School Bus Behaviour
Transporting children on school buses can be a real problem for bus companies, schools and parents. Obviously their safety is paramount, but kids being kids problems are never far behind.
The problem with most kids and the transportation of kids is that they are continually wanting to interact with one another. Have an in depth chat with their friends about the best flavour of ice cream is far more important than sitting down quietly with their seat belts on.
Much of the misbehaviour on buses is out of natural curiosity plus the almost perpetual need for attention.
On most school buses the bus driver is busy driving, so this leaves the students with the opportunity to do what comes naturally. The students normally get blamed for their behaviour but perhaps this should be looked at a different angle.
Is it the responsibility of the parents and school to teach them bus etiquette or should we just expect the kids to intuitively know how to behave?
- The driver can at any time pull over and voice his concern to the students about the safety on board the bus. And threaten to stay off the road until all students are seated and behaving respectfully.
- When students come to their teachers with a complaint about the bus it should be taken seriously. Bring the issue up in a class forum and discuss it with all. Invite the students to come up with their own solutions.
- Try to get the students to appreciate their driver, if there is one regular guy get them to write little notes of appreciation, perhaps even find out when his birthday is.
- Once you have established guidelines under the suggestions of the kids, be sure to follow up with discipline if the guidelines are disrespected. This should all be done with dignity so the student does not lose face in front of their peers. However, when you involve students in the problem-solving, discipline is seldom needed.
The best way to avoid future problems is by planning ahead,
- Always treat the students with respect, listen and invite them to participate in cementing the bus guidelines and help solve problems when they arise.
- Hold discussions on safety issues, let the kids come out with their problems and brainstorm answers.
- Invite the bus driver, get him to tell the students his problems and try to get the students to have some empathy. They probably have no idea of the schedule and pressures the driver is under.
Basically it is hard to control numerous children when they get together, especially when it is an out of school jaunt. Whenever possible, field trips should have staff members from the school in attendance, but the commute from home to school seldom does.
There are three ways to approach the problem of school behaviour:
Firstly involve the students, get them to buy into the situation and make their own suggestions.
Secondly, the parents and school have a responsibility to educate the students on why their good behaviour is important and the dangers of not behaving properly.
Thirdly, aid the driver and perhaps consider implementing a smart software system such as School Travel Manager. It can really help the driver, school, parents and most importantly the children.