I am a substitute school bus driver and until this year, I only drove a few times per month.
This year, following the retirement of one of the drivers and the inability of the school to find a new driver, I temporarily became the regular bus driver.
Well, they found someone. She is now fully qualified, certified and licensed. While we have detailed route maps that are enough for a driver to “get on the bus and drive the route”, it is much less stressful to have the driver ride along a time or two. This is especially true for the part of the route that is completed before the sun comes up.
The new driver rode with me today and I told her all the landmarks on the route….”See that speed limit sign? The kids will be right by that sign.” or “When you turn this corner, start counting street light poles. The stop is under the 3rd street light.”
She said she is ready to go and will drive the route tomorrow.
I can tell she will be good. Driving the bus is the easy part. All one needs to worry about is where all the pieces of the bus are in relation to everything on, near and over the roadway. The hard part is finding that fine balance between easy going and strict when working with the kids…note that I said “working” and not “dealing”. The words “dealing with”, to me, sounds like it is an adversarial relationship and nothing is farther from the truth, which is why I prefer the words “working with”. Anyway, I have found my fine balance and it’s obvious this lady (mother to four boys) knows her fine balance.
The kids already know she is going to become the regular driver, so tomorrow I will be the one riding and that will give me a chance to say good by. I will miss them. The new driver has already said I can drive when ever I want. I’ve already asked if I could drive drive once or twice a month–just so I can say “hi”.
Even though I no longer need to get up a 4:30am, I will continue to do so. Only now, I’ll go directly to my telephone company job and get there at 6:30am instead of 9am. I’ll then be able to leave early and hopefully avoid both the morning and evening rush hour drive times.