I took a group of elementary choral students to Sandy Lake Park today. I think it was my 60th field trip of the year. As I threaded the yellow-hound through LBJ/holiday/Friday traffic this afternoon, I couldn't wait to get 'em safely home and wrap up a safe year of doing trips.
Field trips are where the money is...I earn my hourly wage from the time I leave to travel to the school until I bring my bus back to the lot. Last year, one of the trips lasted 16+ hours. So I'm on the clock even as I read novels, take naps, and ponder life...while waiting on the kiddoes to wrap up whatever trip they're on.
Sadly, however, for most of my co-workers, this is their only job. The newbies start off at $13/hour, so there's no wonder that getting field trips is critical to their budgets. Of course, I have my teacher retirement to draw on. They don't. Our bus lot was rocked with a scandal about a decade ago when it was discovered that trips were being awarded based upon money "under the table". It got real ugly.
But for me and a few of my fellow retired educators, it's pretty much an ideal job. One of the guys is a PhD. So when a bus pulls up in Dallas to board some students, your driver could be uneducated or extremely educated. Of course, how ideal the job is depends greatly on your, uh, clientele. Please don't ever give me Skyline High School students. They send a lot of drivers to snoop out other professions.
BTW, I had to do my best McIver impression today. The rear a/c quit this afternoon, and with a heat index over 100, this was serious. I borrowed a penny, and not because I was broke. I used the penny to open up a panel that exposed all the bus' electrical wiring. I fiddled around with the wires connected with the a/c switch and got it working again. Of course, McIver would have gotten the bus to fly somehow.