Friday, May 28, 2010

The Impact on a Child's Life

In my previous entry, I wrote about the prank I played on some unsuspecting 7th grade band members. I had the same group two days later and had about five of them ask, "Where's the frog?" It got me thinking about the influence each of us has on children. Sometimes, if I'm facing a particular behavior problem, I have to take a step back and be the bigger person in the situation.

It may be that the child's life may NOT be the best thing ever. They may have to go home and be responsible for their little siblings - at 6-9 years old! Mom or dad may not be existent in the home. They may be in jail, selling drugs, or any other number of things. I drove a certain bus once and jokingly told the kids they'd better be good or I'd call their mommas and daddies. The overwhelming response I got from the kids was, "My (parent of choice) is in jail/prison - They're getting out in XX months/years." It completely threw me off guard and made me realize that some of these kids have a hard life.

Many of our children go home hungry and don't eat anything until the next day at school. Many communities are implementing summer lunch programs because these children would go hungry if there was nothing available. Many children bring their younger siblings and make sure that they get enough to eat before they eat.

Their school life might not be the best thing either. Their teacher might be awful. Their teacher might yell, scream, keep them in for recess, send them to the principal's office. They might face numerous discipline consequences through the school. Sure their behavior sometimes warrants these consequences, but to add a bus conduct offense on top of it probably gets discouraging.

Most behavior problems I can manage on the bus without school intervention. Often these kids are just starved for attention. I've had several kids come up to me to give me a hug and receive one in return even if I'm not driving their bus that day. They're quick to show me their accomplishments. I praise them and they soak it up. I high five the kids or fist bump the teens. I sing silly songs with the pre-k kids and also some of the older ones who are embarrassed at first, but then get into the fun. Sometimes I pull tricks out of my proverbial hat with items on hand.

I was faced with the scary prospect of entertaining/controlling 8 pre-k kids on one bus one afternoon. Our pre-k is located across town and while all the buses transport their kids there in the morning, in the afternoon those same kids board 1 of 2 buses, marked with a red or green dot and go to their respective elementary schools to meet their buses. They label the kids with white name/bus number labels and a red or green dot sticker on the label. I peeled off the sticker on one of the tags and stuck it on my nose and waited for the kids to notice. They howled in laughter when they saw I was being silly, then they all begged me to have a "nose" like mine. Ever since then, whenever I'm on that bus, they want a "nose".

If its one thing I keep in mind it is that we all have an impact on the lives of children no matter how old they are. So, for that 10-45 minutes they are on MY bus, if I can bring just a little happiness to their lives, then I've done my job.

Spreading happiness everywhere!

The Bus Driver

Monday, May 24, 2010

Random Ramblings and a Drunk Guy on a Bike

We are barreling towards the end of the school year. With our last day being June 4, the schools have all decided to have endless field trips. Most are rewards for good behavior - bowling, the movie theater, skating, "fun zone" - but a good portion of them are 5th grade field trips or middle school band trips. The 5th grade field trips are basically taking those kids who will be moving up to 6th (and entering middle school) to their respective new middle schools for tours and a mini orientation of what to expect when they get there next year. The band trips are for the middle school band to recruit new kids from the 5th grade who might actually want to do band all through MS and into HS.

These trips are rather boring and uneventful. But there have been a few highlights. First I took kids bowling for the 6th or 8th or 100th time this year, and when I walk into Denny's (attached to the bowling alley) the staff at Denny's greets me with "Who did ya bring this time?" - That's a good thing right????? Secondly, on my mini band trip today, I found a plastic realistic looking frog on the dashboard of the bus I borrowed. I placed the frog on the white part of the steps facing me so the kids would see it as they stepped up onto the bus. I managed to prank every kid that got on the bus! Lastly, I've gone to the beach several times over the last three weeks and had a couple teachers compliment me on how well I maneuver the bus through the trees in some tight parking areas close to the beach.

In other news, there is no shortage of entertainment. From a girl who shot me the middle finger while I was driving a route and was blocking the street she wanted to drive down to "Cousin It" emo kid who has his hair cut in such a way that he can't see two feet in front of him. You know the type of kids I'm talking about. Additionally, to add insult to injury, the kid insists on wearing a hat, thereby sealing in his blindness to how stupid he looks.

By far the best entertainment I've had all year actually happened to a friend of mine who also drives a bus. Just recently, she was driving down the road on the way to complete her route when a man on a bicycle was pedaling towards her in her lane. She slowed the bus to a stop, and watched this guy. Apparently he had a broken leg, and his crutches were propped up on the bicycle. He was also drunk as heck. He wobbled down the road towards my friend and went to go avoid the bus, but his crutches must have hit part of the bus because all of a sudden he loses control and takes a tumble into a ditch. She was worried about him because he didn't move for a while, so she thought he was really injured (apparently it was quite a tumble). Anyhow, he finally moves, stands up, salutes the bus, and topples back over again into the ditch. By now, the kids and her are HOWLING with laughter. I only wish I had been riding on her bus that afternoon. The police came and ended up arresting him for intoxication, but not before he gave the bus a good show.

7 and a half more days left!!!

The Bus Driver

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Color for the Cure!

One of the hair salons local to me held a fundraiser today. They teamed up with Relay for Life (the official American Cancer Society fundraiser) and told folks that if they paid 20 dollars, they could get a streak of either purple or pink in their hair for cancer awareness. (Purple is the Relay for Life color and pink signifies breast cancer awareness.) The proceeds from the hair coloring went directly to Relay for Life.

I now have a pink streak in my hair :)

I encourage anyone who believes in the cause to suggest this to their local hair salons and see if they will also sponsor Relay for Life.

Hoping for a Cure!

The Bus Driver