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Mar 12, 2015, 12:50 PM

Being a School Bus Driver is More Than a Part-Time Job

Being a school bus driver is a part-time job, but it carries full-time responsibility. As an industry leader, First Student doesn't just hire drivers; we employ people with compassionate attitudes who want to help students. Our drivers don’t take their responsibilities lightly. They know their role impacts a child’s life every single day – whether it’s helping a nervous kindergartner to greeting a high school student.

First Student’s local staff members are visible in our community; they are dedicated to our children. First Student has highly trained personnel that have the sole purpose of taking care of the students, families and the school’s needs.” – Buffalo City School District Director of Transportation Al Diamico

Our bus drivers are one of the first people students interact with during the day and we empower them to provide positive reinforcement to students. Tamalee South, a First Student driver from Windsor Canada, knows her students face a variety of adverse concerns but she enjoys giving them a break from those matters, “I like driving a school bus because there are certain times when you make the day better for children. There are some kids who don’t get ‘Good mornings’ in the morning or don’t get a ‘Good evening.’ So they always get that when they get on my bus, ‘Good morning, how are you? Are you having a good day?’ Always. Every child that gets on my bus, I get to impact their life.” The consistency and routine drivers offer students cannot be quantified.

School Bus DriversDemeanor factors heavily in to the First Student hiring process. South says, “You have to have a certain attitude to be a bus driver; not everyone can do this. And if I see that someone is going out of their way to help someone who’s not doing very well, I’ll say, ‘Hey look, if you’re looking for a job, you should come drive a bus because that’s the kind of attitude that we need.’ If you’re happy, if you’re outgoing, this is a job for those kinds of people.”

In addition to a friendly attitude, there are specific groups and lifestyles that may fit best with the bus driver occupation, like stay-at-home mothers and retirees. In fact, in 2014, RetirementJobs.com named First Student a “Certified Age-Friendly Employer,” recognizing us for making a special effort to improve age and experience diversity in our workforce.

Because they carry such important cargo, school bus drivers must be the most highly trained, tested and scrutinized drivers on the road today. Our driver trainers spend 43 hours with new candidates in training and 17 hours with experienced drivers every year, working on basics and refreshing the skills needed to safely maneuver the massive yellow bus. And to keep safety at the front of every driver’s mind, we lead monthly safety meetings to encourage further safety conversations and awareness. Amid that training, we focus on the behaviors and interactions students need from their bus drivers. First Student’s Behavior Management training session reviews appropriate warning signs and behavioral characteristics for children of all ages. That way, our drivers know how to respond to every student-centered incident. Evelyn Toney, an award-winning First Student driver from Windsor, Canada, understands that one size does not fit all when it comes to children, “We have to get to know our kids because all kids are not the same. They have different ways of handling the situations, so as I get to know them I try my best to get to know why they’re acting a certain way. And as I get to know them, I’ll take them away from the distraction in order for them to stay calm until they get to school.”

Being a part of First Student means our employees are part of a family, first. Being part of the First Family [video] also includes students, parents, district officials and the people of your community. We understand we all have a common goal and we work collaboratively to accomplish it, building up our students so they can have the best start and finish to the school day. If you want to join the First Family, please search our job openings.