Thursday, June 24, 2010
The Value of Pupil Transportation
As I delivered students to their homes for the final time this school year I reflected on the impact that bus driving has had on me. Teaching in a small rural school with a total enrollment hovering around 450 students, I have an opportunity to do much more than teach in a classroom. One of those opportunities is having a full time morning and afternoon bus run which travels 37 miles on a daily basis picking up and dropping off 63 students between Pre-k ages and Seniors. This has been a daily routine for me for the past five years. The more I thought about this bus driving occupation, the more Valuable I believe pupil transportation is to me as a teacher. Granted, I am speaking from the drivers seat,
and the view from here is much different than from behind a desk or at the front of the class, but I quickly came to two key conclusions focused around this job.
First, there is a tremendous Value in getting to know more than just the students you teach. I know this is not possible in larger districts, but listen to how impacting it can be in a small one. I have been privileged with my position to be able to develop a rapport with students years before they sit in my classroom. This has had a tremendous influence on classroom management. Students come into the classroom having a full knowledge of expectations. I also have an understanding of the personality and behavior of some students and do not have to worry about putting forth as much effort in getting to know them. Names are already known, interactions have already taken place, and relationships already developed which all provide for a better learning environment. This is a Valuable aspect of my job
Second, there is a great Value of getting to know the district in which your students live. In a rural district, or a district where teachers do not live in the community in which they teach, I feel there is a huge disconnect between teacher and pupil. When you see the challenges some of your students face everyday due to the home environment they are from, you can’t help but be emotionally moved to be a little more patient, a little more understanding, and a little more supportive in some situations. The Value here is immeasurable. You are better prepared to identify ways to connect to prior knowledge, you can recognize what vocabulary will be the most beneficial, and you can determine which strategies will probably be the most effective. All of these becoming Valuable resources to an educator.