Ah, yes. The schedule of a school bus driver, the split shift. To me, it’s a love/hate kind of thing.
Us school bus drivers work around the times children go to school and when school ends for the day, cuz you know, we bring them to and from school. This means we typically don’t work during the midday.
A typical schedule for a school bus driver is waking up early to begin work. I start around 6 am. High school’s and junior high’s/middle schools start early and will be brought to school first, then its the elementary students who start later in the morning. I don’t clock out until 9:45 am. Then, I go back to work to bring the students back home. When I’m doing a PM route I start about 1:30 pm. Again, High schoolers get out earlier than elementary. Depending on how many students to bring home and where they live, I could clock out at 3:30pm, or 5:30 pm.
So, that leaves a good chunk of time between shifts.
Here’s where the love/hate situation comes in. Everyone has their own preferences, these are mine.
I love the split shift because it gives me time in my day to do things, rather than having to wait after work 8 hours and probably will be tired by that point. I don’t sleep well at night, so I usually take a nap during my break. This is also when I would schedule doctor appointments, no need to worry about taking time off work. Grocery shopping is also done at this time.
I get to enjoy lunch at home. I don’t have to worry about either prepping my food to bring to work, or finding a place close by and have to scarf down my food within the time frame the company has given me. I get to take my time eating and prep and cook food leisurely at home when I want to make it. Even if I go out to eat for lunch, it can be a relaxing time instead of being rushed.
My son is in preschool and gets home about 12:30 pm. This means I am home to get him off the bus, instead of needing to rely on someone else to get him off the bus.
When I was in college, it was much easier to go to school while making a decent income because I could go to a class between shifts.
What I hate about the split shift is I have to motivate myself to go to work… again… in the same day. When you’re settled at home, it’s more difficult to get you going again.
Your day seems much longer. Starting the day at about 5:30 am and can’t be done as late as 6 pm can be a bit draining. This is why I usually take a nap.
You may have that midday break, but I have found it difficult to get more than only one task done. So, you gotta be choosey. Things like a doctor appointment takes most of your break.
The hours are sometimes not that great. We go by seniority and when you start out you get the slim pickings of routes. My first year I only got 5 hours a day with the am and pm route combined. Now on my third year, I have gotten to 7 hours a day. Would have been 8, but a student who lived far away dropped from my route on the first day of school, resulting in reduction of hours from my route.
Next school year my oldest son starts kindergarten. Unfortunately, I work during the hours he both goes to school and comes home. Someone needs to be here to get him on and off the bus. So, I’ll probably be working only one shift to get him on the bus, and when my husband gets home from work he’ll get him off the bus. There are alternatives that I can look into, whether it be with work (like doing charters to make up the lost route, or a mid route if I am lucky to get one next year) or perhaps paying someone to put him on the bus so I can work.