This past week I was asked if I would accept a permanent bus route. Up until now, I have been “floating” between buses, filling in for drivers who were absent, on fieldtrips, or otherwise unavailable to drive their buses. I loved doing that simply because my job changed every day. More and more though, I wanted a bus that I could call my own, but the options were limited and a few of them would have made me pull my hair out and quit had I taken the buses. (We have a few buses in town that are placed in the category of “worst bus ever.”)
On Wednesday, I got a phone call telling me I had until the afternoon to think about accepting a bus or remain a floater. We currently get .15 cents a mile and as floaters get paid for 52 miles a day. This bus that I’ve accepted has 81 miles. It’s a significant pay raise of about 20 dollars a week. It’s also one of the main reasons I accepted the bus. I spent the remainder of the week learning the route from the old driver, and trying to remember names of kids she tells me. This coming week will be my first week enforcing the same rules the old bus driver had on the bus, and making it “my” bus. I’m starting to have doubts entering this new territory, but I think I’m ready for the challenge of harnessing over 100 kids. This bus has 3 runs in the afternoon and 2 in the morning, so it will be a challenge to get these kids to school on time. The plus side is I already know a few of the kids. Unfortunately I know them as the troublemakers. But I’ve got enough experience that I believe I can handle them with my usual sarcasm and wit.
Alternative boy is a student I hauled approximately 2 years ago when the alternative school was located on a separate campus from regular school and was not funded by our public education system. We had an outside educator (Ombudsman) come in and run our alternative school. When I hauled him 2 years ago, he was no trouble to me, but he was known to have a bit of a smart mouth on him. I’ve been told he doesn’t sit with some of the younger students because he gets them all riled up. We’re gonna keep that rule!
Mouth girl is exactly that. She is the LOUDEST child I have EVER met. I encountered her early on, when she was in 7th grade at the middle school. I was substituting at the time and her and her classmates gave me a day of HELL. I had hoped to never see her again, but now that she is on my bus, I’ll have to deal with her. It seems now that she has learned to control her mouth, but has temper flare ups, so we’ll have to see how the year progresses.
D1 and D2 are twin boys who are very mischievous. They have nearly the same first name so it will be a challenge to tell who is who especially when I have to write one of them up. They are from my younger group of children who will be a challenge.
Blondie girl needs a seatbelt. Badly! I keep seeing her head pop up and down up and down. It’s like she is on a bouncy toy. She also comes from my younger children. I think she will probably end up having a permanent front seat if she cannot calm down and sit properly.
Hopefully I’ll survive my first week with them. If you don’t hear from me, send a search party!
Anxious and Excited,
The Bus Driver