Saturday, January 31, 2009

When Life gives you Lemons…. and MiniMouthboy Steals Again?

Leesepea over at “But Wait! There’s More…” has bestowed upon me the “Lemonade” Award and it gave me some much needed blog love. Now I get to bestow it upon others!

I also like saying the word bestow. LOL

Here are the rules:
1. You must link back to the person you received the award from.

2. You have to nominate 10 bloggers who are deserving of this award!

So, without further adieu, I hereby bestow The Lemonade Award upon:

1. Pissed Off Teacher over at Pissed Off Teacher because her wry sense of humor and sharp wit has sent me laughing uncontrollably. Additionally she has to deal with the idiots over at the NYC Board of Education.

2. ChiTown Girl over at I Teach Kdg because of her willingness to work with the “little people.” I would go insane on day 1.

3. Ms. Bluebird over at Bluebirds Classroom because anyone willing to put themselves in the thick of seventh grade hormones has a big star in my book!

4. Ms. 14moreyears over at Have A Gneiss Day because like Pissed Off Teacher, she too has to deal with the morons over in NY, including her “colleagues” who insist on policing things like the copy machine.

5. Mimi over at Its Not All Flowers and Sausages because she is another teacher suffering through the ills of public school. Her most memorable characters are Bacon Hunter and Big Boy. I highly recommend her.

6. Officer Wright over at Juvenile Corrections because he works with the youth that has fallen through the cracks and are on their last shred of chances.

7. Foster Mama over at Postcards From Insanity because she helps those children in need of protection. So many go forgotten and lost and Foster Mama finds and helps them.

8. Tudu over at Finishing Off My Family because she takes in those children that nobody wants and loves them for who they are. She has a big heart and is wonderful.

9. Melissa over at Dispatch Hell because the range of stupidity is world wide!

10. Edna Lee over at Regurgitated AlphaBits because she’s just plain funny.

Now I would stop here, but I just HAVE to mention a few more blogs that are worth the read and also deserve this award.

11. Mr. Teacher over at Learn Me Good because teaching 3rd grade takes guts and also offers hysterical anecdotes.

12. Angela Powell over at The Cornerstone Blog because she offers some great stories and awesome advice.

In other news, I’m finally free of the heathens on my bus. I have officially gone back to being a “floater” and am loving every minute of it. People have asked me if I will miss the kids on my bus, and I can honestly say that while I will miss a few of them, I am glad to be rid of the majority of them. Already, the NewDriver is experiencing problems in getting them to behave and follow the rules. MiniMouthboy tried it the minute he realised I was not riding the bus.

Apparently, NewDriver found out that MiniMouthboy had been misbehaving and was out of the seat I originally assigned him. MiniMouthboy is not allowed past the second seat back because of his attitude and behavior issues. NewDriver redirected MiniMouthboy to his rightful seat and then proceeded to chat up the kids on the bus in a “getting to know you” fashion. During this time, MiniMouthboy proceeded to steal NewDriver’s voice recorder which he uses to keep track of the route until he feels confident not to need it. NewDriver returned to his seat and MiniMouthboy’s sister informs him that MiniMouthboy had stole the recorder from him. MiniMouthboy vehemently denies this accusation, but the recorder is found in MiniMouthboy’s pocket. Of course MiniMouthboy tries everything under the sun to claim its NOT NewDrivers voice recorder, but eventually gets proven wrong. NewDriver is learning not to trust the kids so willingly and not leave his stuff laying around the bus where a child could take it. I hope the kids don’t drive him insane.
Loving Life,
The Bus Driver

Friday, January 16, 2009

Alternative Girl Gets Suspended

I intended to write this and post this earlier in the week, but my schedule dictated otherwise. Alternative Girl began to ride the bus again this week. So far she had only been riding the bus in the mornings, and when I check in with the Alternative School in the afternoons, I’ve been told I had no students to pick up. She rode Monday morning with a brief confrontation getting on the bus. She pushed and elbowed another student in order to get on the bus first. I stopped her and told her that pushing and elbowing is inappropriate. (Later the boy she “pushed and elbowed” told me that he tripped, but I seriously doubt this was the case, it looked like she pushed and elbowed him out of the way.)

Monday afternoon, I dealt with her cousin (WhinyGirl) who rides my bus regularly. She has a bad attitude and a whiny voice that grates on nerves like nails on a chalkboard. She constantly talks back to me when I give a directive. I had enough of her insubordination so I finally told her if she didn’t follow the directive I gave she was getting a write-up, she retorted with “I don’t care.” I told her that she earned another write-up, wash, rinse, and repeat. Finally I just shut up because I didn’t want to have to deal with her being a twit head.

Tuesday morning AlternativeGirl got on the bus and had a chip on her shoulder the size of Texas. She asked me why I hadn’t been picking her up in the afternoons and I explained how it worked and that she needed to notify the Alternative Administrator in order for me to come over there and pick her up. I’m usually one of the last buses going through the Alternative School in the afternoons as it is on my second run and I get there about 3:35-3:40 pm. She agreed and then asked me to come pick her up that afternoon. I agreed and in my mind was going to tell the Alt. Admin on duty about my trouble with her and her threats to me as detailed in my Pre-Christmas break blog.

WhinyGirl pipes up with “Miss. Bus Driver? My momma gonna talk to you at 4 when you drop me off today cuz you said I got 3 write-ups.” I think, “Oh great, I can tell her mom what has been happening with both WhinyGirl and AlternativeGirl.”

Tuesday afternoon, I go to pick AlternativeGirl up from the Alt. School and motion for the Alt. Admin on duty to come to the bus. I explained my problems with AlternativeGirl and AlternativeGirl flew off the handle. Like totally flew the coop! She started shouting about how I’m lying on her and how she didn’t do what I said she did. (This is where I find out the boy tripped.) The Alt. Admin redirects AlternativeGirl to sit down and be quiet and she flies off at him and starts saying that she’ll just get off the bus and walk home instead. Inside, I’m thinking, “YES!!! Get off the bus so I don’t have to deal with your –insert cuss words- all the way home!!” Finally, Alt. Admin had enough of her bad attitude and talking back and told her in short order to, “Get off the bus!”

Later, I pull up to WhinyGirl’s stop and her mother is there waiting on me. WhinyGirl’s mother cops a bit of an attitude with me at first, but her demeanor changes drastically when I explain her daughter’s behavior as well as AlternativeGirl’s behavior and threats. While I’m explaining, WhinyGirl interjects with her usual, “But it WASN’T meeeeeeeeeee.” plea to the general world and anyone who will listen. I then explain that the behavior WhinyGirl just showed is exactly the behavior that I’m dealing with on the bus in not following directives and doing what she’s told on the bus. The mother informs me that she will have a talk with both girls that evening. I thanked her and notified her that I hadn’t turned in any write-ups yet because I wanted to speak with her first and try to let her handle it at home before I take further action through the school. I have done this with other students in the past and it has worked out very well, they usually come back and behave better on the bus.

Wednesday morning marked a significant drop in the temperature here, so WhinyGirl’s mom asked if AlternativeGirl could ride that morning, as it was too cold to walk. I said absolutely. I’m not about to leave any child out in the cold, even if they have an attitude the size of Texas. That afternoon, I receive a note in my mailbox notifying me that AlternativeGirl has been suspended from the bus for 3 days starting Thursday and ending on Tuesday. She can ride the bus again next Wednesday. This was due to her atrocious behavior towards the Alt. Admin on Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t pick her up on Wednesday afternoon and was preparing myself for a fight with the mother on Thursday morning as I had told the mother that I wouldn’t turn in any write-ups just yet, but that AlternativeGirl still got suspended from the bus. WhinyGirl gets on the bus Thursday morning and whines to me about me getting her cousin suspended. I stopped WhinyGirl in her tracks and told her that it wasn’t my decision in the first place and that she had the altercation with Alt. Admin and THAT was the reason she was suspended.

Blessedly, Friday was a normal day. Next week, I train the new person on my route and I go back to bouncing from bus to bus. It should make for some interesting stories for sure!!!

Counting The Days,

The Bus Driver

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mini-Mouthboy and the Stolen Bicycle

I wrote about Mini-Mouthboy early on in November 2008. While some of his behavior has improved, he still has not gotten the point of staying in his seat without causing trouble. I moved Pipsqueak away from him because he and Pipsqueak would get into massive trouble together and it caused a huge headache for me.

NewBoy and NewGirl are siblings that ride on my first round in the afternoon. Apparently NewBoy and his family are new to the neighborhood of resident troublemakers and delinquent children. On my route alone, I constantly have students in In School Suspension, or in some form of trouble either in school or on the bus. NewBoy’s parents are learning this lesson the hard way. NewBoy had his brand new Christmas bicycle stolen off their porch outside their house. The bike cost 150 dollars. NewBoy lamented this tragedy to anyone who would listen on the bus and Mini-Mouthboy somehow got tangled up in this situation.

On my second pass by NewBoy’s house, NewBoy’s mother flags me down. (Stick with me folks, it gets confusing here!) She relates this tale of the stolen bicycle and then claims that “someone” on the bus told her son that he was the one who stole the bike and it was at his house and NewBoy could “come and get it if you dare.” She then describes the “someone” and I had the urge to say, “Lady, you just described HALF the kids on my bus!” Instead I smiled and nodded as she continued to be upset about this bike and what this “someone” had said to her son. She tells me they filed a police report and I politely told her that I would do what I could to cooperate with the police in hopes of tracking down NewBoy’s bike. The “someone” in question turned out to be…. You guessed it…. Mini-Mouthboy, who proceeded to tell me HIS side of the story with no prompting. Covering up much?! Mini-Mouthboy also tells me who he THINKS stole the bike. (Everyone still with me?? Anyone confused yet?? Great!! So am I!!!!!)

I later find out that Mini-Mouthboy allegedly made some threats of bodily harm to NewBoy in regards to the stolen bike but due to confidentiality reasons, I cannot tell NewBoy’s parents Mini-Mouthboy’s name, but that NewBoy can point out the boy who threatened him and that I would do what I needed to do by giving the name to the police or the proper authorities.

Long story short, I’ve given Mini-Mouthboy’s name to the police along with his address and his mother’s name. Hopefully this situation won’t get any bigger or more confusing.

In other news, several of my Cherubs are getting on my nerves. Constant back talking and disrespect are things I deal with on a daily basis and it has got to stop!

Riding a Unicycle,

The Bus Driver

Monday, January 5, 2009

Response to Frustrated Mom

***Disclaimer: What you choose to do with your own children is your own responsibility. I am not a licensed psychologist or a doctor. I can only offer suggestions based on my own experience of what worked with ME as a kid and based on what I understand about peer pressure and the like. The following is not intended to be taken as FACT, but simple suggestions as to how to handle a situation.***

I received a comment on one of my posts, and instead of publishing it there, I’ve decided to respond to it here. Please note that this response is directed specifically towards this parents’ situation and may or may not relate to your specific situation. As always, keeping the children’s best interest at heart is what my job is all about and safety is of utmost concern.

Dear Bus Driver,

I've had many problems with our kids on the bus. I am at a loss as to what to do for punishment at home. We've tried grounding from pretty much everything. Part of the problem is that my daughter wants us to drive her everyday which is just not something we can do.

Do you have any ideas for parents to extend a punishment/discipline at home after they've gotten kicked off the bus?


Frustrated Mom

Dear Frustrated Mom,

Thanks for writing! There are several things that you can do to show a united front to your daughter and other children. (You mentioned multiple children – so this response is meant to cover all the bases.) This is slightly difficult as you are vague as to what your child(ren) did to get kicked off the bus, but that said, here is what I suggest:

1. Talk to the Bus Driver. Ask the bus driver what sorts of things they suggest need to happen to prevent further behavior problems on the bus. (Assigned seats, Games (handheld) to keep child occupied, CD player to keep them occupied… Etc.) The bus driver may also notice bullying issues or anything that may conflict and cause your child(ren) to act out. The ultimate goal is to find a solution that everybody can live with.

2. Talk with your Child(ren). They may have a valid reason for acting out on the bus to get them suspended. Maybe the bus driver is being unsafe, or they are feeling bullied on the bus by another student. It happens quite often. Find out why they are choosing to act out and misbehave without making it feel like they are going to suffer a consequence if they tell you why.

3. Take it to the School. Talk to the principal about your financial/transportation situation and request that an alternative to kicking the student off the bus be put in place. It may not totally stop the behavior but the school can certainly work with you in however you need. *** If the school poses a difficulty, don’t hesitate to take it to the Board of Education in your state***

4. Make them Walk. Sometimes walking can be an effective way of getting the point across that they should not misbehave and get kicked off their only means of transportation to school. Remove that vehicle/personal chauffer option. Obviously safety is paramount, so order some orange reflective vests for your child(ren) to wear while they walk to and from school. I’m sure they’re available in the Sportsman/Hunting section at your local Wal-Mart. *** See Below***

5. Ramp up the Embarrassment. Should the child continue to misbehave even with the “Walking” consequence, increase the embarrassment. Instead of making them walk from home complete with books and bag and whatever else they need, drop them off a half-mile to a mile from school, increasing mileage until they get the point. The embarrassment of their friends seeing the bright orange vest, especially so close to school, may be enough to stop the misbehavior.

6. Wearing the Orange Vest at School. You would need to take a day off of work to accomplish this, but this goes right along with the embarrassment level. Request to attend a day of classes with your child(ren) and make them wear the Orange Vest. Should other kids inquire about it, insist your child explain the reason for wearing the Orange Vest. “I got kicked off the school bus so now I have to walk to school and my mom makes me wear this vest for safety.”

***A few side notes to number 4. Walking IS a wonderful tool. If you live a million miles to school that walking ALL the way to school would be impractical, then make them walk a mile, maybe 2, then pick them up and take them the rest of the way. Follow along in the car and let them know that future violations will result in an increase in the mileage. If there is an unsafe street, obviously do not let them walk on the street. But I would bet the sheer shock value of “You’re going to make me WALK to SCHOOL!?!?!” is enough to get any teenager or young “adult” to shape up and stop misbehaving.

I hope these suggestions will help your situation. Please feel free to comment again and I can address your situation further. Thanks for writing.

Sincerely Yours,

The Bus Driver