What does a driving instructor do
The initial answer to this question is not to teach someone to pass a driving test but to drive safely. As a result of this they would then pass their driving test. We have an overriding moral duty to the pupil, ourselves and society in general to ensure they are safe. Nothing could be worse for an Instructor than to read that someone you have got through a driving test has been in an awful accident.
Most of us work with the normal learner driver. However some instructors go on to specialise in different areas depending on their own interests.
When we work, where and when is decided by how your availability fits in with the availability of your client. Some instructors work round their family commitments, others round their desire to play golf or the like.
In performing our tasks a professional instructor will deploy a variety of techniques. Which ones to use will be dependant on your client/pupil and the circumstances you find yourselves in. The skill of the instructor is in how these techniques are deployed to the individual client/pupil’s best advantage.
Your overall responsibility is safety. We discharge this duty by ensuring that the pupil and others are safe during their training. When the training has finished they have the knowledge and skills to be safe drivers.
You will have a responsibility to do this in a professional manner. You will be expected to present pupils to the driving test who are capable of passing. Your pupils with have the right to respect when they may be vulnerable and unsure. They have the right to confidentiality. Your role in society is an important one. Lives depend on it and how you discharge that duty.
In terms of work you will be responsible for your car. The outside is your shop window and the inside is you office. It will say a lot about you.
You will need to manage your pupils in a professional way. Be on time and do the time you are being paid for. Look after and be able to account for monies paid to you or that you may have to pay out. Both the Taxman and your pupil will expect accuracy.
You will need to make sure you have proper training materials and aids. Keeping up to date is a must.
Your pupils need accuracy and honesty from you. Telling someone they are not ready for a test is not always easy. If you are working for your pupils and doing you best they will recognise that.
As an ordinary driving instructor your most important relationships are going to be with your pupils, driving examiners and the general public. Your reputation will be everything. We have already touched on what the pupils might expect but what about the examiners or the general public?
Examiners have a right to be able to do their job safely. This means you have to present people to test who are capable of passing. If you treat the examiners with respect, you will find a friendly helpful professional.
The general public will want to use the roads without being greatly inconvenienced by learner drivers. Your knowledge of the area and the roads will allow you to choose accordingly. All learners assume that any sounding of the horn is directed at them. No learner has ever improved what they were doing by being tooted. One of the skills of an instructor is a choice of routes to match the pupils current level of ability.
Most instructors choose to work in groups for a franchise. In return for a fixed fee they should get support. This should include advertising materials, administration help, phones answered and new pupils when they need them. It is important to choose a school with a good reputation. Your reputation is partly dependant on theirs. You may be a diamond but hang around with carbon and you will be seen as carbon.
Besides the requirements listed in the section “Becoming A Driving Instructor” you should:
Be a people person. People are the most precious thing of all. Look after them and they will look after you.
Be able to do your best for them. The difference between a customer and a client is that with a customer you do the best for yourself. With a client you do the best for them. Your pupils should be your clients.
Adapt to your pupil. They are all different with there own way of seeing the world. Try to see what they see.
Think about what you do. We want drivers who can think for themselves. If we can’t think about what we do, how can we get others to think about what they do. Both pupil and instructor should be able to reflect on what was done and how it was done.
Have a balance in your life. We work to live not live to work. Family, hobbies, interests will enrich your life and give you a way to relate to your pupil. It’s a people business.
Be able to communicate. Remember its what is understood, not what is said that is important. We all understand things differently and your pupils will prove that to you.
It’s self employed. Keep records, sort the Taxman out.
Use time responsibly, both yours and the pupils.
Maintain your vehicle, training aids and knowledge at a professional level.
You will meet people in their richness and diversity. They will make your life interesting.
Adapt to your pupils but be professional. This is the trickiest one. As a new instructor you will want to be as open as possible to your pupils. Over a period of time you will learn when to say no.