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Metal melter
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sort of thinking about checking into becoming a bis driver. I'd like to hear from those of you who drive now and those who have driven in the past. Give me the good and bad, please.

Thanks!
 

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Pook's Hollow
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I did it for a year. My main reason for quitting was our driveway. It's quite long and has an uphill curve at the top end - and I had to back that bus in, no room to turn around. Come snow, I couldn't always get the bus in, and sometimes I couldn't get it out either! It was just too far to drive back and forth to the yard to get my bus twice a day, if I couldn't park at home.

The kids could be a challenge. I drove three different routes, and I always seemed to "inherit" the troublemakers from drivers who weren't very good at keeping control. Mostly I was able to get them to a reasonable level of behaviour - tolerate the little stuff, but come down hard on what you consider to be unacceptable, and they accept that. I had one route that was elementary and high school, drop off the elementary and pick up more high school kids from other buses - my one big rule was no swearing when the elementary students were on the bus. I had to write up one boy several times, and he actually got charged once. He was rough-housing with another boy - I told them four times to stop, pulled the bus over more than once, and then he comes out with "I'm going to f***** kill you!" :eek: I told the vice-principal that it was the F-word that I objected to, but they had him charged with uttering death threats. My boss suggested that they saw a way to finally nail the nasty little toe-rag. :sing:

I did have some sweet kids - little ones that would struggle onto the bus and give you a fistful of wilted wildflowers, or something that they had made "just for you". :angel: Some older ones that would sit behind me and chat. Even some of the kids who started out as troublemakers - when they learned that very little fazed me, they turned into pretty good kids.
 

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I drove for 10 years. I am only 5'2" tall and I loved it. I wish I could drive again, but getting back on is pretty hard around here. You have to start at the bottom again. I mostly drove for the insurance, which was very good. I made good money for just a few hours a day. Left the day open to other things, and also the summer. If the kids didn't have school, or the roads were slick, I was off too. I drove 3 different routes, one was pretty challenging, but when I finally got the kids to understand my rules, it was a lot easier. You have to have a principal who will stand behind you, or the kids and parents will rule you. I saw some of my high school boys and girls a few months after I had quit and they said, " Gee, Marilyn, now we know why you had rules on the bus!" I guess the new bus driver let the kids run wild and they all hated it!:sing: I would say, if you get the chance, go for it, I for one loved it and got real attached to the kids of all ages.
 

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Metal melter
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7,152 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, I'm sort of wondering where I would park it too. We have a nice flat area beside our driveway and it is protected by pines, but right now there are two lovely maples there in the flat spot...not sure if I'd be willing to cut them down or not.

My grandpa drove for several years to supplement his farming income back in the 1970's. All of the little girls on his route gave him a hug and a kiss when he dropped them off at home. Can you imagine if that happened today?!?!? People would think he was some kind of a perv. Funny thing is, I road his bus one time because I was staying at a friend's house, but I wouldn't give him a hug because I was too shy (I hugged him at home, but wouldn't do it in front of anyone).
 

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I drove for a couple of years as a winter job. Worked for a private company so my experience is different then hauling for a school system. Took a bunch of 3 year old to pre-school everyday. Also transorted "special -Ed kids to out of district schools that had programs for them. The little ones were really sweet. I got cookies and hugs and taught them songs. The special -Ed kids could be a handful. I transported them to a special psychiatic school and had them for an hour and a half each morning and afternoon. That was not a job for the faint of heart. Once we set up some ground rules they were like any other kids. I broke up a fight once and had a kid punch me right between the eyes. Could have got him in trouble but instead we talked it out and made peace. He was really scared. His father would have whipped him without mercy and I didn't want that to happen. If you can handle it, it's a fun job. I drove miles of back roads every day and saw tons of Deer, Turkey, and anything else that creepith upon the Earth. THe only thing that got me out of it was the pay. If I could have got more out the ownwer I'd be doing it this winter too.
 

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Misty Gonzales
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I drive for our district. I am a "sub" and activity driver. Our school district has the bus barn. We leave the bus at the school. We also utilize some of the full time custodian/lunch room crew. If we have a child in that activity, we get to drive usually. The pay isn't the greatest....but I work a couple of other very part time jobs that work around the schedules. I drive all my daughter's basketball and volleyball games. I will also drive my son's wrestling team to all there destinations. As a sub, I make $$ per route. Some routes are $11 and some are $14. As an activity driver, I make 9.35/hour. Not huge wages, but I am with my kids doing what I would be doing anyway only not spending $$ not getting $$.
Bus drivers usually eat for free when the team stops.
Our school really stands behind the drivers. My supervisor/and higher ups back us up with dicipline etc....
I LOVE IT. I will probably stay and try to drive my great nephew when he starts school.
I also clean for the superintendant and his wife, and I waitress at a local cafe part time.
 

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CF, Classroom & Books Mod
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A very close friend of mine did this for several years, and my SIL was a bus driver for several years, as well. Both have told me that the good days far outnumber the bad, but the bad days are beyond anything you'll ever experience in any other job.
 

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My husbands grandfather has driven school bus 45 years and still going! He loves driving the bus and kids love him also.
 

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Mamabooh, it's funny you are bringing this up....I looked into what I would need to do this week, too. It doesn't seem to be hard and there are tons of jobs out here right now. My husband is a teacher so we would have the same time off and all. It would make very full days because of homeschooling, but that would be ok, too. Hope it goes well for you!
 

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I was a school bus driver before we moved to NC. The driving training to get my license was fun, although you have to remember a lot of things in the book before you take the written test at the DMV. But if I can do it, you can too!

My bus was parked at a bus yard and I drove there to get it every day. I absolutely loved driving the bus, although there were some kids who were really badly behaved. I was strict but fair, and would write someone up for discipline if they didn't stay seated or used bad language. I'm only 5-3 and on my high school run I had boys from the football team that could have snapped me like a twig, but they treated me like a Mom most of the time. The elementary kids were easier to control, and I had a lot of fun singing songs with them and telling jokes. I can't ever hear the song "My Girl" without thinking of 30 little voices singing along with me....

I had a 3 year old when I started driving, and he came along with me on the bus every day. To this day when we follow along behind a school bus he critiques the driver's speed, use of the lights and whether any cars blasted past when she had her red lights on.
 

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If you take the bus home at night or not depends on the district. None of them here take busses home.

I haven't driven a bus but I will tell you about the last time dd was riding a bus. On her bus were a bunch of trouble-makers. The driver was told to stop the bus and wait for the kids to behave before continuing the route. Driver was not allowed to call the police and the district would not allow the drivers to kick the trouble-makers off, or even suspend them from riding the bus. I hope this was the worst of the worst but with this district it probably wasn't.
 

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Our drivers can't take the bus home but they're paid so good that they can afford to drive Hummers, longest driver is a women making 24.25 an hr. us tax payers keep being told by the school board that keeping our own busses and drivers is cheaper that leasing them.
 

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Dallas
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My husband is a teacher so we would have the same time off and all. It would make very full days because of homeschooling,
Your husband is a teacher and you homeschool, wow!
 

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My SIL is a school bus driver...He worked in our town as one as well, then they moved. Our school also offers retirement with the bus driving job, which is a big plus. We also have the bus barn, you drive your own vehicle to school, then drive the busses. Good luck on your quest...even the teachers work extra as drivers.
 

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Metal melter
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all of the input so far.

This is quite a rural farming area, so most drivers keep the bus at home. Another good thing is that people around here (for the most part) expect their kids to behave...our district is still allowed to spank!

I really am seriously considering checking into this a bit more. I would absolutely hate to leave my nice, cozy house every morning, but it would be nice to have a bit of extra cash while we're working to fix up our farm.

I know this district had openings during the summer...not sure if they filled them all or not. I suppose I should do some checking.
 

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Happy Scrounger
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Do you already have your CDL? Or is the company/school you're looking at offering to pay for the training? If you have to pay for it yourself, it can be a bit pricey.

I drove both a school bus and for a private company carrying mentally or physically disabled kids and adults. Nice job, but I hated the split shift thing we had to do. Pay here was okay....not spectacular,but about twice minimum so.....insurance and vacation/sick days. worked out well enough.

Kids were generally well behaved, so no bad stories here. Worst thing I had to deal with was a 7 year old boy who was "on probation" when I got him. He climbed over the seats, yelled, pounded the windows. After a few days of that, I sat him down and asked what was going on. He looked up and said "it's what I do". I asked why? He said "dunno".

so. I gave him crayons and paper and told him to draw a picture of what he saw in his head. After that...every day he drew a new picture. No more tantrums. I ended up with some REALLY strange pictures, which I gave to his teacher/shrink.

Good luck with your endeavor! If we EVER move to the farm full time, I've been talking to the school in that district and will probably be a sub :)
 

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Metal melter
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Do you already have your CDL? Or is the company/school you're looking at offering to pay for the training? If you have to pay for it yourself, it can be a bit pricey.
Nope...no CDL yet. I'd be starting from scratch. In my wild youth, I wanted to be a trucker, but then along came Hubby and I decided that I'd rather stay home.

I think I'll make a call to the lady in charge of the busses tomorrow to see if they need anyone and if they help out with the costs.
 

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Five of Seven
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I drove for one year about 10 years ago. Probably 95% of the kids were a pleasure to transport, but that other 5% can make you wonder why you're driving. A lot depends on how the system is set up. The district I drove for had about 40 busses and only 3 cameras, so they'd rotate the cameras around from bus to bus. Then, when you caught somebody misbehaving on camera the parents would usually deny the film anyway. They just knew their little angel could never act like that.:angel:
Anyway, many school districts are constantly looking for drivers. Between the downtime(from the morning run to the afternoon run), the 3-month or so break in the summer, and dealing with the problem kids, there's usually a pretty good turnover rate among drivers.
Many districts are so desperate for drivers that they'll bend the rules to keep people. We had one who passed out at the wheel one day(fortunately he was at the school so he just bumped the bus in front of him), and they tried to keep him on.:mad:
The district I drove for had plenty of day trips during the day, so I was usually busy most days. I drove there in the morning and hung around most of the day in case they needed somebody, and got sent out a lot.
Most drivers have other jobs or work at home so they can earn enough to survive. One of the drivers I worked with had 2 other jobs, and was usually half-asleep most of the time. I didn't think he should have been driving, but, like I said, they really needed drivers, so they don't check too close unless there's something obvious.
 
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