At my crosswalk, cars come at us from three ways. The crosswalk button stops oncoming traffic from two ways but the other street, coming around the corner, doesn't give a good view of the light. Nevertheless, it is hard to miss 10 or 20 kids by a crosswalk.
When the children get to the light I motion them to wait until I see that most of the cars have gone by and then tell someone to push the button (in English! I'm sneaking in a little English comprehension that they don't know about!) After that, I wave my flag a little and have the children check both ways. Finally I blow my whistle and step into the crosswalk myself. Hopefully all the kids get across the street before the light changes back.
On Friday I went into my routine but as I stepped into the street a car coming from around the corner advanced to the crosswalk. He's supposed to stop. I waved my flag at him and he finally braked with his bumper nearly in the crosswalk. The school principal was with me that day and he held up the kids at the crosswalk. Wait a minute. Let's let these kids across. I motioned to the car to wait. The principal motioned for me to let the car go first. The kids were already halfway across the crosswalk and looking confused. The car advanced a bit further probably wanting me to get out of the way. I fumbled for a few seconds, car first? children first? but finally kept the car waiting and let the kids across. The car went on his way.
On Monday as I was just finishing my duties a car pulled up at the corner and a man rolled down his window.
"You don't blow your whistle loud enough. Drivers can't hear it. And your flag directions are too confusing. You've got to be clearer in your directing. No one knows if they are supposed to go or stop or whatever. What do you think you are there for?"
I thanked the driver for his advice and he went on his way. A little discouraging for me. I had thought I was doing so well... Friday's driver?
I spent a couple days thinking about the complaint. The driver has a point. If no one understands my directions then I'm not really fulfilling my duties. Regardless of who has the right away, me and my flag and my whistle are there to direct traffic and make it EASIER and SAFER for everyone involved. I vowed to improve my directing skills.
From Wednesday I've been out at the crosswalk waving my flag around like a mad-woman, shouting out directions and blowing my whistle loud and long!
"LOOK BOTH WAYS!!! LEFT!! RIGHT!! LEFT!! PWEEEEPPPPPP!!!!!"
One of the little girls told me that I sure yelled loudly.
"Well, someone told me I needed to be clearer in my directing. I want you all to be safe."
"Actually, you look sort of strange."
Ah well. Strange but clear.