Preparing Students for the World Beyond
We frequently urge school transportation professionals to see themselves as an integral part of the education process. At the same time, I often become aware of drivers’ reluctance to comment on students’ inappropriate communications, disrespectful behavior, and failure to follow the rules. Sometimes that reluctance is the subject of court cases that have led me to say, often, “Doing nothing is never the right thing” when students bully or harass other students. “Doing nothing” is certainly “never the right thing” when students fail to follow essential rules of conduct that are directly related to the safety of everyone on the bus – rules as basic as staying in their seats while the bus is moving.
I offer new evidence for the importance of drivers’ playing an assertive role when students’ words or acts warrant intervention. Survey results released on June 11, 2013 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicates that employers across the nation are dissatisfied with this year’s college graduates’ perceived job readiness. The biggest complaint by those companies that are seeking new employees was that graduates lacked “professionalism” or “work ethic,” a deficiency listed by half of those surveyed.
Precursors of both professionalism and work ethic include accountability and social responsibility. I’m increasingly sure from reading, observing, and intuiting that many adults in students’ lives today do not insist on compliance with high standards – whether those be high standards for responsibility within a family, for academic accomplishment, or for relationships with their peers. What about your drivers? Another slogan I’ve adopted over the years is “Silence is permission.” Encourage drivers – indeed, all the adults over whom you have influence – to speak up when student conduct warrants it. We’ve got to do a better job, as a society, of helping to prepare our students for life after school. School transportation professionals can play a role in this process.