Friday, December 16, 2011

Things your Bus Driver wants you to know, but won't tell you.

Every so often I see magazines boasting, "12 things your doctor won't tell you" or " 100 million reasons your mother inlaws brothers wifes cousins fiancee doesn't like you". I thought I would put together a list of things that your Bus Driver wants you to know, but won't tell you.

1. When we tell you your child's pick up time is between 6:15 and 6:30 am, we usually mean that we will get there around 6:40. We tell you the earlier time so that you will actually have your child to the designated stop around the time we ACTUALLY get there. The same goes for afternoon drop off.

2. If you are the parent of an elementary age child, we cannot leave them alone at the stop unless you give us written permission. We also need you to be at the stop or at your door within eyesight of the bus driver.

3. We are NOT babysitters. Being late consistently to the afternoon bus stop will result in your child being dropped off at the sheriff or police station after we have dropped off all other children. If you do this once, we understand and try to work with you, but as a general rule, we do not wait for you to decide when the stop is. Be there when your child gets home.

4. UPDATE YOUR CONTACT NUMBERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough. There is nothing worse than a crying child on my bus when I cannot get ahold of you because your FIFTH phone number provided for the child on my emergency contact card does not work because it is "disconnected". Not only that, your child's school often does not have updated numbers because if you changed numbers you likely didn't update either. Please make our lives easier by at least keeping one working number. Tracphone is cheap!!!!!!!

5. If we send a note home, please speak with your child about the behavior listed on the note. We don't write these notes for our own health, but for our sanity, please teach your child the proper behavior on the bus. Often, a note is a last resort and we will generally ask to contact you to discuss your child's behavior on the bus. Please note that we DO try to work with you as much as possible to prevent your child from losing his riding privilege, but if you continually ignore our notes, refuse to speak with us, or decidedly tell us that your child is NOT the problem, I guarantee THAT will be the last time I try to contact you about the behavior. I'll simply write your child up and let the school deal with them.

6. We did not suspend your child off the bus, the principal made that decision. Take it up with your child's school and do not threaten me. If you had worked with me in the first place to correct your child's behavior, you wouldn't be as ticked off.

7. If your child acts out, MY attention is on your child and NOT on the road. That puts the whole bus in danger each time I have to turn my attention to your child for crawling under the seat for the 50th time.

8. If we contact you by telephone at any time other than between the hours of 6 am and 8 am, and 2 pm and 4:30 pm. We DO NOT get paid. Please respect our personal time and our families by being considerate and answering your phone when we do call. When we can't reach you (see number 4) and you call my boss complaining that I never called you, that does NOT gain bonus points with me.

9. Say thank you once in a while. We get yelled at, told we are stupid, and have our stop signs and other lights ignored by people who are just in a rush to get from point A to point B. Sometimes a simple thank you is much appreciated and will go a long way when and if your child acts out on my bus because you have opened that communication line with me.

10. We do have the right to assign seats. Calling me to ask why your child has an assigned seat will not get you an answer, nor will it get your child to change seats. Your child is not the only one with an assigned seat and has probably been assigned a seat for a good reason. Also, asking for your child to switch seats on a bus that is already crowded three to a seat is usually not possible, nor is demanding your child only sit with such and so only in their seat. If the bus is crowded, we do what we can to provide space, but sometimes, its just not possible. Your child needs to deal with it, or stop riding my bus.

To Be Continued......

Be Nice or Leave,

The Bus Driver

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Importance of an Address

On Friday, I took a very long field trip and did not return home until about 2 am. Normally, field trips run very smoothly and have very little if no hiccups. Occasionally we won't know the area, but on those occasions, a coach can give us either an address or very detailed directions. I have a personal GPS, so an address is very handy to have since all I have to do is plug it in, and hit "go".

This concept, however, was lost on the two coaches that I drove on Friday. I show up on time for the field trip and before we set out, I ask them for an address or directions and get told, "Oh we've been there before, I know where I'm going!" I'm thinking, "THIS is going to end well!"

We get to our midway point and about 10 miles prior to getting there, I inquire as to where the coaches would like to eat. One coach asks me, "There's a Subway there isn't there?" I check my GPS and confirm there is a Subway nearby, and then we have the following exchange:

Coach 1 (confidently) - The Subway is over by the Mc Donalds in that truck stop.

Me - I don't think so... the restaurant is on the other side of Burger King.

Coach 1 - No, I'm right, its by Mickey D's.

Me - I think it goes Mc D's, Truck Stop, BK, and then Subway.... all on the same side of the road.

Coach 1 - No, I'm right....

When we get there, guess who was right? Yep, me.

At the end of the stop, I again asked to see the directions. So, Coach 2 has his wife pull the papers out of the TRASH bag. So, directions in hand, we set out again. I finally get the name of the road we are supposed to be on and plug it into my GPS. I figure, if we get turned around, at least I can get us to the road and then we can search for the destination from there.

We finally exit off the highway and I ask which way to go, left or right. Noone seems to know, so I play it by ear, look at the map in my GPS and get us to the road in question. The coaches are freaking out because they think we are on the wrong road when in actuality, the road itself is the same, the name just changes through an intersection. They didn't seem to understand that and insisted I was wrong and had them on the wrong road. Remember, THEY had been there before and obviously, I was wrong. Their directions read, "As soon as you pass a fire station on the right, the destination will be the next road to the right." Sure enough, I pass a fire station and I point out the destination, and they deny it is because after all noone knows if this road is the correct road, even though my GPS says it is. So, we drive around to Timbuktu and finally end up right where we started where they made me go the wrong way.

I ended up turning around, getting back on the SAME road that I told them was the right road, and to the same place I told them was the destination. Of course I had to listen to the coaches gripe about ME making THEM late and how its all MY fault that I didn't know the destination. Right.

"Turn Right Ahead"

The Bus Driver