Children, Driving Lessons

Driving Instructor Living to Teach Driving for Life

Why I became a Driving Instructor

Back in the 1990’s I attended Teachers College to train to become a Primary School Teacher. Always having enjoyed sharing my knowledge with others plus the fact that I had two children at the time, it seemed like the right fit so that I could do something I loved while being available for my own kids after school and during school holidays.

Leaving study early due to financial stress and having to work to support my family – with the intention of going back to my studies once everything settled again. I never went back. Having completed about two thirds of my Bachelor of Teaching training. A couple of reasons for this. Firstly, I still needed to keep working. Secondly, I became disheartened with the education system as a whole (this was in Victoria, Australia at the time) as schools were being closed down all over the State, and the way that we were taught to teach did not sit with me ethically either. I would not have enjoyed teaching in the school system the way it was then and from what I hear, not much has changed.

I remained in sales for a couple of decades.

So I stayed in a retail job for a number of years before moving States and having to start over. Being told that I was too old to get a retail job in the area that I had moved to really knocked me for six! I was 29 at the time. I managed to secure employment as a Telemarketer and from there I remained in sales for a couple of decades. Anything ranging from Telesales to B2B sales, working for newspapers in a role of advertising sales, lead generation for a company and then as an Employment Consultant for a great company that assisted people with disabilities to find employment and then assist with their training on the job.

I went back to retail for a while after being an EC for just over two years – the travel to and from work was long, traffic was a nightmare and at the end of a long day, I found myself ‘micro napping’ at 100kph! Scary stuff!

My twin daughters turned 16 and sat for their Learner Driver License

Retail was a good fit for me as I love providing quality customer service and maintaining product displays, setting up for sales etc was always fun. Plus I got to go in, do my job and go home. With my children getting older, their demands for my time seemed to increase! Especially when it came to them having jobs and not being able to drive anywhere themselves.

Over time, hours in retail were becoming less and less frequent – which in itself isn’t such a bad thing but with a large house, kids who only worked casually themselves and unable to contribute to household costs which are always on the rise – I did find that I missed having cash flow to enjoy life.

My twin daughters turned 16 and sat for their Learner Driver Licence. Along with that came 2 log books, each of which needed 100 hours of driving experience logged in them. I had sat next to my eldest two children while they learned to drive a few years earlier so I was the brave one who helped my girls get those hours of experience behind the wheel. I must add though that I had been a little reluctant as driving with my other two children had certainly not been an easy thing to do! And I also waited until someone else (the son-in-law is awesome!) had checked that they were ok behind the wheel first before I really got the steel pants on and kept going!

I made sure that my girls got real life experience behind the wheel

Once we got going with our driving ‘lessons‘, allocating time and sharing myself equally between my two girls I really enjoyed planning different places to go to make the drive interesting and educational for them both. Sometimes only a half hour trip or an hour return, when time permitted longer drives were on the agenda.  We went up mountains, to beaches, through busy ‘city-like’ areas. We visited friends and family and sometimes just drove half an hour out from home and half hour back again.

No matter what the weather, what the time of day I made sure that my girls got real life experience behind the wheel.

The girls both promised me that even when they got their licence that they would still go out on drives with me. Mmmmm …….has not happened! Of course I did not expect it too as they move on with their lives, I got busier doing my own thing.

I realised as my daughters were driving throughout their lessons (and later their test) that I would love to keep driving and teaching

Never had I thought about becoming a driving instructor before in my life. I hadn’t even looked into it as a career option, leaving it to the ‘brave’ experts! But when I took my girls to a driving school to get ready to book in for their driving test, I was allowed to sit in the back seat while they drove as my girls were very anxious about being in the car with a stranger for starters as well as being nervous about driving a car other than their own.

Realising as my daughters were driving throughout their lessons (and later their test) that I would love to keep driving and teaching. It combined the fact that I love sharing my knowledge – Teaching – and I also love driving! One job I had for a while had me on the road driving for up to 6 hours some weeks to reach a destination. Getting that job because I had included my love of driving on my resume. I had also heard of teens putting fake hours in their log books, kids who would be on the road with mine without getting the necessary experience. I wanted to be a part of the prevention of teen crashes with good driver education.

Not a day goes by where I am not eager to get out of bed to go to work

I chatted with the instructor, a really nice bloke, about how to become qualified to teach driving. He told me about the certificates and licences I needed and I was stoked to realise that I only had to study one Certificate IV as I already had the other necessary requirements from when I had been an EC!

I did the theory, was fortunate enough to get practical on-road training with the instructor at the Driving School and was also offered employment as an instructor using vehicles provided by the school to teach students to drive.

Not a day goes by where I am not eager to get out of bed to go to work. I love what I do and hope to continue doing it for many years to come. The feedback I have had from students is awesome too. They feel relaxed and calm with me sitting next to them and I always have an alternative way of explaining or showing them what to do if they do not understand the first time. They love that I do not yell or make them anxious while they find their way on our busy roads. The smiles and appreciation after every lesson is delicious!

not all families can afford the cost of the lessons

I have a massive goal of being able to help underprivileged new drivers get the supervision and experience necessary to be a safe driver. Driving lessons are an investment in their education but not all families can afford the cost of the lessons. These kids are being left behind, and some are even going for their driving test numerous times before passing which is not only a financial kick but it really affects their self esteem.

I am working towards a way that I will be in a position to help these young people. I will share how it all goes right here in the not too distant future.

 

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4 Comments

  1. When I took my two oldest out for driving practice, I had to stop myself clinging to the sides of the seat and pretended to be calm. I think I was more nervous than they were. With your love of driving and teaching this sounds ideal for you. I’m pleased you found something that suits you so well.

    I look forward to hearing your plan for helping young people who can’t afford driving lessons.

    1. Hey Sue!

      Haha! Obviously my business depends on parents like you! I do love what I do and I am pleased to say that my students do to. Finally finding a perfect balance in my life is the best feeling! I now get time to walk my dog, clean my house (Yes I missed doing this!) and cook for my family more than once a week.

      I will be sure to share my plan for helping young people with their driving lessons very soon :)

  2. I love the fact that you want to help those less privileged, Sonia. I admire that greatly. It’s so refreshing to hear someone talk about giving something for no return. It will come back to you ten fold, I can assure you!

    Enjoy the journey!

  3. Hi Sonia!
    Love, LOVE, love, how your blog is coming along but how I pick up your energy for living, doing, sharing, teaching, and I think you just shine … it’s very exciting to see what you’re doing :-)

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