Wednesday 11 August 2010

They don't teach you that...

The training to become a driving instructor is tough and the amount that you have to absorb is considerable, which probably explains why only 30% of those who start out manage to qualify .  However the one thing that they don't teach you is how to cope with and react to the success or failure of your pupils when going for test. 

While you are out on test the poor instructor is either left at the test centre worrying about how you are doing or sitting in the back watching - and worrying about how you are doing!  I don't know which I prefer but probably sitting in the test centre?  Usually there is at least one other instructor going through the same hell as me.

Sitting there on edge, watching for my car to come round the corner at the end of the road, heading for the likely final manouevre, the bay park, before the test is over and the result is known.  Then, standing by the entrance watching (or listening) for the tell-tale signs.  Will it be a big smile, a scream of delight or a hung head?  And believe it or not, sometimes I can't tell.  And whatever the result and whatever the reaction, I go through it too.  If you pass, I am over the moon, for you and for me.  You have achieved what you have set out to achieve and I have helped you to get to that point. 

If you fail I am genuinely devastated for you.  I admit I find it difficult to remain detached as learning to drive is a journey that we have literally been on together.  I have been known to shed the odd tear as well because I know how much passing means to you.  It is at this point that meaningful words usually fail me.  I can,and will, talk incessantly on the journey back from the test centre but I recognise that none of it really has any effect and it is not until the emotion has died down that we can begin to look at, and understand, what went wrong.  That's why the post-test debriefing by the examiner is so important for you and me.  Without it, we don't really know where to start so always ask for it and request that your instructor be present (if they are not already). 

I also understand the desire to give up and the belief that you'll never pass.  No matter how true that feels at the time, everybody has the ability to pass, even Ozzy Osbourne (and it took him 18 attempts!)  So all my words and sympathy if you do fail are really for one purpose - it's to say "Don't give up" - keep on until you do pass; it will be worth it.


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