As a school administrator, you no doubt deeply care for the students in your care—not only on an academic level but on an emotional level, too. You want to create an environment in which test scores soar, sure, but also one in which children can mature socially and emotionally into well-adjusted young adults. Of course, you know that such an environment can only be created by caring, gentle, and supportive staff, staff that has the resources to do their jobs, and ensures your students’ growth.
But have you ever thought about your school bus contractor’s staff into this mix?
Indeed, these staff members have a huge impact on your students’ days, from academic and, more pertinently, an emotional standpoint. Because they make sure your pupils get to both their extracurricular and curricular obligations safely and in the right mood to learn, your school bus services play an integral role in your school’s scholarly pursuits, but they also play a similarly important role in your students’ emotional wellbeing. In some cases, your student transportation staff services are the adults your students will spend the most time around on a day-to-day basis, sometimes even when parental figures are included in this equation. At the very least, many kids spend up to 40 minutes on the bus daily; that can be as much time as allotted for lunch periods and even some classes.
Simply because your students spend so much time around their bus drivers, their emotional influence mustn't be ignored or belittled. We all know that forty minutes with a pleasant coworker leaves us in a very different mood than does forty minutes with a less-than-pleasant one! This time should also be taken into consideration because children are also impressionable. Their minds are still developing, and they can learn acceptable codes of behavior from the adults around them. It thus isn’t just passing moods that your school’s group transportation services affect, but the very patterns of your students’ behavior—their habits, attitudes, and values.
The question then arises, though, as to how bus drivers should treat their students. While we’ve talked in general terms in the past about how professional school bus drivers should behave, in this post, we’d like to look at such behaviors through a different lens and zoom in how their interactions with students should look. Ensuring that these interactions are healthy, for reasons stated above, goes a long way to ensuring that your students’ emotional development is likewise healthy.
Understand How Responsible Bus Drivers Treat Their Charges
First and foremost, the responsible school bus services employee must understand that children are people, not just cargo. Youth is no basis for disrespect. Though children require structure, rules, and discipline, they also must be treated fairly and with dignity. Yelling drivers or those who are otherwise rageful have no place in school bus services. That’s why we at Northstar Bus Lines make it a point to only hire the most cheerful of employees and to pay those employees well so that they remain content in their work.
Additional ways that bus drivers should demonstrate respect towards their students include:
● Listening to the students’ sides of the story should any disruptive incidents occur | The ability to take disciplinary action is, of course, an important part of being a bus driver. However, such action should not be taken willy-nilly, and punishment should be reserved for the students who truly need it. A respectful bus driver will get a holistic view of any scuffle before taking disciplinary action, as they will understand the weight that such action carries.
● Acknowledging students’ concerns | If a student approaches a driver and asks to talk about bus-related concerns (provided it is safe and there is time to do so), the driver should, at the very least, hear them out. Your district’s drivers must value students as their number one priority and understand the value that their words carry. After all, it often takes great courage for a child to speak up to an adult. A student’s worry or problem should never be outright dismissed without, at the minimum, genuine and thorough consideration.
● Maintaining a safe bussing environment | This looks different for all districts, but the principle behind it is the same: all children deserve to ride the bus free from concerns about teasing or bullying. A bus driver’s duty is to maintain peace and guard each student’s personal dignity, and that dignity cannot be guaranteed without a lack of structure—without maintaining a safe bussing environment via appropriate rules and regulations.
Contact Northstar Bus Lines for Caring, Courteous Bussing Services
We’re as devoted as you are to the mental and emotional development of your students. To add a kind and respectful team of drivers to your school’s staff, give our Maple Grove terminal a call now at 763-425-2542. We look forward to becoming a part of your district!