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Virginia Journal of Education

Ten Minutes With...

Betty Key

Position:  School bus driver
Local association:  Augusta County Education Association   
Years worked in education:  15

What is a typical school day like for you?
I get up early and always work to be on time for my first bus stop. I stay on schedule and I try to be conscious of any problems that the children bring to the bus. I’m a second mother to them. I have to do two pre-trip inspections and two post-trip inspections and also be sure no children have been left on the bus.

What do you like about your job?
I really enjoy driving, and I like the children the most. Some of them I’ve driven from preschool through to graduation from high school. I love their personalities. Sometimes I just have to hide my face and giggle at some of the things they say. There’s always one or two who are a little rebellious. On a typical day, I drive kids of all ages.

What is hard about your job?
I have to watch out for inconsiderate drivers who run my stop light when I’m loading or unloading children. That’s very dangerous. Once, I came down a hill and around a turn and had to make a stop. Several cars were stopped behind me, but a dump truck behind them got going too fast and couldn’t stop. He ended up going out in the left lane and around me, in front of the oncoming traffic. At the time, there were two children in front of my bus that I hadn’t waved across yet. I blew my horn and yelled at them to get back. If I hadn’t seen the dump truck coming, they would have been run over.

What are some of the most fun and unusual things that have happened on the job?
Once, I got stuck in the middle of a dirt road on ice. I couldn’t go forward or backward, and it had started to snow. When the tow truck came, it also got stuck. The driver eventually had to get himself off the ice and then stretch a chain across to me so he could pull the bus out. I had about 20 kids still on the bus. We were about an hour-and-a-half late, but we were all safe.

How has being an Association member been helpful to you?
Being a member has made me more outgoing. I’ve become friends with lots of great people, and I’ve had a chance to meet people from all over the U.S. The Association has helped me deal with local problems—both my own and those of fellow members. If I could only get more people to take an active role in the Association, we could move mountains.



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