I'm a stay at home Dad and I'm damn proud of it but, like many families, surviving on one income is difficult. I did some research back in April for a job, where I could take our son to work with me and I actually found it! I applied to become a school bus driver for our county and I got accepted to take the class in May. You read correctly: You have to take serious classes to become a school bus driver.
First you have to go through an in depth process composed of background checks, fingerprints, interviews, references etc. They really make sure they know that person who gets close to our kids!
Once you've passed the checks, you get a notice that you made it into the upcoming class. 5 days a week with a packed schedule. Thankfully, my wife was able to take leave most of the days I was in class so she could watch the little man.
We went through CPR, First Aid, Bloodborne Pathogens, Drug and Alcohol Training, Orientation, Policy and Regulations, Roles and Responsibilities, Route Reading, Student Management, Severe Allergies/Other Health Emergencies, Special Education, Glucagon Administration, Special Needs Training, Hazmat Instruction, Maintenance and Pre/Post Trip Inspections, Instructions on the different Bus types, Crashes and Emergencies, Loading and Unloading Passengers, Driving Fundamentals, Driving under Special Conditions, Defensive Driving and much more. All packed in 2 busy weeks! All this combined with studying after class at home plus studying for the big written test at the DMV for the Commercial Drivers License (CDL), proved to be difficult at times, but as a family we managed to get through!
Don't tell me you knew school bus drivers had to go through so much training, because I had no idea in the beginning!
After passing the classroom exams, for the next two weeks, we hit the road for a lot of driving and more driving. We experienced different buses, different routes, stopping and loading/unloading procedures, getting to know all the different parts of the buses for the pre/post trip inspections, we have to do every day. Up to the day where I had to take the DMV driving test. After I passed the test I had to drive "loaded runs" with my trainer for 3 days. He released me after these 3 days and wrote in his report, "Probably one of the best trainees he ever had." Did I mention my trainer has been a bus driver for 10 years!? I, of course, was really proud because I always give 110% in whatever I do. I really love this job. I should've done this a long time ago!
Before you can get contracted you have to be a substitute driver for at least 15 days. I had exactly 17 days till the summer break. I drove all 17 days, all different routes and different schools. From Elementary to High School and Special Needs. I had some tricky runs and also some easy ones and I can't wait to see what the next school year has in store for me. I have not received a route yet, which means I will start as a substitute driver again next.
I really hope that I will get a Special Needs Route. Not everybody is cut out for that, but it feels right for me somehow. Becoming a parent changes things and I want to be there for these kids and their parents.
I love to work with kids and to make a difference in their lives.
But with any job, there's always something that annoys you. Here's where I start to vent. You won't believe how many cars fly by my flashing red lights/stop sign on the school buses! It's unbelievable! It's so damn dangerous and they juggle with our kids lives! As a school bus driver you have to oversee all sides of the bus, walkways, and streets to make sure all of the kids get on and off the bus safely. Why would you put these children in danger? Just because you are running late? Come on! The school buses usually drive the same route, at the same time every day. Why don't they just leave a little earlier if they don't have the patience for the kids? If you drive drunk, you will go to jail for at least 12 hours and I think they should treat the passing of a school bus while loading and unloading students the same way! Go straight to jail and not to work, when you put our kids in danger. It really makes me angry... end of vent.
Mr. Mom(Any misspelled words you may find, are yours to keep) ;-)