Training to become a driving instructor, back to the very beginning
30 Years ago I qualified as a driving instructor, and spent 5 years teaching people the skill of driving. I loved helping people pass their driving test, it was a absolute buzz.
Training to become a driving instructor was the best thing I could have done at the time, because it got me away from working for others, and gave me the opportunity, and independence to make my own way through life.
Although I loved being a driving instructor, I found something I loved even more, which was business.
And for the last 25 years I owned, managed and been a partner in four businesses, and I continue to be a director of two today.
During those 25 years I’ve not been involved in teaching people to drive, but recently I volunteered to retrain.
I was asked by a good friend, and respected trainer to retrain as a driving instructor, purely to help them re-model their training plan, so I said yes why not.
But, what I didn’t know at the time is he wanted me to start from scratch, and that meant study preparation for the ADI part one theory.
Now, I thought I still had a good knowledge of the information an ADI needed to know, but after 25 years away from the job, it’s amazing just how much one forgets.
Anyway, I decided to go all in and planned to give myself four weeks of study before taking the test.
Now, four weeks is a demanding schedule, because when I trained 30 years ago, I spent 20 weeks preparing for the part one before passing the paper test in Leeds.
Armed, with all the usual books that you have to read, I wasted the first two weeks, and didn’t open any.
So, with the fear, not to mention embarrassment of failing the test, I knuckled down and spent a fairly intensive two weeks reading and practicing the online theory software the school had provided.
I managed to squeeze two hours into 6 evenings, and a 5 hour stint on a rainy Sunday. Yes, I know that’s not really intensive, but it was all the spare time I could allocate to study.
I went to bed dreaming about signs, markings, stopping distances, road procedure, and goodness knows what else.
Anyway the big day arrived and I wasn’t filled with confidence, but that said, even if I had given myself 20 weeks, I would have wasted most of that time doing everything other than study, and I would have still felt the same as I did.
A couple of hours later, I left the test center with a reasonably healthy pass. So, the big take from this lesson is don’t wait to get perfect, and definitely avoid given yourself 20 weeks to study, because like most people, you only need 4 weeks of fairly intensive study.
A big thing I learnt, was to stop wasting time sat in front of the telly. I would say many of us can find 3 hours a night to read just by not turning the telly on.
On to part two. Stu took me out on a two hour assessment, and gave me some pointers of what I needed to practice in my own car, before my second two hour session.
Another 2 hours later and I was taking the test. Strange turning up at the test center, and waiting for an examiner and praying that you pass.
Anyway, I passed but I did get one minor for hesitancy. Me, hesitant never. It’s weird why you do stuff that you wouldn’t do normally.
So, back to the present, and I’m starting preparation for the part three. I went out for my first session yesterday with Stu.
It was good fun, and brought back many good experiences, but, I knew straight away that it wasn’t going to come flooding back to me, and the worlds moved on, the new buzz word is client centered learning.
Basically, my understanding is that instead of telling the client what to do umpteen times and hope it sticks, we now have to find a method that helps them learn from their own experiences.
This involves asking thought provoking questions, and discussing the learners needs.
Training to become a driving instructor
Now I know from experience that many people who embark on training to become a driving instructor can find the part three overwhelming.
But, on a positive I think of it this way. If you had a big enough piece of land, a car you didn’t need ha ha, and someone who’s never driven before. You could throw the keys at them and say get on with it.
Now without help, over time most would learn to drive the car. Now put an experienced driver next to them, and they’ll learn much quicker.
Then put a driving instructor with them and they’ll learn even quicker. So, a driving instructors job is to teach a system developed by the DVSA, and manage the risk of the learning environment.
So, most drivers already posses some of the skills necessary to help people learn. But, the major skill is to learn the DVSA teaching syllabus, and the skills of good communication, listening,observing patience and understanding.
So, like with any new job, you have to learn a system or process, but most importantly you must want to become an expert of what you do, which means setting time aside to research and learn.
And, that is what I’ll be doing this week in preparation for my next lesson with Stu.
I’ll keep you informed of my progress, mistakes I make (which will be many) and my big learns as I go through the final part of the training.