Once again, spring is here. The sun is shining; the kids are rowdy. The birds are singing; the kids are rowdy. The weather is warmer; the kids are rowdy. Are you starting to get the picture?
What is it about spring that gets the students all worked up? Some call it spring fever, others call it Excedrin time. Whatever it is, we all can recognize it when it happens.
The environment on the bus seems to change. The kids are more energetic than any other time of year. They are ready for some time off to release some of their overflowing energy. The driver is also ready for some time off. The time right before and up to spring break can really test a driver. They are at that time of year when their patience is wearing a little thin.
It is also at this time, however, that the drivers really need to pick their battles carefully. We need to understand that we might get upset more easily than normal and that something small might trigger us to react in a way that we normally would not. We need to do our best to stay calm and in control when dealing with student management issues. It is very important that we keep our cool during this stressful time.
If we find ourselves getting upset and getting after the students more than usual, the first ones to suffer are our students. If we want respect from them, we need to be as consistent as possible when dealing with student discipline on the bus. We really need to be flexible and understanding yet still address any behavior issues that may arise. We want to be respectful and treat our students the same way we want to be treated.
If we as drivers overreact, it will only damage the relationship we have with our students, and we don’t want to jeopardize what has taken all year to accomplish. I have always believed that mutual respect is the key to a safe bus ride to and from school. The work we have put into a route has taken a long time, but it’s worth it to have a peaceful bus. We don’t want to hurt our relationship we have with our kids, so we as drivers need to really be careful when dealing with student management issues.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff’ can be a good motto to use, especially during spring fever. So remember to keep your cool and things will go a lot smoother for both you and your students.
Darrel Christie is the assistant manager and student management coordinator at Bus Brown Company in Nampa, Idaho.