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Children are under constant supervision throughout the school day and even while out on the playground. However, one place which often lacks to provide sufficient monitoring is the school bus.
Most districts rely on a frontal video camera and the bus driver to ensure student safety, but the camera is unable to intervene when a situation arises, and the driver is focused on safely reaching a destination.
That’s where a bus monitor comes in.
A bus monitor is a secondary chaperone to the bus driver who has the job of ensuring that children on a school bus are safe throughout the journey.
Since the driver is preoccupied, a bus monitor can provide significantly better security against bullying, injuries, or other unpleasant scenarios.
The school bus monitor is responsible for child supervision during transport from destination to destination and interceding in any situation where a child could suffer mistreatment or injury.
Monitors are often responsible for assisting students with boarding and disembarking from the bus and ensuring that they properly reach their parents or guardians.
These important individuals are also useful in assisting students with special needs throughout transport as well as assisting with boarding.
Another major way a monitor improves student safety is by eliminating problems during the journey so that the bus driver can place full focus on driving, reducing the risk of accidents.
Due to the nature of the transportation system, a bus monitor job is usually a part-time job as the necessity for supervision vary from morning transport to school, afternoon transport to homes, and a variety of school trips that occur sporadically.
As each standard drop-off typically lasts only an hour or two, that limits the hours available for monitoring staff.
Those who manage full-time employment usually work maintenance on buses and school equipment or oversee other school responsibilities throughout the day until they are needed for monitoring.
There are several traits required to be a good school bus monitor.
Patience is an important trait as you are working with children, some (or all) of which may have special needs. The ability to build rapport and communicate well with children and parents is a definite advantage, especially when handling mediation situations or setting expectations for proper safety and social expectations.
Clearly, you will want to be punctual as bus drivers have stringent schedules to keep, and being able to keep your head in a stressful situation is crucial. As a bus monitor, you will more than likely require training in first aid, so being able to use this knowledge in emergencies is important.
You may be surprised at the opportunities that become available for those who build a good reputation as a school bus monitor. The ability to handle children appropriately and serve as a good role model can lead to a variety of opportunities.
Once you become known to school staff (and many bus drivers are teachers), you have a foot in the door to enter the substitute teacher program. From there, if you enjoy it, you could pursue education to become a licensed teacher and even work your way up to a principal!
If that’s not your style, impressing the transportation department can lead to roles rising within the facility itself performing maintenance, or even working your way up to a transportation supervisor or facility manager.
If you enjoy being the one to keep others safe, there are roles within security that could prove intriguing for you. You could become an officer and eventually provide services as a transportation officer.
Possessing maintenance or other supplementary skills can be useful, especially if you want to work toward full-time employment status or work your way up within the transportation facility itself.
Leadership and ethics are significant skills to have both to perform the job itself or to be considered for promotions down the line.
You will need knowledge of first aid in the event of emergency situations.
Most of the other skills that you need for the job can be learned from experience and on-the-job training.
While you do not need a bachelor’s degree or higher to acquire a school bus monitor job, many who hold these positions do. Having completed a college program shows that you are educated and are willing to stick to your commitments until you accomplish them.
As safety and supervision on buses are becoming a higher priority, there are bus monitor openings in all states. The five states with the most job openings are:
You can find success in any state, however.
While having the additional supervision of a bus monitor is ideal, sometimes budgets and other restrictions do not allow this benefit. It’s still important to make sure that kids are safe and are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there.
There are other options to improve safety and ensure that children are safe during transport.
Transfinder, for example, offers several electronic bus monitoring solutions.
With the ability for administrators to notice any unusual route activity or deviations and track buses and students, it’s the next best thing to having a bus monitor. Transfinder also has a variety of software and service features to track time and provide transportation logistics to ensure a smooth transition from the start to the finish of the journey.