Friday, 10 July 2009

I Miss 'Em!

One of my favourites passed her test on Wednesday. First time too, which was nice. Rachel, for that is her name, was thinking before hand that she probably wouldn't pass first time as apparently most people don't, but she was properly prepared and breezed it! Although I was almost as pleased as she was with the result, I was more pleased the previous day, in her last lesson before test day, when she was driving around with fabulous, sensitive control and a clear knowledge of what she was doing. Bearing in mind that a few months ago Rachel couldn't set off without stalling (her first lesson) the change is amazing and consequently never ceases to amaze me in Rachel, or any of my other learners. The actual pass itself is occasionally tinged with sadness for me as whilst I'm always pleased for them, the pass also means I won't get to share time with them any more, as they progress with their driving career without me. As with many others, I've really enjoyed teaching Rachel to drive and will miss her.
That same afternoon though, I saw Tess, another of my previous clients who passed her test (also first time) in April. It was a completely chance meeting in Tesco car park but gave us a chance to chat and catch up. It was very rewarding to see her driving around and be able to think; "I made that possible". Still miss her too, though. Not to mention Ed, John, Andy, Zoe, Sarah and many others. Just in case any of you ever read this... Drop me a line and let me know how you're getting on...?

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Born To Teach?

Life as a driving instructor has its ups and downs, but on the whole, it’s great. I get on very well with most of my clients and we have a laugh or two whilst they learn how to drive. I really enjoy building a relationship over the time I spend with them, sharing the joy and frustration as they learn and struggle, and then learn some more, and sharing their elation as they pass their test (most of my passes are first time too, which is nice). Occasionally I get asked if I’ve thought about becoming an examiner. This is something I really wouldn’t want to do.
As a driving instructor, I get to know my clients and build something of a bond with them, sharing time in the car together, experiencing highs and lows of the learning procedure and ultimately the final high as they wave the pass certificate in the air and text all their mates on the way home. As an examiner I’d get to see a stream of individuals for 40 minutes each, half of whom (at York, pass rate is about 50%) I’d have to crush by telling them that they haven’t reached the standard this time. No banter. No sharing. No bonding. No learning. No fun.
As a driving instructor I sometimes conduct mock tests but at least at the end if it doesn’t go well I can go on to say
“Well, that wasn’t great, but now let’s go and fix it!”
I love the whole teaching thing of facilitating learning and seeing people do something that they couldn’t do an hour, a week, or a month ago. And then being able to think;
“I made that possible.” It’s a great feeling and very rewarding.
I get this in the dance world too. On the night the Engine Shed re-opened its doors to the salsa community, I had the pleasure of dancing with several ladies whom I have taught to dance and I delighted in every one of them. Even better when separately but on that same evening, two of the ladies concerned actually kissed me and thanked me for teaching them to dance. How good did that make me feel?