When the sc was changed a few years back it came at exactly the wrong time for me, my mother was deep into Alzheimer’s and caring for with my family was - let’s say challenging - I was slipping into a kind of depression. Anxiety had got the best of me and although I wouldn’t say I have anxiety issues everyone who knows me says I worry too much - and they are right.
I’m one of those been around for years ADI’s I had become good a teaching people to drive and got 6’s on the old check test. The grade give me validation I was proud of it partly because I came the bottom of the class in school at everything except art strangely enough.
So when they moved the goalposts I was emotionally charged because teaching driving was the only thing I had ever been even a bit good at and I had grades to prove to myself I had some value. (Sick in know) (Embarrassingly I even put my grade on my car) wow, I’m really ashamed of that now.
Anyway I did what I could ,which wasn’t that much to resist the changes in the new SC. I complained to anyone who would listen and plenty who wouldn’t.
All to no avail of course. When my new style SC came I barely just scraped by with a B. That B hanged around my neck like an albatross despite some of my best work being in from the B grade period.
That grade was the catalyst for change I decided I was going to have to align my teaching with the DVSA criteria or get out and find something else I was not to good at instead. Partly because I couldn’t handle the stress of being assessed and I was worried failing would crush me
I went to three work shops in the five years between Sc’s bought an online training session it only cost me on average about £2 per week. I also looked for role models on Facebook and became facey friends who I had previously argued with on the platform. I listened to what they said and just as important what the didn’t
On the work shops and in those conversations it became clear to me that I didn’t have to sell my soul or personality to the devil in order to ‘conform’ or curb my strong Scouse sense of humour or accent, but actually when I learnt how to the interpret the Sc marking sheet only a few tweaks would bring my lessons more into alignment, none of those tweaks where very far from what I was doing on the old system anyway. I practiced those tweaks on lessons like my life depended on it.
If I can do - let’s say better than ok on a Sc I promise anyone can. I cant spell but I can read (I’d be too embarrassed to post this if there wasn’t a spell checker) I can’t do numbers, for example I couldn’t tell you the stopping distance at 30mph.
What I can do is be me, and strangely enough struggling at school I’m convinced made me a better instructor because I know how it feels to be the only one in class not to ‘get It’ and I have learned how to spot a good teacher from a bad one in 30 seconds or less.
I did good on my last SC and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious. I was, but less so because I understand the criteria better and when some of those words on the marking sheet were better explained in practical terms I knew I wasn’t to far away so the anxiety was manageable. The examiner said; “I have never seen a lesson like mine before, I was quirky and flamboyant in a good way” He also had lots of feedback for me to work on I didn’t agree with everything he said fully but he struck me as fair minded man and we agreed the marking was a fair reflection of the lesson.
In no way do feel finished I’ve always believed that the perfect drive does not exists - and so neither can the perfect instructor even the ones that get 51 But I’ve already booked in to a zoom meeting that cost me about £3 more than a driving lesson and intend to go further if only to help me sleep better at night.
Please don’t get too anxious about the SC help is out there of you reach out. You will have to be prepared to open the gates to your mind which as you know can only be opened from the inside.
I hope one person finds that useful.
Thanks for reading.
Guest Blog by James McAleer
You can find James on Facebook.