Every student has a backstory. Do you know your students' stories? I thought I knew, but I really didn't. As a way to get to know my students a little better I decided to ride the bus routes. Everyone said I was crazy because most of our buses are not air conditioned and all the kids act much worse on the bus than at school. Haha. They were right about the air conditioning for sure. Those afternoon routes were very hot. I worked with each driver and scheduled a time to ride and I was ready.
The first route I rode was an afternoon route and it only had about 25 students on it. I thought this would be a quick route and would be a great starting place. Boy, was I wrong. It didn't have very many students because they were so spread out. We had to go to so many little apartments and neighborhoods I had never even heard of. I have lived in this town most of my life, but I went on roads I didn't know existed. We drove several miles down a rode, turned left, and went a couple of more miles just to drop of one child. By the time I got off the bus I was soaked in sweat and had been on the bus for about an hour and 15 minutes.
However, did I ever learn some things! Since I went on all the routes I can now tell which bus goes where. This is very helpful for students who have moved. I also have seen the living conditions of my students. Wow! There were some really beautiful houses and property. Some students lived in nice apartments or duplexes. Some lived in small but clean homes. And then..... Sadly some lived in homes no human should ever live in. I was appalled by some of the living conditions. Some "homes" had doors falling off and broken windows, some had a roof that was half fallen in or had a tree fallen on it. Some looked like an auction was going on in the front yard. There was so much stuff in the yard I couldn't see the house.
I also learned that the bus driver is a wealth of information. You have concerns about a student? Ask the bus driver. This person knows where that student lives, what the living conditions are, and what goes on in the yard. I also learned that students tell the bus drivers everything. Even stuff they wish they didn't' know.
Bad behavior, bad smells, and a bad attitude do not have an excuse, but I now have an understanding.
If you want to see why students behave the way they do you might can find an answer by simple riding the bus.