Becoming Highly Effective in K-12 School Bus Management
Effective school bus management is a problem for many inexperienced bus drivers who just want to pick- up students and return them safely home at the end of the day. However, in the world of education, individuals dealing with students must do more than their fair share. Such individuals must be prepared to apply disciplinary measures, including bus drivers.
What you will need to take effective control of your school bus is a thorough knowledge of the district’s disciplinary measures and the courage to execute them whenever such challenging occasions arise.
Besides the tendency to talk loudly on the school bus, most students are likely to engage in a wide range of misbehavior, including:
- Standing Up
- Hanging out of the Window
- Jumping in the seats
- Body not under control
- Yelling/Loud Voices
- Throwing Pencils and Erasers
- Name Calling/Put Downs
Whatever the negative behavior patterns maybe, a bus driver must take responsibility for establishing and maintaining control on the school bus. Students must journey safely to and from school, day after day, week after week.
If a bus driver fails to get negative student behavior under control, the lives of all students, including the bus driver is in jeopardy. A sudden distraction, such as looking back or in the review mirror at the wrong time can cause a crash, with critical injuries or worse.
Therefore, a school bus driver must be willing to take authority over his or her bus immediately without reservation.
Make Your Expectations Known
The first thing you should do is the make yourself known. Introduce yourself, your expectations and the consequences of abiding by school bus rules and regulations. Students must understand that in order to remain qualified to ride the school bus, they must obey all rules.
The time it will take to get the respect of all students on your school bus route depends on the students and the soundness of backing up your expectations. If students feel any weakness in your disciplinary approach, they will take full advantages of it. In due time, they will make you question yourself for having chosen to become a bus driver.
Some students will be well disciplined from the start. You will hardly have any trouble from this group except for occasional redirection. However, many bus drivers are not so lucky. They have a rowdy bunch of mavericks.
Take Authority the First Day
On the first day of pick up, you will have an opportunity to get to know each student and whether he or she is going to be a major challenge. Intentional disruptive students will not give you a chance to set your expectations. From the start, they will present a challenge. You must confront such students right away. Establish your authority on the spot.
Refuse to get in a power struggle. But be firm in your command. Usually on the first day, a student will submit to your redirection due to unfamiliarity with your character. Students become highly disrespectful when they become familiar with weak character.
Nevertheless, be professional in your approach in dealing with challenging students. If you have to stop the bus or pull over to the side to address disruptive behavior, don’t hesitate to do so. The lives of the students and their safety is your utmost responsibility.
Tips to Make your Life as a School Bus Driver Less Stressful
Open communication channels with parents
Developing a good relationship with a student’s parents can be solution to most of your discipline problems with the child. When children know that you and their parents are on the same page, you become empowered, aligned with a powerful ally. A child will most likely give your more respect because of this valuable relational connection.
Be a role model to all your Students
Do as much as possible to set a good example for your students. Practice good character. Avoid using swear words or violent language on the bus. Greet students with love and respect when they board the bus and when they leave the bus. Tell them that you are looking forward to seeing them soon.
When students know that you genuinely care about them, they will most likely find themselves appreciating how you feel about them.
COVID-19 Considerations for School Bus Drives
As school bus driver, you must be prepared for the new normal. Things will be different. The practice of social distancing, mask wearing, and using hand sanitizer are likely to be a requirement for not only classrooms but for school bus riders as well. As a responsible bus driver, you must enforce these rules on your bus as effectively as possible. Follow your districts guidelines for such policies and be ready to implement them immediately.
Effective school bus management is like that of the classroom. The goal is to establish a sense of peace, safety and order. Appreciate your students to the utmost.