Well folks, I survived my first week of my new route only to discover more frustrations. I’ll be quite busy over the next week because the previous driver left with NO route description written and NO list of students names, phone numbers, allergies and what not. So that responsibility which should have been completed in AUGUST – and to some extent September - is now left up to me. I plan on composing a parent letter introducing myself and asking (begging) them to please fill out and complete the student information sheets.
Overall it’s been a good route so far but I’ve come to some conclusions:
1. The students SHALL have assigned seats. This will help me learn their names as well as figure out who is doing what when Brunette Girl comes up to me and says vaguely “They’re swearing (cussing) in the back.”
2. I shall be numbering all the seats in order for the sake of organization and sanity. When I say, “SEAT 4 sit down!” they know whom I’m addressing.
3. They will sit properly and follow all bus safety rules.
4. Morning routes are quiet routes.
5. Free Fridays will be implemented in cases of good behavior, however assigned seats and rules still apply.
The previous driver expected grades 4-8 to be quiet on the bus (no talking) in the afternoons. The kids are pretty good with this rule and I enjoy a nice quiet bus with some mild chatter in between the seats from my younger kids and highschoolers. Because I feel that no child should be forced to be silent ALL the time, I have implemented “Free Fridays” where they (my two silent groups) can choose between music and talking. If they choose to talk, they cannot get loud. If I have to speak to them more than 3 times about the volume, Free Friday is no more. I may choose to have on music of MY choice in the afternoons except on Friday where they can choose the station. I shall probably end up alternating Fridays with music and talking so that everyone gets a little fun on Fridays.
Alternative boy is still a pain in the rear, but his permanent assigned seat is one of the last seats on the bus. It gets him the furthest away from my 4th and 5th graders who tend to get riled up when he gets them going. If duct tape were legal, I’d tape his mouth shut.
My frustration for the week came about mid-week. I drop off 2 sisters right in front of their house. I specifically changed the route because I suspected the mother was not letting the children inside in the afternoons and that because I couldn’t see where the children were, the neighbor was getting stuck watching the children regularly. With the way I do the route now, I pass by these 2 girls’ house FOUR times - twice on each route. Normally it doesn’t concern me if parent is not home on the first run as they are typically there by the time we circle the neighborhood or by the time the second run passes by the house TWICE. Well, this time the children got off the bus FOUR separate times to find the apartment locked up tight with nobody home or answering the door. I FINALLY get a call on the radio from dispatch to turn around after I was planning on taking these kids to their fathers house across town, to go back to the house. I go back, and wait another TEN minutes AFTER the whole route has been done for the day for the mother to finally waltz her butt to her house to get the children. I let it go, but I’m wondering if this will be a regular issue for this mother and children. I suspect I’ll probably be making a trip to the police station in the near future with these kids simply because mom is not home. This is the same mother who sent her son onto the bus in his BOXER shorts… clothes in hand, and he had to get dressed ON the bus on the way to school.
It will DEFINITELY be an interesting year!!
The Bus Driver