What I Learned My First Full Year As a School Crossing Guard
In the latter part of 2019, I took a chance and I applied with the Owensboro Police Department to see if I could land a job as a school crossing guard. I know you think "why?" and "that seems so easy", well, I'll be the first to say, it's a little more challenging than I thought and I never thought I would work in a school setting again. Here's what happened in my first year and a half.
I met with the traffic officers and I was given my stop sign and neon vest (pictured above) and first I would do about a week and a half of training, both at school and I took several online exams that all OPD staff has to take. I did a couple of days of watching the officers do it, shout outs to OFC Mike Roby and OFC Aron Contratto for their help. SGT Mike Page is my supervisor and he helped throughout the whole year. Speaking of my first year, there was obviously a stop because of the COVID-19 lockdowns and stay-at-home orders. Yeah, I started in early January and by March 13th, all schools closed. My students who crossed at Tamarack Elementary and Owensboro Catholic High, my posts, would have to start virtual learning.
So, what was there to do? Well, luckily, the City of Owensboro continued to pay all part-time employees throughout quarantine. I kept holding out hope the kids would be able to finish the 2019-2020 school year, but it was not to be. Summer came and went and in August, the school year was a go. Kids had the option to continue to learn virtually or go back in person on a hybrid schedule two days a week, which allowed for staff to do a deep cleaning on Wednesdays. Catholic High returned to full-time in-person classes.
I learned I didn't like getting up for school early again, as in 6:30 a.m and by the end of the year when I re-assigned to Owensboro Middle School, my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. If I wasn't working at the radio station, I would catch a nap in between morning and afternoon crossings. When I was going to school, I think the latest I got up was 7:00 a.m. and all my schools weren't far from home. I learned a little bit of patience, especially with morning crossings, kids get there at different times, some super early and some right before the first bell. I learned during cold weather even though I do bundle up, it's sometimes best to stay in my car between crossings. Yes, I learned some drivers don't pay attention if you're wearing a bright neon piece of clothing, you all need to be careful. Speaking of my vest, I should probably wash it.
I think I learned the most I miss school. I mean in the sense of school before 7th grade. I have to give the kids I crossed a lot of praise, they wore their masks even up until their last day. I was fully vaccinated at the end of March, but as a sign of respect, I continued to mask up.
I wasn't expecting an unconventional first year, but I'll be back, thank you.