Haley Named Outstanding Trucker Buddy
“Our Trucker Buddy is John Haley. He has been partnered with my classes for nine years. Originally, he started with us in the middle of a school year because my previous Trucker Buddy had stopped writing to us (John is the 4th Trucker Buddy I have had since 1999). John stepped up, even though he was already partnered with another class. He was a great Trucker Buddy right from the start -- very personable, wrote in a way the students would understand, and seemed genuinely happy to be our Trucker Buddy.
Since that first year, John has continued to stay with my classes and has developed a great relationship with my students. He tries to visit every year and has only missed once; after the one miss, he came the next year and made sure to visit with the previous year's class as well. When he visits, John comes to our classroom and talks with the students, usually telling us where he has been and hearing from each of my students. Then, we go outside and he takes us on a tour of his truck, telling us about all the parts, placards, etc. He patiently answers all the questions my students have and even puts a little humor in to our meeting. Previous years' students always get excited when they see his truck parked on the side!
Throughout the year, John sends us post cards, telling us where he is, what he is hauling, interesting things he has seen, answering students' questions, and asking some of his own. He even takes time to write each student individual post cards during the year. John also sends us letters and packages during the year. He never forgets Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day for the students. He also has started coloring contests where he supplies a color sheet of a truck (which he tells us about) and contest prizes (usually new markers, crayons, colored pencils, etc.). My students love getting packages from John! He has also provided us with atlases, placard emergency books, state magnets, and bookmarks.
When he was hauling liquids, John would educate my students on placards. He sent us a book, so we could look up any numbers he wrote about or that we saw on our own. He explained the reason for placards and the procedure if there were an emergency on a truck with placards. When my students were on the road for field trips, I would often hear numbers being shouted out of placards they saw; I would make a note of them and we would look them up back in the classroom. I even had to create a signup sheet so students could take turns looking up all the numbers they saw outside of school time. One student brought in his own book from his grandpa who was a trucker. Other students' dad told me he had taken a book on a family road trip thinking he would teach his family about placards; instead, his son and daughter (who had been in my Second Grade classes) told him all about placards!
Now that John has a Smartphone, he has been sending emails and pictures of his trucking more frequently. My students love receiving emails from him. They always have important things they need to tell him, too, in reply messages.
I have my students write pencil and paper letters to John about once every two months or so. They have learned the letter writing process, how to use their best handwriting, and sentence structure through the Trucker Buddy program. We have also learned map skills by using the atlas and Google Maps, as well as many other Social Studies benchmarks. I would say the Trucker Buddy program is a very valuable part of my curriculum.”