules. Natural laws I will follow until I can figure out how to levitate. As Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory said, “Gravity, thou art a heartless bitch.” But I am a private citizen now and an arbitrary rule made up by some coven of a bus ramp safety committee rubs me wrong when compared to the common sense rule of looking both ways at a crosswalk and then proceeding across the street.
What made the whole incident really intolerable is that these two idiots followed me into the school office and accosted me, and telling me that I was setting a poor example to their kids. Neither of these‘ladies’ knew me. I don’t know about other schools, but it is not a common practice for teachers to yell at school visitors where I come from. They are lucky because I could have reported them to the principal, a man I have known for 20 years. Instead I told them in very direct terms that I cared very little for their arbitrary rules and they were making me even later for my meeting. They stormed off and I had to settle my nerves before facing my teams of student robot builders.
In the end the sad thing is I was considering running a robotics camp for these kids after the robotics competition is over. Now I don’t see where is worth my time to drive 60 miles (round trip) to volunteer my time at this school anymore.
I'm inclined to agree. When I was a new teacher, I let staff run all over me. I don't allow that now. In the last two years I've told the principal where to go and how to get there at least once a semester. I refused to let the yearbook staff disrupt my class room. I threw a district videographer out of my class room, reminding him and the district of Washington State student privacy law. I'm primarily responsible for having our former attendance secretary transferred to another school. I expect to give exemplary service to my students, and I expect that of other district employees. No exceptions.
If you allow officious people to run your life, you will be miserable. I'm one of the most highly qualified teachers in my field in the PNW. It is their privilege to have me. I no longer take abuse or anything approaching it from anyone. I especially expect that from support staff. They're there to support instructors; instructors are not there to support classified staff.