Tag Archives: behavior

How to Properly Organize and Manage School Field Trip

Planning a field trip and knowing exactly how to go about doing it is an essential skill. The idea of field trips works excellently for both the teachers and students.

While the idea is to take students out of the classroom and help them experience some real-life learning, it is also beneficial for teachers as they got to know a student’s interest.  

It is no wonder that school boards these days have become increasingly cautious about allowing field trips. If planned well then a field trip can indeed be a memorable and meaningful experience for everyone involved!

Planning and Organizing a Field Trip

Some of the below mentioned stages can be a good guide on how to organize and plan a school trip:

  1. Decide where to go and think about places that enhance and reinforce your curriculum goals.

  2. Ask your administrator and jot some notes before presenting the idea. Tell her why you want to go, where you want to go, what dates you are thinking of, and what the cost will be.
  3. Arrange for transportation and decide how you are going to get the little kids there and back.
  4. Decide on where and when you will stop for meals. Some of the common options available are either everyone including children bringing their own lunch, or stopping at a restaurant or café on or off sight.
  5. Make a plan and understand the time that each activity takes to perform keeping the interest and attention span of students in mind.
  6. Arrange for supervision depending on the number of students going for the trip and number of adults needed in order to handle the children. This also varies depending on the behaviour of age and maturity of the students.
  7. Create a permission form that includes all the necessary details about the field trip, like the date, time, venue, pick-up, drop-off, food to be carried, money to be carried, dress code if any and other such details that is necessary for parents to know before they sign and give their children the permission.
  8. Tie in the field trip with the student’s curriculum by deciding the kind of assignment and learning that can be done on the trip. This usually requires pre-learning and background reading to be done by the teachers.

Tips for Field Trip Behavior Management

While planning a field trip, teachers are usually worried about kid’s behaviour outside the school premises as they don’t how they are likely to behave outside the school setting. Some tips that teachers must remember while planning for a school field trip are:

  • If some students have significant trouble meeting the behaviour expectations on a day-to-day basis, they should hold a frank discussion regarding the same with the parents.
  • Always think of an alternative plan for students  that you think would not be able to cope with the trip circumstances.
  • Tell students they are under observation a week before the trip and reward the ones that behave appropriately as this will also give them an insight about the kind of behaviour that is expected from them.
  • Keep into consideration the medication schedule of kids from their parents
  • Hold an open discussion with students about the purpose of the trip and expectations of their roles and responsibilities on the same.
  • Consider keeping a low teacher-student  ratio to reduce chances of mishaps

Field Trip Safety Tips for Teachers

While taking children on a field trip, teachers have a huge responsibility of their safety. And as children are usually not so responsible and old enough to be at their best behaviours, teachers must keep a tab of the below tips as they are helpful in ensuring student safety:

  • Make students get their parents’ signature on a no-objection form which gives the school permission to take children on a field trip
  • Divide children into groups and assign a monitor to be able to give equal attention to all students and avoid mishaps.
  • Inform children about the place they are going to visit and prepare them about what they are going to be doing there.
  • Educate children about the safety tips for the trip and let them know who they are supposed to reach out to when they need any help.
  • Let the students know they are going to be divided into groups and also let them know who they are going to be with so that they can be comfortable around the people.
  • Choose a safe transport. Instead of hiring private vehicles, school buses that children travel are safer and more preferred during field trips.
  • Carry a first aid kit and also water and juices in case to avoid students from feeling dehydrated and low on energy

Here's a video of how teachers can able to track students while on a school field trip or an excursion

Field Trip Rules for Elementary School Students

For students of elementary school going for a field trip, certain rules are mandatory that make trip a pleasurable experience for all like:

  • Be along with your group at all times
  • Respect what the monitor says and obey her commands
  • Help keep noise and confusion at a minimum
  • Know who to talk about any problems that you are facing
  • Help others in your group
  • Take care of your belongings and do not indulge in any inappropriate behaviour while on the trip
  • Discuss if there is any problem with the teacher
  • Abstain from using any foul language or showing any disrespect

Field Trip Rules for Middle School Students

Just like students of elementary school, it is very essential for students of middle school to follow rules and regulations as the middle school usually have trips that are for more than just a day and usually are outside the city.

This makes it more important for them to abide by the rules to ensure their safety. The students must remember to:

  • Stick to the instructions given by teachers and  chaperones courteously and respectfully
  • Keep the transport vehicle, hostel or hotel room clean at all times
  • Not go beyond the mentioned boundaries of the place they are staying at
  • Strictly adhere to the time lines and report on time, as suggested by teachers.
  • Carry appropriate clothes according to the weather and the place
  • Not ride any form of public transportation during their free time
  • Make no excessive noise in hotel or the hostel through music or shouting
  • Follow the buddy system and leave no student alone in his or her hotel room

Impact of Field Trip on the School Environment

A field trip is one of the best tools that we can use to provide every student with real-world experiences.

By taking children out once in a while where they begin to see that what they learn within the classroom walls, schools promote a more efficient way of learning for the students.

It helps them solve the problems they see in the world around them and can have a direct impact on who they become as people. Field trips make learning relatable and faster for students making the school environment more lively and interactive.

Therefore, encouraging school trips is promoting a better learning program for schools and also enabling a healthy development amongst students making them more self-aware and confident.

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Great School Bus Drivers – A Short Guide

It will not be an overstatement to mention that great drivers are the life-blood of any school district aiming at an efficient and problem-free fleet. It is through these professionally trained men that kids, parents and everyone concerned can heave a sigh of relief.

It is because of these men who are always behind the wheels of school buses that your school-going kids reach home safe and on time. With so much being said about school bus drivers, this exhaustive blog points out every facet of hiring, training, retaining and attracting them.

It also sheds light on all the qualities of a school bus driver that will stand as a testimony for him to be called “Great”. Before you try to understand all the above-mentioned aspects of great school bus drivers, let us first focus on the duties of a school bus driver.

School Bus Driver Duties

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Every job comes with a detailed job description speaking of the “good to have” and “must have” skills so as to hire the most befitting candidate.

So is the case with school bus drivers who are supposed to match their job description so that they move on from being considered as mere vehicle-operators to friends of both students and their parents.

On the flipside, every job entails upon certain duties that should be fulfilled by an employee. Here are certain duties of a school bus driver:

  • The one that tops the list is the ordained duty of picking up and dropping school kids at their designated points.
  • It is also his duty to follow the routes that are mentioned by the school authorities.
  • He is required to keep his eyes and ears open to weather and traffic conditions.
  • In addition to meeting timelines, he should ensure the safety of kids onboard at all times.
  • He should periodically test the tires, brakes and other bus-body parts and suggest timely overhauling and maintenance procedures.
  • It is also the prime duty of a school bus driver to ensure that kids maintain a safe environment while onboarding.

Qualities of a Great School Bus Driver

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There are many things that separate a good school bus driver from a great school bus driver. While a good school bus driver may follow all the traffic rules, a great school bus driver goes beyond these requirements.

Since it is all about ensuring the safety of school kids at all times in addition to effectively managing the fleet through timely maintenance, here are the “must have” characteristics of a great school bus driver.

  1. Sticks to rules and ensures safety of school kids

The topmost quality of a school bus driver is his adherence to rules. All for the sake of ensuring the safety of school kids, he is expected to demonstrate a great deal of professionalism that manifests in the form of:

  • Punctuality both in terms of pickup and drop timings and parking the vehicle in the school garage
  • While following all the traffic rules, he should also wear seat belts so as to ensure his safety which is indirectly linked to the safety of the kids onboard
  • He is expected to honor the signals at railway crossings
  • In addition to driving according to the traff  ic signals, he is also expected to have an eye on the speed limit
  1. When it comes to handling kids, patience tops the list of qualities

It is the innate quality of kids to be fidgety and mischievous. School bus drivers who deal with kids all the time are expected to exercise a great deal of patience.

While it takes all sorts of well-behaved and unruly kids to make a school trip, a great school bus driver is the one who not only drives carefully but also has an eye on the kids. Hence all those bus drivers who have patience can become great school bus drivers.

  1. Timely responses to issues

Life is uncertain and it does not take more than a second for a calm situation to turn into an eventuality. Things are meant to go wrong with a number of unexpected issues cropping up en-route a school trip.

Hence a great school bus driver is expected to react fast to issues and take remedial steps to avert the extent of damage that can affect kids and the vehicle.

His decision making skills coupled with his strong presence of mind in averting accidents can be the perfect blend of must-have traits in a great school bus driver.

  1. A well-informed driving professional

In addition to knowing how to use the state-of-the-art routing software that is offered by TrackSchoolBus, a great school bus driver should demonstrate routing and time management skills.

He can become an asset to any school as he is well-informed about all the school bus routes which help school management save a lot of time, money and effort.

  1. Should never use school buses for personal use

A great school bus driver, alongside demonstrating his driving skills should reach the garage on time every single day. This mirrors the fact that he has not used the bus to fulfill personal obligations.

  1. Should understand the world of differences between a car and a school bus

School bus drivers should know that maneuvering a passenger car is way too different from being at the wheel of a school bus. School bus drivers are expected to exercise caution while driving. Hence the motto should be to drive slowly and steadily.

Why is there a Shortage of School Bus Drivers?

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Topping the list of challenges faced by school districts across the globe is the shortage of school bus drivers. Enabling you to get the right picture of this biggest challenge, here are the main reasons that are leading to an acute scarcity of school bus drivers.

  1. The main obstacle that comes in the way of school bus drivers is the fact that they need to wait for up to 6 months to clear the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) exam.
  2. Next in line are the monetary requirements that entail upon a driver’s job. Alongside expecting better benefits, school bus drivers are required to spend their time and efforts in getting a CDL.
  3. The number of hours that are required to be put in by a school bus driver is another concern impacting the deficiency of school bus drivers.

From the school administration perspective, here is the main reason for the shortage of school bus drivers.

The fact that mechanics are available only for 4 hours a day is an impediment for school bus drivers to address to breakdowns.

Also when it comes to regular maintenance of school bus fleet, school bus drivers have to rely on these trained mechanics to perform routine safety checks.

Hence it is because of maintenance requirements that schools are unable to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of school bus drivers.

How to Attract School Bus Drivers?

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It is the responsibility of every school to attract many applications from school bus drivers so that their fleet requirements are filled in. In an attempt to experience a steady flow of applications, it is the need of the hour to look out for creative ways to recruit school bus drivers.

While the conventional newspaper ads and fliers may yield results, sometimes the informal communication between people can fill in a school bus driver vacancy. If you are looking for other compelling means that will help schools fill their school bus driver positions, here they come.

  1. Billboards Can Make Their Presence Felt

Notwithstanding the fact that the bright yellow-colored school buses make their strong presence felt on city roads, you may go ahead and cash in on the strength of attractive billboards.

Billboards in the form of attention-grabbing vinyl signs can display the message of a vacancy. These billboards when displayed on school buses can create an impact on the readers and riders.

These people can in-turn spread this message to school bus drivers who are looking for an employment.

  1. Maintain a Rapport with PTA

It is important for transport organizations to foster their relationship with the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs).

Once transport conglomerates start building a rapport with PTAs, they will be able to collect data points about good school drivers who used to ferry their kids when they were small.

PTAs serve as effective means to fill in the drivers’ seats of school buses since they can vouch for the behavior of all those school bus drivers who transported  kids on time and safely.

  1. Unleash the Power of Direct-Mailing

Directly mailing prospective candidates for the role of school bus drivers is another means to fill the vacant positions.

It comes as an intelligent move to send a recruitment letter supported by a poster and the job application to people who might be interested to work as school bus drivers. These professions come with flexible schedules which can come as a blessing to fill up school bus driver vacancies.

How to Train School Bus Drivers?

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Training school bus drivers is a significant part to ensure the safety of school students. Training is also about informing drivers with emergency planning tactics along with harping on the importance of common sense while being at the wheel.

And to impart this training to drivers, you can bank upon the knowledge imparted by school bus driver training programs.

Given the fact that a majority of these training programs focus only on how to maneuver and drive a school bus, it is the need of the hour to equip them with details concerning safety issues and crises management.

With an intention to prepare the school bus drivers for any sort of eventuality that might arise while driving, below are certain training measures that should be taken by school authorities.

  1. School bus drivers should be informed about the latest trends in school violence so as to avert any such incident.
  2. They should be trained to deal with bus supervision issues.
  3. School bus drivers who have a thorough knowledge of their vehicle will be in a position to conduct pre & post trip inspections. Along with periodical checkup of brakes, they should be trained to adjust their mirrors and reference points so as to avert accidents.
  4. Every school bus driver should be taught about various driving situations including how to maneuver the bus at an intersection, how to safely reverse the bus and the precautions that need to be taken at railroad crossings.
  5. Prevention and effective management of violent incidents that take place in the bus also form a subject to learn.
  6. School bus drivers should be equipped with information concerning bus emergency strategies and exercises that need to be conducted as part of crises management.
  7. They should be informed about all the ways in which school buses can become targets to terrorist attacks.
  8. School bus drivers should be trained about safe bus stops along with having an eye on sleeping children. It is very important for every school bus driver to be taught about the nuances concerning student management.
  9. Last but not the least, it is very important for every school bus driver to identify distractions while driving so that he/she can focus on the road ahead. This is an important part of training that will help the driver exercise his/her presence of mind to avert an accident.

Tips To Retain School Bus Drivers

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It is a well-known fact that while good school bus drivers are scarce, then to retain them is quite a difficult task. All the transportation departments looking for means to retain professional and trained drivers can check out these 12 workable tips. 

  1. School districts should look at the salary structure of school bus drivers and strive to offer them competitive salaries. Once health and retirement benefits come as perks, they will attract more and more school bus drivers to stick to their jobs.
  2. If school bus drivers are encouraged through adequate support and training, they feel valued and hence will stick on to their jobs.
  3. Any reason for a driver’s unruly behavior should be immediately brought to the notice of supervisors who should be ordained to take timely action.
  4. In an attempt to value the opinions of school bus drivers, it is important to conduct periodical staff meetings. As part of the agenda, supervisors should allow the drivers to say their opinions about anything that is of concern to them.
  5. It is also very important to offer an unbiased treatment to all the school bus drivers.
  6. School administrations inclined to retain school bus drivers should have procedures and policies along with certain best practices that should be followed by them.
  7. Respect for drivers is another factor that will go a long way in retaining them.
  8. A pat on the back of drivers for any positive trait such as accident-free driving or regular attendance is sure to retain them for long.
  9. To top it all, financial incentives like rewards and bonuses can come in as attractive means to retain good school bus drivers.

Closing Thoughts

Given the fact that good school bus drivers are an asset to every school, it pays for school authorities to pay heed to their concerns and demands. Only then they will be encouraged to take pride in their job.

Along with training, appreciating and respecting school bus drivers can bring in a great deal of accountability to their ordained duty of transporting students safely and on time.

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Top 7 Advantages of Wifi on School Buses

In the modern day and age, due to the rapid advancement in technology and communication, almost everyone and everything is available online. Learning and education is no exception to this. It is no longer confined to the classroom, and students can learn about faraway places and obscure things, within a single click.

Owing to the fact that students are expected to now a great deal even when the time is limited, schools are determined to utilize their time to the fullest and enable the student to achieve her/his maximum potential. It is therefore no wonder that WiFi on school buses have become quite popular.

Enabling WiFi facilities in school buses is not a very expensive thing. If you think about its advantages, then it is a wise thing. This article seeks to illuminate the advantages of having WiFi on buses.

  1. Better Tracking Facilities

Enabling buses with WiFi offers the school and parents with distinct advantage of tracking the ride. This means that the movement of buses can be tracked, making it safer for the students. Any irresponsible behavior of the driver like over speeding, sharp turns, skipping signals etc. can be recorded, and punitive action can be taken against him or her. This also acts as a deterrent for the driver.

An advantage to the driver is that s/he can know in advance the traffic conditions, thus saving time and fuel. It also helps in monitoring the idle time of the bus, enabling optimum utilization. It is also possible to keep records, even of the minutest details, and then obtain them in a form that is comprehensible. Tracking systems also help in giving feedback about the condition of the bus and the service schedule.

  1. Helps to Alert Parents and School

Having WiFi on buses also makes it safer for students. It helps to track students and immediate alert can be sent to the concerned authorities in case there is a problem. It helps in making the parents, students and teachers feel secure. It is also possible to alert the police promptly if there is any security threat.

And also if the bus is late or if a student does not get into the bus or gets off at the wrong stop, parents will get notified. They would know the exact time for dropping and for picking up their wards. All this is only possible if the bus is connected to internet and the ride and students are effectively tracked.

  1. Learning in the Bus

In the fast-paced modern world, it is important to utilize the day to the fullest. WiFi enabled buses can help in providing education and learning to the students even on the buses itself. Keeping in mind the fact that most students travel for long hours before reaching the school, this seems to be an effective way to utilize time and keep the students engaged in productive activities.

Children will show interest in this form of learning. This also adds to the time that children can spend time with their families as they can utilize the time spent in traveling for doing their homework.

  1. Preventing ill Behavior

Engaging students in learning activities while traveling to school can also help in preventing destructive tendencies. This is especially important in cognizance of the fact that a lot of bullying and sexual harassment amongst students happens in buses. If the students are kept occupied during this time, there is a possibility that this behavior can be curbed to a great extent.

  1. Better for the Economically Disadvantaged Group

The economically underprivileged group of students who do not have the facility of internet at home can benefit tremendously through these WiFi enabled school buses. They can complete their projects and use it for learning purposes also. These buses can also be parked in areas where these students come from, giving them the advantage of WiFi enabled area.

These students can be provided with their own passwords and log in ids, thus securing the network and preventing unauthorized use. It is also possible to monitor what the children are accessing on the internet.

  1. Better for Longer Routes

School buses are very often used to commute longer roads while taking the class for field trips or picnics. While traveling, students can be kept engaged and entertained. Information about the site and the activities that the students can engage in can also be imparted to the students in the buses.

Parents will also become more willing to send their students for these activities, if they know that the students can be tracked and in case of an emergency, they can be immediately notified. The virtual presence of teachers can be increased through software like Skype.

  1. Easier to Impart Knowledge to Large number of Students

Safety instructions regarding the course of action that should be taken in case of a fire in the bus, or an accident, can be easily explained and demonstrated with the help of WiFi. This means that special time does not need to be scheduled for this, thus resulting in time saving.  

Children can learn their subjects while on their way to school without the presence of more number of staffs. Animation can be used to explain students, thus making it more entertaining and ensuring that the students pay attention and learn better. And finally, feedback from the students can be recorded and incorporated for future use.

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How to Manage Bad Behaviour on the School Bus

Student behavior is onerous to manage and will risk the lives of other school bus passengers. However, the responsibility of school bus safety is in the hands of drivers. Henceforth, they should be able to curb that undesirable behavior on the school bus.

Let's have a glimpse of the issues of unacceptable behavior in detail:

How Coarse Behavior Affect the School Bus Safety?

Of course, school bus drivers have an immense responsibility towards the safety of students. Hence, students should not be permitted to play, clamor, or pace once the school bus is mobile.

Why?

This will distract drivers and cause accidents or injuries to students and other road users.

As a responsible school bus driver, you should be able to maintain proper discipline among students and thereby reduce the accident risk. Consequently, you can memorize the following safety points:

  • Heed the school bus driving and aware of the oncoming dangers on the road
  • Remember, you will be the prime authority inside a school bus and hence maintain a proper school bus behavior among students

When an adverse circumstance occurs, consider the practice mentioned below:

  • Steer the bus to the roadside and stop if necessary. It is wise to proceed whenever an argument or scuffle is happening on the school bus. Presumably, it will result in adverse effects, such as devastation, injury, or even mortality
  • Stop the bus and provide rigid instructions to unruly students
  • If necessary, the driver can sternly construe safety quotations and affirm the outcome of coarse behavior on the school bus

Reinforcing the Rules of Conduct

By enforcing the safety procedure, you will be able to evade the unruly behavior of students. As a matter of fact, students should realize the relevance of rules and oblige it willingly.

Furthermore, students should be aware of the fact that rules are contrived for their own safety. As a driver, you can commit the following actions if you witness a student violating rules:

  • First and foremost, stop the school bus to the road side
  • Secondly, intercede promptly
  • Identify the rule-breaker and convince the fact that he/she threatened the safety of whole students in the school bus
  • Admonish the lawbreaker, which attributes warning to other students

Rapport with the School Management

As mentioned earlier, a school bus driver is the supreme authority on the school bus. But, you will never bear responsibility alone.

Meanwhile, there is a school management that supports your decisions and provides guidance to your trip. Creating a school bus safety team can be a brilliant notion.

For instance, the team comprises the school principal, counsellors, psychologists, teachers, teaching staffs, and coaches.

In fact, this team can regulate school bus safety predicaments and constitute reasonable decision for the school transportation services. Hence, the school bus drivers can seek the assistance of the safety team and thus control the school bus violation effectively.

Necessity of Early Intervention

Strangely enough, a majority of students become aggressive almost unexpectedly. Hence, whenever you spot a student with such a weird transformation, recognize, and resolve it hastily.

Here follows the procedures that can be attempted for settling the concerns mentioned above:

  • Communicate with the student and identify what’s bothering them. Nevertheless, realize the fact that children will never share their personal issues to an outsider
  • Have an acquaintance with the distressed student's close friends and recognize the dilemma
  • If you confirm or notices the hassle, report instantly to the relevant authority

Administrative Support for School Bus Drivers

It is wise to collaborate with the administrative team. No doubt, with the administrative support, you can provide punishment to students justly.

Whenever a particular student violates the rule, you can punish them according to the decision of the administrative team. 

Hence, the other students realize the consequences of violating rules, whoever the student is, and consequently follow safety rules without further hesitation.

Installation of Video Surveillance Cameras on the School Bus

  • Authorities can install cameras on the school bus
  • Can be utilized as a tool in disciplinary meetings for students and circulate it as a training material for other drivers
  • Cameras provide an awareness regarding the essential safety rules and the way it is violated by the students
  • Students should recognize that cameras will provide sufficient evidence to those who violate the safety rules and cannot escape from its consequences
  • Footage displays the date and time by which violation took place and thus trapping the agitator completely

Planning Ahead to Prevent Future Problems

  • Treat students with care and respect in the bus and involve them in establishing guidelines in bus and to solve issues that happen in the bus.
  • Communicate with the driver regarding their concerns and ask the students directly to solve it.
  • Include students in discussions regarding safety guidelines, issues, bus driver responsibilities and invite brainstorming for solutions to each concern.

In conclusion, students should be taught that a school bus is the extension of the classroom. And henceforth, the proper school bus discipline should also be maintained accordingly.

Moreover, it is the responsibility of everyone to safeguard the students and the technology can provide an immense assistance to this concern.

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