This Driver’s No Dinosaur

, , , , , , , | Learning | October 15, 2020

I’m a substitute school bus driver. While most students behave well on the bus, there are a few who have some trouble.

One day, I have a thirteen-year-old student yelling and being disruptive. After a few warnings to keep conversations quieter, I pull the bus over onto the shoulder and walk back to him.

Me: “It’s getting awfully loud back here; I need you to come and sit closer to me. You can make sure I’m following the route correctly.”

Usually, giving disruptive students a “job” helps them behave better.

Student: “Okay, fine.”

He follows me to a seat near the front, but instead of having fun telling a grown-up what to do like most other students, he continues to annoy the other students around him. I decide to try distracting him.

Me: “[Student], do you know what the loudest animal in the world is?”

Student: “No, I give up.”

Me: “Blue whale. Do you know how long it takes light to travel from the sun to Earth?”

Student: “No, but do you know what a Deinonychus is?”

Me: “That’s my favorite dinosaur — a dromaeosaur discovered in the 1960s by John Ostrom that revolutionized the way we view dinosaurs as active, warm-blooded animals. I know what it is, yes. And it takes almost eight and a half minutes for sunlight to reach Earth.”

Student: “Um… What about Stygimoloch?”

Me: “A Cretaceous ornithopod that’s recently been thought to be a juvenile form of Pachycephalosaurus rather than a distinct species.”

[Student] is no longer disruptive, just curious.

Student: “How did you know that?”

Me: *Friendly tone* “I’m wearing Triceratops earrings and a Tyrannosaurus necklace. I like dinosaurs. You can’t out-dinosaur me, but you’re welcome to try.”

He was indeed unable to stump me on dinosaur facts, but trying kept him distracted until we got to his bus stop!

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