Monday, September 7, 2009

Rule #3 No Eating or Drinking on the Bus

This is a rule I don’t agree with and one that I have not enforced. My first students get on the bus at 6:45 A.M and ride for almost one hour before getting to school. Some of them come with breakfast items in hand that they did not get time to eat at home. One girl came last week with some Cheerios and milk in a zip lock bag. I have no idea how she consumed it.

For a year and a half at the end of each day I have swept out the bus, which usually includes a few wrappers off of food bars, drink cartons, a few crushed cookies and an occasional apple core or banana peel. I was OK with this until the other day when I found a fresh wade of gum on the floor in front of one of the seats. I don’t do gum.

The next morning I reviewed with my passengers the no food and drink rule #3. I reminded them that I had not been enforcing this rule and I really did not care to. I invited them to look on the floor at seat #24 and if the gum was not there it was probably on the bottom of one of their shoes. I displayed a medium sized clear zip lock bag and told them if the food related items that were found on the floor during the next week filled the zip lock bag then the no food and drink rule would go into force.

They were great. There is a wastebasket right by the driver’s seat where they can easily deposit their trash, leaving them no reason to throw it on the floor. By Wednesday I had two cheerios, two empty zip lock bags, and two gum wrappers in my zip lock bag. Even the gum at seat #24 was gone. On Thursday they had a relapse. My bag was half filled at clean up time.

Friday morning before we got to the school I hung my zip lock bag from the passenger mirror for all to see and reminded them that this was the last day and the bag was half full. Like the story of a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it--did it really make any noise? I considered no trash on the floor meant no one ate or drank on the bus.

That night as I swept out the bus there were two clear lollipop wrappers on the floor. What a relief. Surely I did not want to have to follow the no food or drink on the bus rule myself.

Mr. B