I don't teach many learner drivers, in fact at present I have one student, most of my work is in ADI development and fleet work. As I spend my time delivering Standards Check Training, ADI development courses and Driving Instructor training, I was feeling the pressure to perform in a way that was a good representation of my knowledge and understanding.
I managed to convince my student to take the morning off work in return for 3, 1 hour driving lessons free of charge, well worth it in my opinion. I also had a backup student a friend of mine who is a FLH, in case my student let me down at the last minute.
The lesson before the Standards Check we were working on Clutch Control, Up/Down Hill starts and the Turn in the Road. During the lesson it became evident that my student was not using her mirrors consistently. During reflection at the end of the lesson goals were set for the Standards Check, developing the Turn in The Road, improving accuracy and using her mirrors more consistently.
The evening before the date my student text me " I am feeling awful, I have caught my boyfriend's cold but don't worry I won't let you down. See you in the morning." My heart stopped momentarily, but at least I had been pre-warned that my student may not have the concentration that I would expect from her normally.
The awaited day arrived and I picked my student up at 09.30. She was standing outside her house, nose and eyes streaming and coughing. I asked her if she still felt up for it and she said "Yes of course, provided we can stop if I need to blow my nose or have a coughing fit,. I didn't take any medication this morning as I would be driving" I reassured her that we could and we set off to the test centre.
On arrival at the test centre, my student chose to wait in the car while I went to meet the examiner. The examiner wanted to see my ADI badge and said that she initially thought that my ADI number had been printed incorrectly as it only had 5 numbers!! I told the examiner a bit of information about my student and had printed of a copy of the reflective log and mind map from our previous lesson so that she had an idea of what had been discussed and how my student had decided her goals for the lesson.
Once in the car, I asked my student to get herself comfortable and to tell me how she was setting her mirrors to gain the best view. I then asked her to tell me about her last lesson and referred back to the mind map and reflective log.
I then reaffirmed her goals with her. I asked her if she had ever had passengers in the car and how this may affect her when she is driving? I also asked her who was responsible for ensuring that her passengers are wearing their seatbelts and had their head restraints adjusted correctly? I then asked my student how much help she would like with the roundabout and junctions on route to site and she said that she would like to try them without help. I then confirmed this, and explained about the sharing of risk, pointing out that I had dual controls and that if I needed to use them. we could discuss the issue so that she could manage the situation better the next time.
OK so the goals were set, risk & responsibility sharing had been discussed and we were ready to start. I did this by asking questions to test her knowledge and understanding regarding her use of mirrors. I then asked her how much help she would like on the move, it was agreed that I would prompt her, in a way that would give her the reasons to check. This was agreed, as was her need to tell me if she needed to pull over to blow her nose or cough.
My student blew her nose loudly, apologised to the examiner and off we went. That's where the problems began!!!
On leaving the test centre car park, my student over steered and clipped the kerb, dealt with it on the move, turned left, emerged left, so far so good but did notice that my student was struggling to get her feet off the pedals cleanly.
Turned right at a roundabout, she was struggling a tiny bit so just asked her a couple of closed questions. As she accelerated and started to change up through the gears it became more apparent that she had not set her seat properly and was sitting too close to the pedals, we agreed to find somewhere safe to pull up and adjust her seat. We turned left from the main road and she took the turning so wide that we ended up on the wrong side of the road. I had risk assessed it before I allowed it to happen, we then pulled up opposite parked cars with a lorry coming into the junction behind us. I asked her if she was happy with where she had chosen to stop and she decided to move a bit further down the road to allow room for the lorry to get past us.
We then discussed her seat position and how important it is to get this right and also the left hand turn. All of this I could draw from her as I had allowed her to experience it safely. We also reviewed her mirror work as we had been working on this on route. I asked her if she wanted to work on her junctions now and if so we would put the turning in the road on hold till a later time. She wanted to work on the junctions, speed on approach and steering, this was agreed along with how much help she required from me. We set off.
The next junction was a give way, she was still doing this independently, as agreed, however her clutch went down far too early, the car too fast. I asked a question, Do you need to slow down to walking pace? I instructed 'Stop', I hit the dual brake. It was a closed junction with cars parked in the new road making it difficult to see, and she was going to emerge unsafely. We were emerging to the right and we had a car turning into our road from the left who had held back to allow us to get out of the junction. I got her out of the junction and asked her to choose somewhere to pull over. We discussed why this was a safer place than the last place she chose to pull over and then discussed the last emerge.
She said that she could see through the parked car's windows, that it was clear and that as the other car was waiting for her she needed to get out quickly. I challenged these beliefs through questioning and during the conversation she divulged that the reason the clutch was down too early was because she had a fear of stalling. We now had another conversation about the workings of the clutch.
So now we are working on turning left, emerging at closed junctions & mirrors. We have agreed that I would take some responsibility back by talking her through her junctions, and give back some responsibility by her using her mirrors independently unless I noticed that she wasn't using them, in which case I would prompt her.
OK, now everything was back under control, until I asked her to turn right at a 'Y' shaped junction, yes she took the left fork to turn right. Another conversation!!
Time was now ticking by and I had about 7 minutes to get back to the test centre, no choice but to emerge right onto a busy 'A' road. I talked her up to the junction and then asked her what she was looking for? and to tell me when she thought it was safe. I confirmed when she did and we emerged really well. From then on I agreed with my student that I would now only prompt her if required as we approached & emerged at junctions, she did really well until the final left turn, so I immediately jumped in again to keep her safe. This junction was very close to the entrance to the test centre car park which she needed to turn left into, I continued to talk her safely into the car park, but forgot to tell her we were turning left!! Hence I lost a mark.
Once safely parked up, I asked her how she felt the lesson had gone? Had she achieved her goals? Then filled out a new reflective log, What went well? What not so well? How can I improve? Then set goals for the next lesson.
The rest is history.