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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!

This story is part of our Best Of October 2020 roundup!

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