My First student on a proper driving lesson
Well, today I took my First student for a proper driving lesson, no role play, the real thing.
My Student was a young man who had been near test standard 5 or more years ago but hadn’t driven since.
So, my plan was to pick him up and drive him somewhere quite to get him started, after all he’d probably be very rusty & would appreciate starting from a easier location than in a busy area of Hull.
I was apprehensive because it was my first time instructing after more than a 25 break, and I also had the eagle eyed Stu sat in the back to evaluate my performance and offer recommendations.
As it turned out Stu proved he was also useful as my personal assistant, responsible for passing my training workbooks from the back seat when I needed them.
Next time I’ll get him to fetch the starbucks 🙂
After meeting my student and explaining the plan to drive him to location, I asked him about his previous experience on the way, and why he hadn’t taken lessons for over 5 years.
He was nervous, which was evident from his shaking hands, but I reassured him that the lesson would go well, and he would enjoy his time with me.
Having no previous knowledge of his ability, I asked if he had any concerns or worries from past lessons, and suggested we should start with a drive which would help him get used to the car as well as me and Stu.
We both agreed that was a good idea, and before getting underway I asked him if his seat and mirrors were adjusted correctly, and if he could recall where the blind spots were.
We then spoke about the balance of responsibility, and how much input he wanted and needed, and that that responsibility might alter during the lesson.
I also assured him that I had dual controls, but would only use them as a last resort, and if I did use them, I’d let him know, and we’d pull up and talk about it.
He asked for a dry run through the gear box with the engine off, and I also suggested he take a few attempts at finding biting point with the engine running.
Ok, “ready to move” Yes, “then move away when it’s safe please was my instruction.
I was prepared for him to stall (negative) but he moved the car with very little problem. “well done”, I said “that was nice & smooth” (early praise).
After 8 minutes of driving a fairly basic route we pulled over to the left. This was my chance to workout the lesson plan.
His driving was as expected rusty, but it was his driving position that was my first focus and in need of immediate attention.
He drove way too far to the right, and a mile away from park cars, which left oncoming vehicles needing to move to the left.
He also had a habit of cutting left turns resulting in the rear wheel nearly mounting the kerb on several occasions.
Time for Mr fix it, ta dah.
Right, I said; “How do you feel that went.
“I was a bit scared he said but it wasn’t as bad as I expected”.
“Yeah, I completely understand why you would be scared after 5 years, but you did well, your move away was good, as was your gear changing” I said.
“What do you think about your driving position” I said, “especially during normal driving, and passing parked vehicles”?
“I’m terrible with distance, and scared of hitting parked cars” he said
“Yes, I understand why you would be scared of hitting parked cars, do you feel you move further to the right to compensate” I said.
“I’m not sure how far I am from the left” he said.
So, we agreed the distance required from the left hand side of the carriageway, and an adequate distance from parked cars.
We also made sure we both agreed on a measure, for example I asked him what a meter looked like to him, He demonstrated using his hands with a gap of only half a meter, so that was a big learn for him.
We spoke about the result of being too far right or left and the danger of colliding with other road users, parked cars and even the kerb.
We also spoke about cutting the left corners, and I explained why this happens, and the dangers of getting it wrong .
“So, if we were to go back over that route again, how would you handle it differently?” I said.
He explained what he would do differently, and we agreed on his aims and objectives for the lesson.
After the lesson I reflected on my performance with Stu. We agreed it went pretty well, my student gained in confidence and ability, and I felt I’d done an okay lesson.
Sure, I was in control of the lesson, but I felt my communication skills needed work, and I also knew I needed to involve my student more, giving him an input in the lessons direction and content, and allowing him a more active role in the decision making process.
This was also confirmed by Stu after the lesson.
So, the big take from today’s lesson is communication, it’s a two way thing. I should treat the lesson more as a conversation in which my student and I talk about their goals, and how between us we can acheive them.
Until the next outing