For those who love their cars, driving around the roads, and enjoying the outdoor scenery, it’s easy to be attracted to a driving instructor career. Working your own hours, and being paid for something you love to do. Then having the added advantage of job satisfaction, each time one of your pupils passes their test. Seeing people on the road, knowing that you helped them achieve that.
As with everything in life, the good careers always come with a package. You have to find something that gives you a balance between the good and the bad.
The following are some considerations that the glossy newspaper ads leave out.
Repetition, for many is tedious. Having a driving instructor career can be even more tedious. You’re going to have pupils who need constant reminding of things they do that are going to take an impact on them passing or failing their test.
It’s your responsibility to ensure they get there, and that often involves them making the same mistake, time and again, with you repeatedly telling them what they’re doing that they shouldn’t be. You have to repeat yourself continually, drumming the message into your student. All that time, you’re going to have to be nice about it, and not let your frustration show, when you feel that they just aren’t paying attention to what you’re instructing them to do.
Working your own hours is fine, but part of that involves working the hours that suit your pupils as well. They’re the people paying your wages. Therefore, while you’re in employment for yourself, you’re also under the rules of your pupils. That means turning up on time and giving them a full one-hour lesson. If someone is scheduled for a 9am driving lesson, you have to be at their door for 9am sharp. You don’t want a reputation for keeping people waiting.
When people pay for an hour, you need to give them that hour. Quite often, you’re going to be longer than that, when you take into account the time you spend briefing them at the end of the lesson.
The DVLA don’t make this part of your career easy. Anyone who has held a clean driving licence for long enough, can teach a provisional licence holder how to drive, with a couple of stickers, displayed on their vehicle.
When you’re out on the roads, look at how others are driving, and you’ll see the mistakes you have to unteach some of your pupils.
Then there’s the issue of proper footwear. As a driving instructor, part of your role is to advise on the best footwear for driving. Don’t be surprised to have pupils jumping into the car with heavy work boots, or way to high heels on.
You can’t be shy about your opinion. When your pupils do something wrong on the roads, you have to take note of it, for the briefing at the end of the lesson. Sure, you can correct them during the lesson, and ask them what they did, so they can acknowledge the mistake themselves, but you also have to drum that in at the end of the lesson.
These are the good aspects of the lesson, whereas, for next week’s lesson, we need to focus on…
Your pupils count on you for your expertise. You can’t go getting the hopes up of your student, assuring them they’ll pass no problem, then drive away having a chuckle to yourself, knowing it’s never going to happen. You have to keep your pupils updated on their progress and advise on the time you think it’s going to take them to get to test level standards.
That can sometimes mean a lot of lessons. If you think it could be close to a year, you’re best to be honest and upfront, letting your pupils know that they’ve a lot of work to do. What you can’t do either is milk it and be dishonest. Suggesting someone needs 50 lessons, when 30 would suffice. It’s your reputation. Not just your income.
You need to be honest and maintain your integrity, while at the same time being subtle with your students and propelling them with encouragement.
Driving is an unpredictable business. You never know what’s going to happen next. Accidents happen every day and you have to be alert to everything that goes on, both in your vehicle and around it.
Dual controls are great for security, knowing that you can stop the car at any point should it be required, but there is such a thing as being over cautious. You’ll do nothing but frustrate your pupils if you’re constantly on the brakes, leaving them wondering why the car isn’t responding to them.
Trust plays a major role here. It’s at your discretion which roads your pupils drive on. The early stages should be somewhere quiet and not a built up area, with traffic coming and going in all directions. You need to consider the skills you’ve taught your pupil and adjust your route, to your expectations of their skills.
If there’s one frustration, certain to infuriate any driving instructor, it’s cancellations. It’s going to happen. You’ll have your diary booked up, next thing the phone rings, and someone’s getting their hair done, or not going to be back from shopping on time. That’s money straight out your wages. You can’t ring someone else up and fill the slot, as you’ll probably have another scheduled in for after the one that’s been cancelled.
You’re left sitting around for an hour, twiddling thumbs, furious that you’ve just lost an hour worth of wages. The more it happens, the worse the feeling.
As frustrating as the career of a driving instructor can be, , you can never let it influence you on the job. You have to be constantly sharp and on the ball. Being patient and understanding with your pupils, and not getting frustrated with them as they make the mistakes, they’re sure to make.
It’s part of the learning process.
The unknown of what that mistake is going to be, makes it so nerve wracking for most.
Is a driving instructor career for you?
It may just be. Living on the edge of the unknown can be adventurous for some. For others it can shatter your nerves.
One thing’s for sure though and that’s the job satisfaction is there for the people who can handle this line of work. Taking your pupils through their driving lessons, teaching them how to navigate the roads safely and see them pass that driving test, and onto the roads without your supervision.
That’s job satisfaction, for those who pursue a career as a driving instructor.