The View from the Porch Swing

Sit a spell, kick your shoes off...we'll chat about life and love and God and all the things that matter most.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Getting back in the swing...

and I don't mean the porch swing. With only 4 days left until school starts, I'm trying to get back on the schedule of early to rise and early to bed. Made it to bed by 11:00 last night and was up at 7:30 this morning. Not bad, it's the best I've done in weeks, but I've got to do better. Starting Monday, I'll be getting up at 4:30 with Tim so I can be at work by 6:15.

Orientation for work was this week. I'm one of the lucky ones. I still have both my elementary and high school bus runs. There are just a few new kids and stops to add. Many of the runs changed a lot this year or drivers had to swap one of them with another driver because of the shrinking student body in the district. For the school to get all of its government reimbursement money all of the runs have to have roughly the same amount of kids. Even though it may mean some runs are incredibly short and others very long the government wants the same amount of kids (roughly) on each bus. That might work now at the beginning of the year, but hello.....during the school year kids transfer on and off the buses like crazy. The counts change from week to week sometimes.

The other big change this year is security/privacy. Each year we're given a thick packet of papers that include a list of bus stops and times, the students who get on at the stops, all the personal info for each student (including medical/emotional info if it could affect the bus ride), discipline slips, boarding passes, and this year with the advent of all-day kindergarden it also includes list of people approved to pick up the kindergarden child. In the past, route sheets and student lists were kept out handy where we could get at them. This year they gave us a manilla envelope and told us everything of a personal nature must be kept inside and out of sight. Maybe it's just me, but I'd think it would be more effective camouflage if it didn't have a great big sticker on the front that says "Confidential Material Enclosed." If some pervert or parent (that happened last year) is out to abduct a child and is rifling through the papers on the bus, don't you think they might suspect what they're looking for is there? Anywhooo...that's our great security change. That and no more reading a student's phone number over the radio to the office when there is no one waiting for the child. The office will now have all that information on its end so no pervert can pick it up on a scanner. Never mind that it will make life much easier for the drivers, who used to have to pull their bus over and dig through papers to find the kid's number and read it to the office.

Grumping about changes aside, I'm ready to go back. Driving a school bus is a great part-time job. It gives me time home during the day and I'm here for my kids in the evening, on the weekends, holidays and vacations. Short of going back to school and getting a teaching degree, what else will give me that? Oh, ok, I forgot about lunch lady, but I've tried that. It is so not for me. I also like all the contact with the kids. Believe it or not, driving a school bus can be a great ministry. I'm with those kids every day, year after year. I have more chances to have some influence on them than anyone else in the school system. Don't let anyone kid you, that all a bus driver does is drive. That may be true in some places but in our district we are a major part of the program and have a lot of responsibility and freedom when it comes to handling problems. We have to be a disiplinarian, a teacher, a psychologist, an arbitrator, a friend, a detective, tough as nails, tender and understanding, part entertainer.....and we have to do it all while driving down the road in a 40ft. school bus with 50 or more kids behind our backs (and people wonder how a driver can not know when something awful is happening in the back)!

So, Monday morning say a prayer for everyone going back to school, including the bus drivers.


At August 26, 2004 at 10:07 AM, Blogger Beth said...

I will definetly say a prayer for you on Monday morning. Thanks for the reminder about the bus drivers!! My kids live too close to take the bus, but if they did, I would pray for a driver like you!!

At August 26, 2004 at 1:21 PM, Blogger osray said...

Hey Stacy, I Love your blog. Being a school bus driver is a very important thing. Parents all over America and the World for that matter, trust you bus drivers with their most prize possessions. Take care

At August 26, 2004 at 7:22 PM, Blogger bobcom said...

Yours is an important ministry!!! I wish there were more bus drivers like you in the world. Go Stacy!!!!

At August 26, 2004 at 9:36 PM, Blogger Jackie said...

A admire the job you do; what an awesome responsibility you have.
You have to get up at 4:30!? You poor thing. Now 5:30 doesn't look so bad ;o)


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