Barney Peterson, 2015 Regional Teacher of the Year
8:00 am I get a frantic text message from one of the special education paraeducators: “On the way in on bus #136. Baby duck on bus. Can you help?”
In our school I am the crazy, woodsy, science-y wildlife lady. I’m sort of the resident Ms. Frizzle, so this message comes as no great surprise. I put an old towel in a three-gallon bucket, text back that I will meet the bus, and fly into action.
It turns out the duckling was rescued by the driver when he noticed it wandering down the side of the freeway. He tucked the extra passenger into the box next to his seat. The first school couldn't take the duckling because there was no science department. Then a paraeducator whose kids had been in my class offered to call me.
I meet the bus, and the duckling is recovered to smiles. The wheelchair-bound students on the bus all get a quick look at the duckling in the bucket before I route it to a foster home with a staff member who raises ducks.
The duckling’s story ends up being part of my lesson for the day. I get the pleasure of turning the rescue into a teachable moment, as today is the start of National Be Kind to Animals Week. The bus driver who stopped along the freeway to rescue the orphaned baby is the hero of the week.
Every day is different, and we get to do it with people who take great care of even the littlest things. Maybe that’s why teaching truly is the best job in the world.
Barney Peterson is a 2015 Regional Teacher of the Year, a 2006 Presidential Award Winner for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, a NOAA Teacher at Sea alumna, and a National Board Certified Teacher of fourth grade at James Monroe Elementary in Everett.
Amy Abrams, Kent