Even the most interesting in-services have critics, and understandably so. Over the years, drivers tire of the “same old stuff.” There are only so many ways to present the same information and still keep it interesting.
But there are ways to catch and keep the attention of even your most veteran drivers. Here are few tips from John Farr, transportation director at Oceanside (Calif.) Unified School District:
• Avoid lectures.
• Use films/videos sparingly.
• Whenever possible, invite outside experts to cover a topic. For example, we wanted to teach drivers how to handle a hostage situation so we brought in the hostage negotiation team from the local police department, who gave an excellent presentation, with liberal use of humor. A nearby district had great success by using an FBI agent for this topic.
• Hold in-services at unusual places. Take small groups of drivers on a bus ride to illustrate some driving skill.
• Have separate in-services for bus attendants.
• Hold a roadeo skill event that every driver must master.
• Have your fire department demonstrate how to use the bus extinguisher and have each driver put out a fire.
• Use breakout sessions so that some are geared to their interests, such as senior drivers, special ed, etc.
• Have middle-school assistant principals demonstrate middle-school student behavior on the bus (this can be very funny) and appropriate methods of dealing with the behavior.
Remember: We are competing with Steven Spielberg for their attention.