Do you live more than twenty minutes from school? Thirty? I live fifty minutes away.
When I started teaching at my school, I only lived eleven miles away. I love working there. In 2009, my husband and I bought a house thirty-five miles away. We wanted to live in the town we both grew up in so our children could go to our schools.
There are many staff members who live a distance. According to the 2010 United States Census, almost 10% of Americans commute for 60 minutes. That’s 120 minutes a day! For those of us who commute, we all talk about where we live and how great it is that we typically do not run into our students at food stores, Walmart, the mall, the beach (which is really awkward!).
To alleviate the long drive and spending money on gas I wanted to commute with someone. Three years ago, I started commuting with Dana. She is a business teacher in my school and lives within a few minutes from my house. We met at 6:15 AM and alternated who drove. We usually mapped out the week.
Then two years ago, we added a third commuting member. Laura is a special education math teacher and also lives really close to both of us.
Do you think this sounds like something you can pull off? This is what you’ll need:
1. Collaborate with a reliable person
2. If you live in Northern United States or Canada, driving with four wheel or all wheel drive is best. So find a partner with it! Better yet, find a partner that maintains their vehicle.
3. Similar schedules are helpful but not required. If someone has a meeting or commitment that person will drive separate.
4. You’ll need a meeting place that is safe and consistent to leave a car. You might have to get permission of the parking lot owner. There are many places that have commuter lots. You have to inquire about parking stickers and permits. We meet at someone’s house so this is not a concern.
Does this sound good so far? Here is why you should consider it:
1. Save money on gas and car maintenance. Now that I drive with a commuting group I only fill my SUV’s gas tank every ten days or so.
2. Save miles! This is awesome if you lease your car. If I was driving 70 miles round trip five days a week, that’s 350 miles a week! Drive twice a week with a commuting group you’ll only drive 140 miles.
3. Less stress! There are days I am a passenger and I can take a snooze, surf the web, answer emails, and look up dinner recipes.
4. The trip seems much faster. While driving with a colleague you can get some laughs, vent, or get some feedback.
5. I feel safe with others in the car. This is especially true while we commute home from conferences, parents night, or some evening event.
Here is a picture of us from the first day of school in September, 2014. We’ve been lovingly nicknamed by a colleague, “the BLONDEtourage.” And, I have to admit, I really like it.