Riding with the Atlantean

by James Arthur Warren 3 January 2015

There are as many different ways to get an education as there are ways to get to and from  school.

Learning from your family: Back in the 1980’s my father was a teacher at my Maroochydore State High School where I was a student. So the safe way to get my education was seated next to my father in his car. It was easy, comfortable, safe and got me to school on time, and dry when it was raining. It cost me nothing. It was free but it was my dad’s way.

Learning from your school: There was also a double decker bus. It was blue and it stopped opposite my home and picked up the neighbours and my two sisters. Sometimes I would take the double decker bus to school. It was easy, organised and safe if you weren’t being bullied. The blue double decker school bus got me to school on time (it took 20 minutes) and it cost us nothing because we lived just far enough from the school to get our transport paid for by the government. It was free but it was the government’s standard way.

Teaching yourself: Being the eldest child and wanting my freedom I instead chose to ride my bicycle to school. I didn’t want to sit on a boring bus wasting my time when I could be free to go as fast or slow as I wanted, I could weave, jump and stop to smoke a sneaky ciggie on the way. It was only 3km to school, I got there on time. There was a bicycle path which made it relatively safe. One day I had to jump my bike over a red bellied black snake on the path but that was the most dangerous thing that ever happened. Riding my bike cost nothing, I made a few mistakes on the way, like stopping for those ciggies but I learned from them. It was free and it was my standard way.

Exploring new possibilities: One time I discovered a new way. What I did was dangerous and I don’t condone it. I came out of school with my bicycle one afternoon just as the blue double decker school buses were leaving. The road from school had a good downhill slope and the big old double decker school buses took a while to gain speed. As I mounted my bike, a bus pulled along side me. I pedaled fast to keep up with the bus, students inside were yelling at me with excitement to go faster. I pedaled hard and then saw I could grab hold of a grate on the side. I reached out and held the bus with one hand and started to be towed by the bus. We reached about 55km/h, stopped for the traffic lights and then continued. All the while I was being cheered on by student’s inside. I got halfway home before letting go and using my own power. That day I got home very quickly, safely too. My parents got a call from the school because the bus driver had reported me and I got in trouble. It was free but by using the best of the old standard ways I created a new way.

Catching the double decker bus with my bicycle was my new way. It shows there are many ways to learn and they don’t have to be the standard way of the crowd. Sometimes you have to take a risk, combine the best of your knowledge to achieve a better outcome. The result will be a better way.

James’ Blue House Free School is exploring a new way

On 27 of November 2014 a supercell storm blew the roof off my home of 8 years and left myself and 3 sons displaced. I am an Environmental Scientist and English as a Second Language teacher. I have taught thousands of refugees and migrant to read and write English and settle in Australia. I understand the importance of reading and writing to having access to information so that you can improve your life and the lives of those around you.

So I am selling everything I don’t need to fund James’ Blue House Free School Bus so that I can take a travelling school into areas where access to education is limited. All the money raised will go to purchasing a 1972 Leyland Atlantean double decker bus and equipping it with computers and solar energy generation.

The initial goal is to raise $20,000 of donations on gofundme James’ Blue House Free School Bus

Read more about the Blue House Free School Blog  https://bluehousefreeschool.wordpress.com/

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