Many newcomers to this blog probably aren’t aware that up until just under a year ago I was still in my main profession. A Qualified Driving Instructor – or ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) as the Driving Standards Agency call us.
When we moved to Crewkerne last June, Ross and I agreed that I should give the blogging a go as a full-time earner. I guess I didn’t fully understand the implications at the time but I was getting sent many opportunities including reviews and sponsored posts. At the beginning of the year I explained how I felt like I was losing control of my blog and I felt like it wasn’t my voice anymore. I feel like I have got my control back and am doing the things I wanted to do – like PoCoLo, Prose for Thought, the newbie showcase and the fairly new #SoFoLo, and making time to read other peoples blogs.
I don’t want to be scrabbling over posts with other bloggers, trying to earn a living. I miss the rewarding feeling of seeing someone pass their driving test, knowing that when I first took them out, many of them hadn’t even sat in a drivers seat before. So, I am going back to being a part-time Driving Instructor in the Crewkerne area, with the nearest test centre being Yeovil.
Yeovil isn’t an easy place to drive by any stretch of the imagination. There are a few large roundabouts with many lanes which make them very tricky. I am confident of rising to this challenge though! I will be working 4 days a week whilst Grace is at school so it means I can still be there for her and Ross AND still be there for my blog!
I first became a Driving Instructor back in 2004. I left my office job and went to work for a driving school in Farnborough on a pink badge, known as a PDI (Practicing Driving Instructor). It wasn’t easy. I had to take 3 tests. The first was a theory test of 100 questions together with a hazard perception test. The next part of qualifying was a driving test. This lasts for an hour and includes all the manoeuvres. I partly thanked the fact that I have a full motorcycle licence which, I believe, helped me with my observations. Finally, I had to take an Instructor test where the examiner pretended to be a student and I had to teach them a set subject. This was not easy. I went off to Ireland to train after failing my first two attempts (you get three and, if you don’t pass, you have to start the qualification all over again). I found a wonderful trainer in John Farlam who runs SmartDriving and, thanks to him, I passed as a Grade 5/5 (you had to get at least 4/4 to pass and 6/6 was the highest).
After that, I went on to start my own school and used to work 7 days a week with around 40 students on my books. I taught around Guildford, Woking, Aldershot and Farnborough. My hours from Monday to Friday were 8 am until 8 pm, 9am until 5pm on Saturday and 10 until 4 on Sundays. Phew!
I carried on teaching when I was pregnant with Grace and only finished the Friday before she was born on the Tuesday. I dabbled in going back when Grace got old enough, but then we moved in with Ross and the commute to Grace’s school was around 45 minutes each way. I was lucky to teach some lovely people but it meant I got burned out!
Instructing has it’s challenges. Believe me. These are mainly down to other fully qualified drivers who are far too impatient. My student stalls, they toot their horn at my students, I try to help them remain calm, the student gets worked up and stalls again and so begins the circle! I wish people would realise that their actions only makes things worse! I tend to turn most things into a joke and I never shout. Ever!
I have taught many people from all walks of life. I have taught a very famous film star’s daughter to drive, I have taught a young lady who is deaf, I have taught lots of sets of twins and I have even taught my own brother and sister. It takes patience, dedication and a sense of fun. I am a firm believer of making sure that my students understand that driving is a skill to be mastered, treated with respect and, above all, enjoyed. I also stand by the ethic that I like to set down firm foundations in their driving in which to build upon so nothing comes crashing down, into, or around you!
When I initially started this blog I used to write a Monday Motoring column. I will be sharing some of those again as I make my way back into teaching. As well as that, I shall be starting to share stories of some of my time on the road this time around, including more tips and new successes.
I am pleased to say that I will be working for a franchise called ‘Ask’. Through them I shall get the marketing and support I need, plus I will be getting a lovely new Fiesta, especially sign-written with my name on it! This takes some of the extra pressure off of me.
Driving Instructing doesn’t mean that this blog will be neglected either – there will be NO tumbleweeds rolling across this space! – it just means that I will be managing my time in a different way. And, because I am self-employed, it means I can still take up post opportunities and reviews and I can call the shots on when I take my time off and still be able to attend those all-important blogger events!
If you are in the Crewkerne, Chard or Yeovil areas of Somerset and are looking for a female driving instructor, then please give me a call on 07799 416255. Quote the reference VERILY DRIVING and I will give you your first lesson free!
I am so excited to have made this years finals of the MAD Blog Awards in ‘Most Innovative’ once again and would love the chance to win my category this year. If you would like to support me then please go to http://www.the-mads.com/vote/ and choose ‘Vevivos’ in the drop down menu. Also, if you would be kind enough to vote for me in the BiBs, my chosen categories are on my side bar to the right, near the top. Just click on those to take you across. Thank you so much for your valued support 🙂 x