On Driving Bus & Paying Attention to Kids

The author driving bus

In the Driver’s Seat

From the Rearview

I’ve watched obvious friendships falter, too. Ted and Sam are extremely similar young men. Both are into computers and video games, and they each have a tendency to complete their work at the last minute. On the bus, though, they might barely speak to each other. Ted has been frustrated with Sam over some shenanigans on recent field experiences, and I think that the enforced proximity of the bus seat strained their relationship further.

I’ve watched relationships start and end (and restart, and re-end…). Lana and Tanner were antagonists when they started at my school, and remained that way for at least two years. To Lana, Tanner was annoying and immature. To Tanner, Lana was bossy and hypersensitive. They were on the same field team, so they rode near each other to and from our weekly field experiences. One day on the bus they seemed not only tolerant of each other’s presence, but even… happy to be together. Sure enough, they began dating soon thereafter. They’ve recently broken up to concentrate more on school, but they still seem pretty close on our bus rides.

I’ve watched laughter, tears, reading, and singing. Yes, I might have joined in on that last part a time or three. In short, I’ve been able to see my students as complex human beings, not the one-dimensional stereotypes (the slacker, the go-getter, the sad sack, the jock…) I sometimes hear other teachers reduce them to.

The author’s typical view

Tips from the Bus Driver

  1. When students feel connected to their teachers, they will be more willing to take risks in the classroom. In my classroom, I see students take these calculated risks every day, from trying to solve a math problem on their own to cold calling an expert resource to ask for an interview.
  2. You don’t have to interfere with your students to learn about them. Just try paying attention to what they’re up to and how they relate to one another. And if you can get yourselves outside of the classroom for a while, do it! You’ll be surprised and enlightened by what you see, whether or not you’re driving bus.

GMWP: Greater Madison Writing Project

Teacher as Artist, Teacher as Researcher, Teacher as…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store