A career as a driving instructor can be enjoyable and rewarding, teaching people an important life-skill that will give them a sense of freedom like no other. It’s no wonder that so many individuals pursue a career in instructing, with 39,195 approved driving instructors currently on the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) register.
Since there’s so many instructors in the field, it’s more important than ever to obtain gleaming testimonials from your pupils, as many of your clients will have heard about your services through recommendations — be it online, or through old-fashioned word of mouth.
So, what’s the difference between a mediocre driving instructor and a good one? In order to leave a positive, lasting impression on your drivers, we’ve compiled a list of desirable qualities that make for being a good driving instructor. So, to find out if you have what it takes to become a driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School, for example, read on.
If you’ve ever gone for a drive with your parents in-between lessons, you probably quickly realised just how patient and cool-headed your instructor really is. In times when your mum holds onto the door handle in fear, and throws multiple instructions in your direction, your driving instructor will keep cool, calm and collected, talking you through some helpful steps, to remedy your driving dilemma.
The exciting and challenging thing about working with learner drivers is that no two will be the same. You’ll have a range of different confidence levels and abilities sat in the driving seat next to you, some of which will require more time and patience than others. By using a mixture of encouragement and constructive criticism, you’ll see that anyone can learn to drive and it’s your job, as a driving instructor, to make their learning experience as enjoyable as possible.
Just like there are examinations that a learner driver must revise for and take, driving instructors have to go through rigorous theoretical and practical tests before they become qualified. This includes mastering the ins and outs of the highway code, the car itself and being an extremely proficient driver, so that you are prepared to answer any of the questions that your pupils may throw in your direction.
Additionally, tests can change, so it’s important that instructors keep up to date with developments in these examinations, that could require additional knowledge to be obtained. For example, in 2017 the practical driving examination changed, to include new manoeuvres and incorporate a sat nav, so that learners are prepared for day-to-day modern driving.
Be personable and have excellent communication skills
The average driving lesson lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, so it’s vital that you’re able to build a professional, but friendly relationship with your pupils, to ensure that they’re comfortable during their lessons. Whilst you don’t want to divert the learner’s attention from the road by conversing whilst they’re trying to concentrate, getting to know them by making conversation (when it is appropriate to do so), will make lessons more enjoyable and comfortable for your pupil.
It’s also vital that you have exceptional communication skills and are able to vocalise instructions clearly, explaining the process and guiding the learner through their drive confidently. If you trip over your words or communicate something incorrectly, then the learner could become confused and stressed, which could hinder their driving.
If you have fond memories of learning to drive, it’s likely that much of this is because you had a great driving instructor, who made you look forward to each lesson. The qualities listed might seem obvious, but they could be the difference between an enjoyable driving experience for learners and an experience which fills them with dread.