Sunday, August 24, 2014

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Will Rogers

I enjoy spending time in thoughtful reflection before I write this blog each week.  I try to think about ways that teachers and other adults within the school setting can impact the students in a positive manner.  The idea for this particular blog presented itself during some golf matches this past week, as the team and I were traveling to several golf courses far away. Since I have been coaching for over 30 years, I have known most of the school bus drivers for years, and I always enjoy the chat time with the driver after our team meeting on the bus.  

While traveling to a match, it suddenly occurred to me that the bus driver is the first face of the school district for every student on that very important first day of school.  A bus driver, like a teacher, has one chance to make a good first impression on the students, as the driver represents not only himself, but also the school district.  The driver can influence each student's day in a positive or negative manner, first thing in the morning every single school day. I view that as a very important job, and I talked with one driver I have known for years about his position. He told me that he has a regular middle school run during the school year, and that he decorates the inside of his bus for every holiday. He organizes students with a seating chart on the first day, and establishes the rules of the bus.  He even makes little personalized antimacassars (coverings)  for each seat with the child's name draped on his or her seat.  He knows every child by first and last name, and he has minimal discipline problems.  I attribute good student behavior to the personal connection Bob has made with each child, as well as the fact that he is so positive and makes each child feel special.  If I were in middle school, I would want him to be my bus driver.

When I was in elementary school, my bus driver was one of my favorite people in the world.  I even invited him to my house, and through the years, Bill and his wife Helen became two of my parents' closest friends.  Bill and Helen had no children of their own, and they spent many holidays and Christmas days at our house.  I have fond memories of getting on the bus each morning and afternoon, knowing that Bill would be there, taking care of all of the students, singing and smiling and joking with us as he drove.  He was such a positive daily influence. . 

I write about being positive quite a bit, as I try to live by my philosophy of choosing to help others and choosing to be happy, as each person has a direct influence on others.  I choose to make my influence positive.  It is worth noting that each time you meet a new person, in a school setting or beyond, you have only that brief moment to make a first impression. Just like the bus drivers Bob and Bill,  try to make your first impression be a positive one.

Rittman Publishing, LLC

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