The 09-’10 (I can’t believe I’m typing that) has started out on a sour note. After the ‘ease’ of summer school, I should have known the “storm was coming!” Some of the challenges I’ve faced since the first day of school are:

*Arriving to work on time, and encountering a long line (almost to the door) just to sign in and receive my trip sheet.

*Receiving a trip sheet only to see that another child has been added (who lives outside of the district) and read that I was supposed to leave 30 minutes ago.

*Asking for a bus (I’m still without one while others have their own) and having to wait around to get one (which makes me later). Also, having to deal with co-workers who steal buses (without reprimand!)

*Finally getting a bus and because they added a new child that lives out of the way of the others (in MD) it takes me an additional hour to get to my ‘regulars.’

*Getting to the ‘regulars’ homes late and my attendant telling me the parents are wondering why we are late (and why we have a different bus everyday?) Also, arriving to the school late since day one.

*Getting cursed out, and disrespected since day one by those who are on this route (there are 8 kids.) I had to actually return a child to his parent  (he hasn’t rode the bus since) because he didn’t want to put on his seat belt and sit by the window. Cursed out myself and my attendant because they are so used to doing what they want, when the rules are laid down, they don’t want to abide by them. It shocks me how some kids can’t even obey the basic bus rules. SMH…There was actually a fight today…thank God I had two attendants. I’m at my wits end with these kids and if God shows His mercy, I want to be off this one.  One good thing about this route is that the kids are not that far from each other and it’s easier to drive (most of the time.)

*Only God’s grace keeps me here. They are so dysfunctional it’s not funny at all. I’m hoping it’s get better, but changes need to happen. I know that budget cuts are causing challenges (we didn’t get any new buses this year) as well as other factors (mismanagement, incompetence) that are being bought to light. Also, an influx of new kids to the system is causing those who do the routing to put the kids anywhere and having a huge amount of kids per route. It’s a problem for me because I have alot of disobedient kids who are bound to react to petty things and cause all sorts of unnecessary drama on the bus. Unfortunately threatening them with a write up doesn’t put fear in their heart. One child even boasted about having been written up 16 times last year. (16 times???) This should not be. This system is broken!

I hope that it will improve in the coming days. There is a large task at hand, but it can be done. The only thing I can do is pray and show up. (which has been very hard lately.)

Meh… to year twelve.

I think this has got to be one of the best summers I’ve worked. Unfortunately, many of the attendants (that I mentioned in a previous blog) were furloughed, but some were called back. I think many of them made plans to take a vacation since they were not working. But, I talked to a few of them and they were extremely grateful to be able to work, because they had bills to pay! I still think there was a shortage, because many of the drivers were taking the attendants job this summer. There is always a reduced amount of routes in the summer, because many of the kids don’t attend summer school.

I only had two kids this summer. I was able to bid on my route and to get it for the summer. All of the children from the last school year was not on the list. For some reason, I thought they all would go. But, as I found out later, the school only approves a certain amount of children for attendance in the summer. Because they are a private school, they have their own policy unlike DCPS who allows any child whose parents want them to attend.

Summer school for DCPS started on June 29 and ended July 24. My school started on July 1 and just ended on July 31.

On the first day, I found out that one of my students was going on vacation the next day for two weeks. I found out another child on the roster (who was new) was not approved for summer school so he only rode the bus one day. I had one child in the PM (who rode another bus in the AM, but was on my bus in the previous school year) and he was pretty consistent.

He was out one week at the same time as the other child, so I didn’t have any kids to pick up for a week. It was kinda frustrating for me, because I still had to do some unneeded driving.

I was blessed to have an attendant who I met a few years ago. He remembered me and asked me did I have an attendant. I didn’t because my previous attendant was furloughed. They called her back to work, but she was on her way to visit her mother (which was long overdue!) So, he was able to hang with me for the summer and it was good! He did his job and is a friendly guy. He will be going back to his former lot (he was just on my lot for the summer).  I was also glad to have a newer bus with good air! Hopefully, I’ll be blessed with a good bus for the upcoming school year!

Our schedule was kinda unpredictable. Our supervisors liked to play games with us for some reason. One day they would let us go home early and somedays we had to wait out our time. I did appreciate those days when we were able to leave, though.

Now, it’s August and I think all of the schools are closed until the end of the month. So, normally we clean (which can be challenging), and gas up the buses. Sometimes we take buses through inspection and hopefully those buses that fail will be properly fixed.

I’m glad that summer school is through and I’m looking forward to what the 2009-2010 (wow I can’t believe it’ll be  2010!) will bring!

Yesterday, I received a letter from the school to let me know that the school decided to stay open two extra days. But, they are half-days! So, that’s cool!

I believe DCPS Transportation needs more competent, enthusiastic workers and that’s all I will say about that!

It’s finally here! I can’t believe how fast it came! My school’s official last day is June 12th! When I first started this school year I had another school, but as God’s providence would have it, I end the year with another one!

This year was a challenging one and I’m so glad it will be over soon.

Now the summer awaits me. I will be working for summer school, but unfortunately my attendant will not be with me! ::cries::

The economic crisis has hit our section (transportation) and they furloughed my attendant along with other because,  we supposedly, went over our budget. The “furloughed” employees are supposed to be getting unemployment as well as a job offer for the next school year. Hopefully they will get their jobs back because they are needed.

A new group of people (appointed by Mayor Fenty) are scheduled to take over next school year, so I anticipate many changes coming. But, for now, I will focus on summer school because I have to bid for a route. I’m not sure if I can get the same school with the same kids, but I will try. I hope that I get an attendant that does his/her best to come to work everyday, and treats me and the kids with respect. Also, I want this person to not be afraid to discipline the kids, not playing with them.

Four more days and counting!

http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/993/where-the-worst-drivers-live/;_ylc=X3oDMTE5ZmdmcGVkBF9TAzI3MTYxNDkEc2VjA2ZwLXRvZGF5BHNsawN3b3JzdC1kcml2ZXJz

State Rankings
Note: Many states tied for the same position in the rankings.

1 IDAHO
1 WISCONSIN
3 MONTANA
4 KANSAS
5 SOUTH DAKOTA
5 NEBRASKA
7 UTAH
8 WYOMING
8 IOWA
8 OREGON
8 MINNESOTA
12 ALASKA
12 NORTH DAKOTA
14 VERMONT
15 COLORADO
15 MISSOURI
17 OKLAHOMA
17 WASHINGTON
19 NEW MEXICO
20 NORTH CAROLINA
21 VIRGINIA
22 INDIANA
22 MICHIGAN
24 ARKANSAS
24 TEXAS
26 ALABAMA

26 NEVADA
28 WEST VIRGINIA
29 ILLINOIS
30 ARIZONA
31 MAINE
32 DELAWARE
33 NEW HAMPSHIRE
34 OHIO
35 KENTUCKY
36 PENNSYLVANIA
37 LOUISIANA
38 TENNESSEE
38 MISSISSIPPI
40 SOUTH CAROLINA
40 MARYLAND
42 CONNECTICUT
43 FLORIDA
44 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
45 MASSACHUSETTS
46 RHODE ISLAND
47 GEORGIA
48 CALIFORNIA
49 HAWAII
50 NEW JERSEY
51 NEW YORK

I have to deal with these drivers (in bold) everyday! I see why there are ranking at the bottom!

BTW….take the test. Will you pass?

nationaldriverstest.com

I now have ten children on my bus and since there are about two months left of the school year, I hope there are no more! We have run out of seats (most of the seats are so small, I don’t too of them could comfortably sit on them.

Unfortunately, one of my kids (who just rides in the morning) got caught shoplifting (info from one of the kids in his class), but because the teacher told me that he is not to be picked up for school until further notice, I guess that was accurate. Yikes!

In the recent weeks, I’ve had communication issues with parents. One parent told her child and the child’s aunt that he was not riding the bus the next day, but instead she wants to change her mind (after I don’t go by there) and call in to tell ask us why he wasn’t picked up. I was not very happy when my dispatcher called me to tell me to turn around and go pick him up because I didn’t have any “paper work” which noted he wasn’t going that day.

Most of the time, some parents tell me not to come and I don’t come. I haven’t had any problems until this lady. And when I inquired to my dispatcher about telling the parent to come to the bus so I could talk to her, the dispatcher said “It’s not a requirement for the parent to come to the bus because were a ‘door to door’ service.” Huh? Not a requirement? In my opinion, that is not a good policy.

I ended up not going back, because it would’ve taken too long to get him to school, since I was almost at the school, (which is 30 minutes away from his address)  they let out early that day, and the parent decided that it wasn’t worth it. SMH!

What parent would not want to see their child’s driver or attendant? If I had a child who rode the school bus, I would at least want to meet them once! Myself or my attendant have never seen this particular child’s mother! But, If I have an issue that I’d like to speak to a parent with (like the child’s behavior) why can’t I speak to her? Well, my dispatcher told me that I should just “write him up,” and it would be taken care of.  But, if I want something adressed immediately, what is paperwork going to do? Those people who handle “write-ups” have a whole lot them to go through and they have to determine what is urgent or not. Then, they (who are far removed from the incident) has to relay by a phone call, that their child is doing whatever on the bus. That’s just crazy to me!

I can understand if the parent works and they say “so and so is going to pick up (or be home) for the child because I work.” It’s frustrating. I find that if I have a parent who is willing to correct an issue that takes place on the bus, their children have better overall behavior. But if the parents are slacking with discipline, it also shows.

More parental accountability is needed!

It’s been a while since I last posted and there have been four new students added to my route. I have nine students that ride in the morning and seven ride the bus home.

It’s been a challenge dealing with the new personalities, with one of the little fellows a little hyper. One of the other new fellows seems like he wants to play around and my attendant had to correct them often.

The “NKOTB” that I posted about the last time has shown his true colors. It took him about two weeks for him to be accustomed to the others on the bus, and a few incidents to occur at the school, for him to show how much he has a nasty attitude and uses curse words. The bad thing about is, that he has a speech impediment and he cannot properly pronounce them! SMH!! Of course, his mother is notified everytime he does something.

It seems to me that some of these children lack self-control. If someone offends them, they automatically cop an attitude and when myself or my attendant try to mediate, all they do is mouth off. I’m sure there parents have to deal with that. Oh by the way, I finally have a girl!

I’ve been dealing with a bus that has a serious diesel fume issue. I know it’s having an effect on me. They seem to have nothing for me to drive that’s a decent replacement and it’s difficult every morning to have to walk around a huge lot to find a bus. I only have 30 minutes before I’m scheduled to leave to pick up my kids in the morning and most of that time can be taken up going through the process of looking for a bus. Sometimes I can’t even eat a little something before I start my day!

I’ve been also dealing with knee, shin, ankle, and foot pain from using the brake and gas petal on this bus. It’s taken it’s toll. I try all I can to stretch and to reposition myself so it won’t be so much of a strain. But, it still hurts. It doesn’t help that the bus is slow, so trying to merge into lanes where cars are going over 15 or 20 mph than you, causes me to press the gas pedal even more. I hope to get a new bus next year!!! (This bus has over 100k, BTW.)

Lastly, there is a “rumor” going around that because of budget cuts, the city is thinking about eliminating the 500 bus attendant positions. I don’t think they are, but if they do, I think that things will be a mess. Some of these children already have no respect for the attendants who are there (still fighting, disrespectful, etc.) They don’t fear anyone, even the police. To not have any help, will result in many foul incidents happening (and believe me, I’ve heard a lot of bad stuff happening on the buses between kids) and they’ll be a whole lot of incidents like the last post (where the driver was attacked by a student.) I know I cannot handle these kids by myself and since they are special education, that is another issue to deal with.

It’s got to be a law somewhere that says that there must be an aide (or attendant) on a special needs bus at all times. If anyone reading this can let me know, I’d appreciate it.

God Bless.