Friday, October 31, 2014

A Positive Outlook On Bus Duty

Since I do not have a homeroom this year, I have officially joined the ranks of teachers that have been assigned to AM and PM duty.  Many of you loyal blog readers have been managing some sort of extra duty, whether it be cafeteria, bus or hall duty for years.  My hat is off to you.  While I have managed to avoid cafeteria duty, you can find me standing out in the parking lot in the heat, rain (and soon, the cold) most mornings and afternoons.

Truth be told, when I first received my assignment, I was less than ecstatic.  I imagined having to deal with irate bus drivers and quelling some of the more undesirable behaviors that middle school students can engage in when left with a group of their peers and idle time before and after school.  My fears have largely been alleviated as bus duty has provided me with an opportunity to get to know the school population as a whole and not just the students that are enrolled in ESOL classes.

Since my classroom is hidden behind the cafeteria and I teach only a segment of the student population, I assumed that I was anonymous to the rest of the school.  Much to my surprise, I have discovered that this is not the case and most of the students greet me by name when they get off the bus.  The majority of the school's population is made up of former ESOL students and remember it as a positive experience, so it turns out that they have made the effort to learn all of the ESOL teachers' names, despite the fact that they no longer participate in the program.  I am flattered by this and make the effort to engage dozens of students in short conversations on a daily basis.  Now when I go in to help out with content classes, the ESOL students are no longer singled out as the other students are often the ones shouting out my name and waving at me to come over and look at their assignment.  This allows me to gain a view of the entire school and see where the ESOL population fits in.  It means that I can be a better advocate as I bring this new insight to the administration when pleading my case.

It's amazing how something so dreaded as bus duty can turn out to be a blessing in disguise.  Of course, I may not be saying this come the first cold snap, so do stay tuned.  Oh yeah, as far as those irate bus drivers?  They really do exist, but since they know that I do not have the power to suspend a student's bus privileges, they bypass me and head straight to the office.

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