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Old 30-10-17, 12:36   #21
coolaideonfire
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In the UK, you need a provisional license to learn to drive, then you can either learn privately with someone you know who is over 21 years old who has held their full license for at least 3 years (usually a parent or family member), or with a driving instructor. Many people do a mix of both - learning with family/friends, as well as with an instructor.
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Old 10-03-18, 19:09   #22
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Uggh, I need to vent a little bit. I've just discussed this a little with my dad, and my friend, who completely agree with me. I've been having driving lessons, about 14 hours so far, and I've block booked 2 sets of 10 (on the second set, 4 hours in), I've been having very light internal thoughts about a desire to change instructor, but felt guilty for having them, in some way being disrespectful to my driving instruct (whom I get along with) if I do. I have another 2 hour lesson tomorrow, and another next week (2x2 hours) which should conclude this block booking. I feel like after that, I NEED to swap driving instructors.

Here's why:

She's actually good at instructing, she is very good at pointing out my driving flaws from the get go, which in turn makes me feel a bit more cautious about my errors. However, there a some points that are really making me consider leaving.

1) She's occasionally late. Today she was an hour late, which wasn't too much of an issue, but I had commitments afterwards, and I was pressed for time. She didn't notify me until the start time that she will be half an hour late, which turned into nearly an hour late... This isn't really to much of an issue for me as it's the weekend and I have a bit of traffic understanding, but since I was pressed for time, it did annoy me. EDIT (if you read below, the traffic doesn't seem to be the cause of the lateness, something far less credible)

2) She's completely disorganised with her bookings. She teaches both manual and automatic. However the lessons are managed poorly, like she would have a manual student, then an automatic and then a manual etc. And the lessons are head to tail booked, (i.e, the next student is picked up before the previous student is dropped off), thus the beginning of the lesson usually consists either me driving with the previous student in the back of the car, (or the previous student driving me), often in the wrong car type, whilst we all go back to the driving instructors house to swap cars suited for my lesson. Then the lesson begins in the right car, and we have to drop the previous student off before continuing with the lesson plan. Then near the end of the lesson, we have to pick the next student up (either they drive, or I do, depending on how long I've been driving for in the lesson) and I get dropped off. This usually results in me being in the car for way over the time period of the lesson itself (yet I'm sat in the back). I am going to pinpoint this as being the cause of lateness, and there's no cool down period for my driver to get organised for the next lesson. Also, because of this, some of the lessons can feel very vague. An example of this is today:

Because she was almost an hour late to begin this lesson today, I insisted on being dropped off at home exactly after 2 hours (the lesson duration), I said I need to be home no later than 2:20, because I had a commitment at 3. She was perfectly fine with this, however, there was some accommodations to be made to fit this in with her next student. She basically arrived in the Automatic from the previous student (whom was still in the car at the time), so I drove the automatic back to the instructors house to switch. We then changed car, whilst the instructor briefly went into the house, I spoke to the previous student. Found out it was her first lesson, and she jokingly told me that the instructor accidentally arrived with the wrong car for her lesson, so they had to go back and change, hence why she was an hour late (my driving instructor blamed it on the traffic). Once swapping back to a manual car for my lesson, we drove the previous student back to her house, eating into the lesson time. We then had a super condensed lesson in the manual, before having to drive back to the instructors house to change back to the automatic (half way through the 2 hour lesson), in order to accommodate the next student who is learning in an automatic. We then shortly after picked up the next student. The next student was in the car for a total of almost an hour, as I had an hour left before my lesson was due, so we took a really alternative route back to my house, down (relatively fun) windy roads, and my first experience of 60 miles an hour, but in the wrong car type. Then I got dropped off about 10 minutes before my lesson was supposed to finish, because timing!

Most lessons have an element of this, but nowhere near as bad.

3) Because of the head to tail way that the lessons are ran, they sometimes feel jagged (a lot of stop, start, time wasted), quite vague and very poorly planned. I also feel a bit on edge with a student in the back of the car as a learner driver. Should this happen?

4) Because there is a student in the back of the car when I am dropped off, there is never ANY form of debrief. The instructor is fully committed to the next student, I have no idea how she thought the lesson went, what I need to improve on, and what the plan for the next lesson is. (As a learner, this is fundamental)

5) I don't feel good when finishing a lesson. I feel a bit unsure of the events. My teacher is extremely critical, which is good, but whenever I do make a mistake, I get shouted at, and constantly told "I NEED to be this" or "I NEED to be more...". And I get it, it makes it fundamentally clear, however (and I don't mean to be sexist here) I feel some emotional guilt aspect for making mistakes due to the way it comes across, and I don't think I would get that with other instructors. There's not much discrepancy between making a mistake for the first time or the 50th time, I've joking talked about this as we do get on, and I can (to an extend bring these things up) and she does laugh about it, but I still feel kind of guilty and in the wrong for making the mistakes. Because there's no debrief, so there's no evaluation. So I'm left feeling rather unsatisfied.

6) Unusual priorities in the lesson: Four lessons in, she once had a cat in the back of the car. We stopped off half way through the lesson so she could pop her cat into the vet. It only took 10 minutes, but this sounds like sheer disorganisation. This shouldn't happen during a driving lesson, especially not with a new driver I was at the time.

7) She is always on the phone whilst driving. I don't know what she's doing on the phone, if its work related or necessary, however I'm pretty sure this is illegal. She still somehow manages to make some concentration on my driving, but it is concerning. Furthermore, occasionally her husband phones during the lesson (and on loud speaker). The first issue is the ring tone ALWAYS gives me a shock, and secondly I'm left hearing a bit of the friction between them as she talks to him. Because she's talking to her husband, she can't focus on what I'm doing, so she ends up taking the wheel and steering for me and indicating if I need to switch lanes or do a maneuver.

8) She often takes control of the steering wheel. Less frequently now, but I'll admit sometimes this is necessary to steer me out of the way of parked cars and towards the oncoming traffic (with the idea that the oncoming cars will move). I'm not to concerned with this one, but I feel I think there can be some defence from my instructor, it's her car after all.

9) I think she has way too many students. She works 7 days a week, and jam packs her working days. Hence cramping so many students in, MUST have an effect on the lesson quality, as evident in my case. This has been of benefit to me initially, as I could only do weekends, and she seemed the only one willing to work weekends (that I've asked). My circumstances have changed (will do very shortly), and thus can afford to have lessons in the middle of week.

10) Sometime she talks about her other students, not always negative, but mainly shares how they're doing, and if they fail, uses them as examples of people who have not been ready to take their test. I wouldn't want any to do this with me.

Once I finish my block of lessons next week, as guilty as I feel, as I do get along with the instructor, and I have definitely made some progress in competent driving. Though to be fair, there is a lot more to cover, and I'm quite young in my driving experience. I feel I NEED a new instructor, after chatting with my dad and one of my friends, it's abundantly clear that this is not normal. They strongly suggested I change.

Luckily after this block of lessons, I have a gap for a month or so, as I'm off. In this time, I'm going to search for a new instructor. I'm wondering if I should say anything at all to my previous instructor, or what to say if she asked if I'm booking any more lessons?

Upon reading this, what are your thoughts? Right decision?
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Last edited by moodydog; 27-05-18 at 08:29.
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Old 10-03-18, 21:53   #23
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If you dont think you get your money's worth with her, you change. She's your driving instructor, not your friend.
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Old 10-03-18, 22:17   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moodydog View Post
Uggh, I need to vent a little bit. I've just discussed this a little with my dad, and my friend, who completely agree with me. I've been having driving lessons, about 14 hours so far, and I've block booked 2 sets of 10 (on the second set, 4 hours in), I've been having very light internal thoughts about a desire to change instructor, but felt guilty for having them, in some way being disrespectful to my driving instruct (whom I get along with) if I do. I have another 2 hour lesson tomorrow, and another next week (2x2 hours) which should conclude this block booking. I feel like after that, I NEED to swap driving instructors.

Here's why:

She's actually good at instructing, she is very good at pointing out my driving flaws from the get go, which in turn makes me feel a bit more cautious about my errors. Sounds good? Well...

1) She's occasionally late. Today she was an hour late, which wasn't too much of an issue, but I had commitments afterwards, and I was pressed for time. She didn't notify me until the start time that she will be half an hour late, which turned into nearly an hour late... This isn't really to much of an issue for me as it's the weekend and I have a bit of traffic understanding, but since I was pressed for time, it did annoy me. EDIT (if you read below, the traffic doesn't seem to be the cause of the lateness, something far less credible)

2) She's completely disorganised with her bookings. She teaches both manual and automatic. However the lessons are managed poorly, like she would have a manual student, then an automatic and then a manual etc. And the lessons are head to tail booked, (i.e, the next student is picked up before the previous student is dropped off), thus the beginning of the lesson usually consists either me driving with the previous student in the back of the car, (or the previous student driving me), often in the wrong car type, whilst we all go back to the driving instructors house to swap cars suited for my lesson. Then the lesson begins in the right car, and we have to drop the previous student off before continuing with the lesson plan. Then near the end of the lesson, we have to pick the next student up (either they drive, or I do, depending on how long I've been driving for in the lesson) and I get dropped off. This usually results in me being in the car for way over the time period of the lesson itself (yet I'm sat in the back). I am going to pinpoint this as being the cause of lateness, and there's no cool down period for my driver to get organised for the next lesson. Also, because of this, some of the lessons can feel very vague. An example of this is today:

Because she was almost an hour late to begin this lesson today, I insisted on being dropped off at home exactly after 2 hours (the lesson duration), I said I need to be home no later than 2:20, because I had a commitment at 3. She was perfectly fine with this, however, there was some accommodations to be made to fit this in with her next student. She basically arrived in the Automatic from the previous student (whom was still in the car at the time), so I drove the automatic back to the instructors house to switch. We then changed car, whilst the instructor briefly went into the house, I spoke to the previous student. Found out it was her first lesson, and she jokingly told me that the instructor accidentally arrived with the wrong car for her lesson, so they had to go back and change, hence why she was an hour late (my driving instructor blamed it on the traffic). Once swapping back to a manual car for my lesson, we drove the previous student back to her house, eating into the lesson time. We then had a super condensed lesson in the manual, before having to drive back to the instructors house to change back to the automatic (half way through the 2 hour lesson), in order to accommodate the next student who is learning in an automatic. We then shortly after picked up the next student. The next student was in the car for a total of almost an hour, as I had an hour left before my lesson was due, so we took a really alternative route back to my house, down (relatively fun) windy roads, and my first experience of 60 miles an hour, but in the wrong car type. Then I got dropped off about 10 minutes before my lesson was supposed to finish, because timing!

Most lessons have an element of this, but nowhere near as bad.

3) Because of the head to tail way that the lessons are ran, they sometimes feel jagged (a lot of stop, start, time wasted), quite vague and very poorly planned. I also feel a bit on edge with a student in the back of the car as a learner driver. Should this happen?

4) Because there is a student in the back of the car when I am dropped off, there is never ANY form of debrief. The instructor is fully committed to the next student, I have no idea how she thought the lesson went, what I need to improve on, and what the plan for the next lesson is. (As a learner, this is fundamental)

5) I don't feel good when finishing a lesson. I feel a bit unsure of the events. My teacher is extremely critical, which is good, but whenever I do make a mistake, I get shouted at, and constantly told "I NEED to be this" or "I NEED to be more...". And I get it, it makes it fundamentally clear, however (and I don't mean to be sexist here) I feel some emotional guilt aspect for making mistakes due to the way it comes across, and I don't think I would get that with a male instructor. There's not much discrepancy between making a mistake for the first time or the 50th time, I've joking talked about this as we do get on, and I can (to an extend bring these things up) and she does laugh about it, but I still feel kind of guilty and in the wrong for making the mistakes. Because there's no debrief, so there's no evaluation. So I'm left feeling rather unsatisfied.

6) Unusual priorities in the lesson: Four lessons in, she once had a cat in the back of the car. We stopped off half way through the lesson so she could pop her cat into the vet. It only took 10 minutes, but this sounds like sheer disorganisation. This shouldn't happen during a driving lesson, especially not with a new driver I was at the time.

7) She is always on the phone whilst driving. I don't know what she's doing on the phone, if its work related or necessary, however I'm pretty sure this is illegal. She still somehow manages to make some concentration on my driving, but it is concerning. Furthermore, occasionally her husband phones during the lesson (and on loud speaker). The first issue is the ring tone ALWAYS gives me a shock, and secondly I'm left hearing a bit of the friction between them as she talks to him. Because she's talking to her husband, she can't focus on what I'm doing, so she ends up taking the wheel and steering for me and indicating if I need to switch lanes or do a maneuver.

8) She often takes control of the steering wheel. Less frequently now, but I'll admit sometimes this is necessary to steer me out of the way of parked cars and towards the oncoming traffic (with the idea that the oncoming cars will move). I'm not to concerned with this one, but I feel I think there can be some defence from my instructor, it's her car after all.

9) I think she has way too many students. She works 7 days a week, and jam packs her working days. Hence cramping so many students in, MUST have an effect on the lesson quality, as evident in my case. This has been of benefit to me initially, as I could only do weekends, and she seemed the only one willing to work weekends (that I've asked). My circumstances have changed (will do very shortly), and thus can afford to have lessons in the middle of week.

10) Sometime she talks about her other students, not always negative, but mainly shares how they're doing, and if they fail, uses them as examples of people who have not been ready to take their test. I wouldn't want any to do this with me.

Once I finish my block of lessons next week, as guilty as I feel, as I do get along with the instructor, and I have definitely made some progress in competent driving. Though to be fair, there is a lot more to cover, and I'm quite young in my driving experience. I feel I NEED a new instructor, after chatting with my dad and one of my friends, it's abundantly clear that this is not normal. They strongly suggested I change.

Luckily after this block of lessons, I have a gap for a month or so, as I'm off. In this time, I'm going to search for a new instructor. I'm wondering if I should say anything at all to my previous instructor, or what to say if she asked if I'm booking any more lessons?

Upon reading this, what are your thoughts? Right decision?
Well, as I did my lessons on and off over a period of a few years with three instructors I can tell you that the Driving instructor is sometimes not the most reliable beast. But, it's the nature of the job; they're dependent on trying to get people back home when they may not be the most confident driver and then have to contend with traffic too. All three of my instructors would have the odd issue where they would ocasionally arrive late. But this seems to be a common occurance for you and so I would say you're justified in factoring this in a decision of wanting to chance. Just because it was not a massive iconvenience to you doesn't mean it's right to turn up late. Also, grabbing the wheel is something I found the instructor did often when you're early in your lessons so that seems fine.

However, she shouldn't be on the phone whilst you are driving - she is supposed to be observing you not being distracted and distracting you at the same time, it's completely unacceptable to expect you to drive an automatic car when you are learning to drive a manual;yes, learning to drive a manual qualifies you to drive an automatic too but that's when you've passed. Secondly, she shouldn't expect you to, or the other driver, to be driving around to sort out her mess. Similarly, you shouldn't have other learners as passengers during your lesson time and your lesson time should not constitute driving to other learner's residences and picking them up or dropping them off. They should be focusing on helping you learn to drive and a ten minute drive across town to pick up someone else doesn't achieve this in all instances. I'm unsure if there is any law against instructors doing this but I know the major driving companies, such as AA and RAC, give the advice that this should not be happening. Like you said, you're not getting any feedback at the end which is vital for understanding your progression, going over any manoeuvres you've struggles with or will cover in future lessons and planning when that lesson will be. I'm sure if it were the odd time for a legitimate reason then you'd accommodate but this seems to be happening for you all the time which is unacceptable.

What's more, I find her talking about other students bizarre for two reasons. Firstly, if it's negative then it doesn't instil confidence in her professionalism, secondly it doesn't make me think of her as particularly competent as she's making you nervous but most importantly of all had she not been convinced they were ready for the test she shouldn't have allowed them to book it as it has to go through her anyway. This just seems like a tactic to ensure she gets more money out of people for more lessons. I may be wrong but my most recent driving instructor and I agreed on quite a short turn around for me doing my test (two months) but he was adamant that if I wasn't ready he would reallocate the test to someone else who he thought was at the time.

Ultimately you don't seem happy with the overall experience and that should really be your answer as to whether you shoud try out someone else. You say this lady is good at pointing out your errors which helps you be more cautious but I wouldn't say that makes her a good instructor as you seems to have frequent instances where you don't understand why she's shouting at you. A decent instructor will advise you on your error and help you understand why you made the error too; My second instructor even made me pull over once and drew a diagram during the lessons to explain something to me because I wasn't quite sure on why I'd made quite a serious error, for example. If you want to try out someone else after your initial block booking is up then perhaps tell her you will have to wait to make another block booking as you don't have the money. This will allow you to book a lesson with someone else and see how you feel about them before deciding to cancel all together on your current instructor.
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Last edited by jajay119; 10-03-18 at 22:44.
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Old 11-03-18, 00:45   #25
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You need to ditch this woman ASAP. Get a real pro to teach you. Professional instructors do not behave as she does.

She's going to instill bad habits in your driving with all of her distractions.

Also, what sort of car are you planning to drive eventually, manual or automatic? She ought not to be switching cars out on you at her every whim.

Ideally, you should drive the exact car you are going to take your road test in, for the majority of your instruction.
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Old 13-03-18, 13:13   #26
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yeh, I think I will. Started the manuevers, spent the bulk of the lesson talking about previous students failing at reverse bay parking, then was on the phone for about 20 minutes to a potential new student. Not really ideal...
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Old 19-03-18, 14:12   #27
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So, quick update...

I've officially had my last lesson with this instructor. The last lesson pretty much tipped me over the edge, we drove for at least 45 mins on an dangerous and windy road simply to drop off the last student. A road not suitable for beginners, in fact I know a few friends who purposefully avoid this road which has a 50mph speed limit. The whole time she was pretty much on her phone, she gave absolutely no instruction about the best gear to be in, or how best to approach. I wasn't sure if I needed to be going around 50, but I wasn't getting jack **** from her. Then she needed to stop off at the bank. Then when I cut into a roundabout when someone was approaching from the right, though the other person seemed a far way off, I got screamed at for not stopping. I have just wanted to yell back at her "IF I'M ****ING DOING IT WRONG, THEN WHY THE **** ARE YOU NOT TEACHING/ SHOWING ME HOW TO DO IT RIGHT?"...

it's like she deals with all the "whats".... you're too slow, you don't think, you're too cautious, you've become complicit with the gears etc...

but never the "hows"... to improve this you should try...

my last lesson was officially cancelled due to the weather, however I'm going to cut my losses with the last lesson and find a new instructor, it's a waste of a 2 hour lesson payed for, but I'd rather that then have to wait for another lesson with this current instructor (plus, I can't have a lesson for about a month now, so time to start fresh). Also, a couple of my friends said she sounds like a dangerous instructor, and then I could easily sue and request a refund (the fact that she's on her phone, which is illegal), but I'm not going to do this. The only annoying thing is, since I have 2 more hours of the block, I'm going to have to inform her that I've changed instructors, which is going to be so damn awkward, but if she flips off about it (which I'm not sure would be the case), then I guess all the more reason to leave and I would have made the right decision (if not already).

Think of all the worst qualities in a teacher, and that's it right there. She works hard, she works pretty much 7 days a week, from morning to evenings, but if anything that only further subtracts from her credibility, she's completely over booked, I think she has too many students that it's worth, but she boasted about this a few weeks back.

I'm just so angry with myself too for allowing myself to book two blocks with this instructor. I also went onto yell, where she has absolutely appalling reviews, things like "Don't waste your money with this time waster", and "she knocked all my confidence as a driver". I couldn't agree more at this stage. It's an absolute piss take.

Just at the moment, I'm not enjoying driving, I don't feel comfortable with my instructor, I don't feel great after lessons... I feel damn awful actually, even guilty for not being a better driver. I've almost had 18 hours, and I feel like I've just been incredibly slow to learn.

EDIT Sorry, doubly post :|
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Old 19-03-18, 18:12   #28
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You're the one paying her so if she's hindering your learning process you need to switch ASAP. You owe her nothing. She's there to teach you, but she's not creating a comfortable environment for you as a beginner. Therefore, your confidence in your abilities takes a hit.

Cancel any upcoming appointments with her. Tell her "thanks but no thanks" and start looking for another instructor.
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Old 20-03-18, 13:22   #29
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I'm glad you're considering changing your instructor. Mine was often 5-10 minutes late, which I didn't mind as I suppose it can be tricky getting everywhere on time between lessons and contending with traffic, but being more than an hour late and everything else you describe is absolutely horrific. She should not be on the phone, you should not be using parts of your lesson to drive students back, and she should not be leaving you in the car alone to go to the bank. I'm so sorry you had this experience! I hope your next instructor is better for you.
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Old 20-03-18, 14:25   #30
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My first driving instructor gave me exactly one lesson. Then, as I learned later, he fled town because some drug deal he was involved in went wrong. So a) it could still be worse and b) it is okay and at times really necessary to change your driving instructor.

More seriously, I can definitely understand you feeling demotivated and frustrated. I suggest you tell your new driving instructor about these feelings, so they can maybe take things easy on you at first.
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