Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Year, Another Bus Ride

I always find it rather amusing that students look so forward to the bus ride. I mean, the buses aren't very comfortable; we drive through some rough, windy roads, some of which smell really bad. I mean, seriously! And while I will try to teach my students to focus on the journey in life, not the destination, this journey really is all about the destination: Camp Caritas!

Now, I know my students were uber-excited about going to camp this year, but you'd think they could wait at least two minutes before starting with "Are we there yet?!" We hadn't even gotten onto Brandon Road when I heard, "1...2...3...


Oh, it's going to be a long drive.

And you'd think they could have waited at least five more minutes before the next one. And you'd be wrong. Thirty seconds later, "1...2...3...


Really, really long drive.

At least they waited about five minutes before starting the singing. This led Natalie to yell out, "No! No sing-a-longs! NO!" Sorry, kid, but that's like trying to put a stopper in Niagara Falls. 

"Oh - Oh...living on a prayer!"

And, no, that wasn't just the teacher praying for quiet. Two or three songs later, they changed to a loud, rhythmic chant:


And I mean LOUD! I was surprised our bus driver didn't say something about the volume. Maybe he's not a Giants fan either. But, seriously...the Royals? Is it just because they're not the Giants? And how in the world was Rachel able to read her book through all of this!? I so envy people who can do that. And next to her Natalie was drawing...how she managed to do so on an incredibly bumpy bus, I don't know. 

After they were done with the chanting, they went back to singing. The first song sounded familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. And then Natalie yelled out, "NO!!!!" and covered her ears.

Oh, right..."Let It Go." Delightful.

Shortly after someone started singing "Conjunction Junction" (seriously? Even the teacher doesn't want to do grammar on the bus!), I stood up to remind the kids in the back of the bus to remain seated while the bus was moving. Before I could say anything, Kevin called out, "Miss McMillan, you should sit down. It's not safe to stand." 


I believe it was right after this that the following conversation took place:

Rachel: "It's gonna be a long bus ride."

Me: "It always is."

Laura: "We could make the tires blow out and make it even longer!"

Katie C: "How is that productive?!"

Not two seconds later, the bus driver pulled over to the side of the road. Laura got very quiet, probably wondering if she jinxed us. A number of items, sleeping bags and what-not, had fallen into the aisle and he just wanted to keep the aisle clear. But for one brief, shining moment...it was quiet.

Moment's over. "I can show you the world..."

About 10:00 we were approaching Six Flags, and I just waited. Because every year...

Can we go to Six Flags?!!

Every year.

So, you know how you never want to tempt fate by saying something like, "Wow, my car is sure running great"? Well, the bus ride version of that is, "Hey, no one's singing!" I just rolled my eyes when I heard that and said, "Dude! Don't poke the beehive!" Sure enough, this led to a little Whitney Houston:

"And I...I...I...I...I will always love you!"

I kid you not.

At least they moved on to some Adele after that. And another rendition of "Are we there yet?" Then I heard, "Yo, McTeach! Do you have a diaper?"

Wait...did you just call me "McTeach"? [And then the second part hit me.] I guess I should be more concerned with the diaper part, right? I was told, "Don't worry. It's just truth or dare."

Don't worry. Right.

That was when Natalie asked Celeste, "Do you have a hippopotamus I can borrow?" Celeste asked for a repeat of the question a few times, probably due to the bizarreness of the question. The brain just doesn't know how to process hippopotamus questions.

It was at about this time that we noticed a beautiful rainbow arching across the road we were traveling on. When I heard someone call out, "Ohmygod, we're almost at the end of the rainbow," I wanted to laugh but then I looked out the window. We did, in fact, seem to be getting closer and closer to it!

We'll return to our regularly scheduled programming after these brief commercial messages. I don't know why...then again, I never do...but they started in on a few commercial chants, like "Ho, ho, ho...Green Giant." And "Red Robin...Yum!" And let's not forget the obligatory "Bah-da-bum-bum-bum...I'm lovin' it!"

Great, now I'm hungry.

One thing I'll say about this class, at least they waited an entire hour before starting in with "The Wheels on the Bus." But I knew it was coming; it's as inevitable as the change in seasons. I'm fairly certain, however, that this class added a few of their own verses, or perhaps I've just never heard the entire song (sometimes the voices in my head yell loudly enough that they block out certain songs). I had never heard the line, "The teacher on the bus goes shush, shush, shush." I certainly enjoyed it, but I'd love to know whether or not they made it up.

After Abby led the crowd in a resounding rendition of "If You're Happy and You Know It", Julia and Celeste seemed to take over for awhile with every cheer they've ever learned. And I mean, EVERY...CHEER. There were several that I'd heard before, "Bazooka Bubble Gum," "Boom Chick-a-Boom," but the one about the "little baby bumblebee" led Natalie to call out, "You realize that a 'baby bumblebee' would be a 'larvae', right?!"

Despite the fact that I've made this trek for seven or eight years now, nothing can prepare you for the smell that bombards the bus as we enter farming territory. Wow! At one point I heard someone yell out, "It smells nasty!" Shortly afterwards, Rachel asked, "Why does it smell so bad?"

I pointed out the window at all the cows.


As we got closer and closer to camp, the more frequently the bursts of "Are we there yet?" occurred. After one particularly loud outburst, I let out a rather loud, "Ugh!" This was met with, "1...2...3...

We're sorry, Miss McMillan!"

I have to admit, that made me smile.

Time for one more very brief conversation before we arrived:

Rachel: Wow, Miss McMillan, what a difference! It was, like, all roads and then, boom...forest!

Me: Those are bushes.

Rachel: Still!

Yeah, I know. After that, they saw the sign for CYO Camp and it was all over! Non-stop screaming from the time they saw the sign to the moment Mateo hopped on the bus to welcome them. I just wish I could get them this excited about grammar! Hey, I know...Grammar Camp! How much fun would that be!

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