On the way to the field trip I noticed one of my friends was pretending to drive the bus the entire trip. Eyes on the road he turned the wheel with every curve, keeping his right foot at a 45 degree angle that occasionally slammed to the floor when we stopped. Every once and awhile he'd turn around and tell some imaginary person to sit down and be quiet. As we got off the bus he commented to the bus driver, "I like your bus, but you made a mistake".
On the way back I let him join my car sick friend with me in the front seat. He quickly explained to the bus driver, "My friend gets sick when you drive your bus". Some bus drivers may be offended, or simply ignore him, but this one embraced it. As we waited for the other class to join us on the bus my friends started asking the bus driver questions. "How many miles you got?" "How do you stop?" "How do you shut the door?"
Before I knew it she had both of my friends practically in her lap. She explained how the brakes work (not something I knew before), the windshield wipers, the blinkers, the door, etc. If it was safe for them to push a button she let them. They even got to honk the horn. Their faces glowed with wonder and she walked them through the ins and outs of bus driving. It was better than Santa Claus. The entire ride back she narrated what she was doing. "See that sign? That's a snake sign- that means the road is windy like snake." My friends replied in hushed wonder "WOW".
You would have to pay me a lot of money to drive a bus, and even then, I'm not sure I'd agree to it. And driving a bus of overly excited kindergarten students through a windy country road would be my own personal hell. I am truly in awe of this woman's upbeat and excited attitude, along with the patience and enthusiasm she displayed for my little friends.
My friends asked her name so they could write her letters. Then they asked her to spell it and repeated it over and over again until I told them it was ok, I'd help them spell it when the time came.
For me, tired and grouchy, this was the perfect way to end the trip. This was the reason for field trips- the hands on learning- the real world experience the kids can draw from later.