Thursday, 3 June 2010

Will I Ever Learn?

When, back in 1998, I first signed up to do an advanced driving course, my thinking was that I was already a pretty good driver but hey, I might pick up a couple of tips. The test of course, would just be a formality. The reality was somewhat different. There was a geat deal about driving that I hadn't previously considered and suddenly I was seeing so much more with my new, enhanced observation than I ever had before that I thought my head would explode from the intensity of it. The test itself was a not a formality and was if anything more gruelling than my original driving test.
The following year I joined up with York Advanced Motorcyclists to train for my advanced motorcycling test. This would of course be pretty straight forward as I was already an advanced driver. The test, so I thought, would obviously be just a formality.... Oh no. Once again my eyes were opened as my riding was dissected and reconstructed. I can particularly remember at one point I seriously wondered if I'd ever be good enough to do it, there was so much to think about and all at the same time! The advanced riding test, again, was no formality. Indeed at one point I thought I'd failed, though fortunately my examiner saw things more leniently and gave me a pass, albeit with a few words of caution.
In 2000 I thought I'd have a go at the RoSPA Advanced Motorcycling Test, thinking that with my IAM in the bag, this would just be a formality, especially as I'd now been observing for a year. Gutted I was, when the examiner returned a verdict of pass with Silver Grade! Silver Grade, I ask you, surely I deserved a Gold, but apparently not. Consequently I went away, did some hard training, and six months later was rewarded with the Gold pass I so desired. Curiously, with my newly found expertise, I could now see why I hadn't warranted a Gold on my ealier attempt.
Two years ago, in 2008, I started training as a driving instructor, with a change of career in mind. Three tests to take; Theory, Driving and Instructional. Obviously these would just be formalities, I mean, hey, with my background?
Actually with my background, you'd thought I'd have learnt by now that in fact I don't know everything about anything and in fact the training turned out to be more intense and brain-testing than I had ever envisaged. Nevertheless, the training was good, (I've always relished the challenge of training once I've acknowledged that I don't know it all already) and I passed all three tests first time.
Can anyone see a pattern building up here?
You'd really think that by the time I signed up last month for an AA Driving School DIT course, learning to train new potential driving instructors, I would have realised my limitations, but no. Not me (will I ever?). It'll just be stuff I do already, thought I. Once again, far from knowing it all before I start, I'm learning more about what I don't know already, and once again relishing the challenge and loving the training. Respect to Alan Esam who has put together and is running the course - it's great - difficult, challenging yet achievable, and I'm loving it, but it's certainly not the simple formality I was foolishly expecting. At the beginning of the course when we looked at personal objectives, one of mine was to be reminded that I don't know everything already. Nice one Alan, you proper sorted that in the first two days! Loving the course and can't wait for next week. Curiously, this time, now, I'm not looking at the final test of instructional abilty to be just a formality and consequently am putting serious effort into making sure I pass.
Maybe I'm starting to learn after all...

Friday, 7 May 2010

That's My Boy!

I don't think I've ever wanted to write my feelings down and record them more than I do this week; I feel so proud;
My eldest son Luca, now 4, this week took part with his fellow nursery-mates in skipping around a maypole erected in the school hall, and not having a driving lesson booked at the time, I went along with Trisha to see. I've never really witnessed Luca subscribe much to joining with group activities before so didn't really know what to expect. When I've occasionally taken him to nursery he'stendedto seek out something to play with then quietly get on with it himself. When he gets engrossed, he gets properly engrossed to the point that he's sometimes hard to reach. Is this normal for a four year old? I've really no idea as I have no previous experience to draw from.
Anyway, our first surprise, as Trisha and I walked into the hall to see all the children sitting quietly waiting for proceedings to begin, was that Luca was sat waiting as quietly as all the other children. He's not normally one for waiting quietly so this was a bit of a shock but it was so nice to see. Then when the teacher stood next to him told him we'd arrived and pointed us out, he stood and waved at us with such excitement and enthusiasm that my heart melted. Trisha's too. He then quietly sat and waited again until being led to the Maypole.
The children were to be dancing/skipping round in pairs and he'd told us he would be partnering Jessica, but no, there was Luca by himself and Jessica was with another little boy. Not left out though, one of the nursery teachers came and held his hand, ready to start. Then I found out why. As soon as the music started Luca shut his eyes and they remained shut while he skipped, circling around the pole for a couple of minutes until the music stopped. After a short delay whilst the children were regrouped to circle the other way, the music started again and sure enough, Luca skipped around the maypole with his eyes firmly and resoloutely closed, not to open again until the music was once again switched off and everyone came to a stop. Trisha asked him later if he had shut his eyes because he was concentrating really hard and he told us yes, though to be honest we're not really sure what was going on in his little head. Shut eyes or not however, Trisha and I are both incredibly proud to see our little Luca engaging in an organised group activity with other children and being incredibly well behaved throughout. Don't get me wrong, we didn't expect him to misbehave, but it was such a joy to see how good he was. If you're a parent yourself, I'm guessing you'll know just how I feel, if not then you're probably wondering what the hell I'm talking about. Beforebecoming a parent myself, I wouldn't have had a clue!