Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Different teaching style or batshit crazy?

During the April/May/June visitors/moving madness, I had stopped my driving lessons. I'd done a good 18 hours and was at the point where we were just doing practice tests on the known testing routes so my instructor could give me pointers on what I had to improve on (mainly checking the damned mirrors in an overly cautious and -most importantly- obviously noticeable way). I'd passed my theory test with flying colours. Basically, I was getting pretty good and just needed to polish up a few things.

As stuff has settled down, I decided to schedule my last two pre-paid hours here in Oxford, with another instructor, obviously.

Now, I admit my first instructor, Paul, was great, and maybe I'm spoiled. But this Oxford person's teaching just did not gel with me at all. You all will have to tell me if this is normal driving instructor behaviour.

  • She kept taking the steering wheel! She'd grab it from her side and start moving the car I'm supposedly driving. Paul never did this.

  • She used her passenger-side brake and clutch all the time. It got so that when I went to use any of the pedals, I wasn't sure what I'd find. In the 18 hours of lessons I had with Paul, I remember him using his controls exactly twice.

  • She seemed skittish and overly cautious. She wanted me to go really, really slowly and then to slow down even more if a car even looked like it was going to come near us, even if it had its own nice, wide lane. I realize this is a judgement call, but we barely got into third gear the whole two hours. I did more than that in the first lesson I had with Paul.

So: normal driving instructor behaviour, and I was just spoiled before? Or is she crazy?

(I hasten to add that we got along fine, and she was a perfectly nice person. Plus, she was professional, gave me a few good pointers, and said she'd been a driving instructor for seven years. So she can't be totally off, right?)

Either way, I can't imagine taking any more lessons from her. Luckily, I've finished my pre-paid hours with this driving school. Should I call them and ask for lessons with another instructor? Or should I take the really cowardly way out and use another driving school?


Kate said...

I had similar issues with a driving instructor (with a national driving school) to the point where I'd go home and collapse in tears after a lesson because he made me feel like a complete moron. I cancelled all the lessons I had been made to pre-book at the beginning of my first lesson with him, before I'd even driven anywhere (!) and found another, smaller, driving school.

I didn't think it was cowardly to use another school, more that I didn't want to give them any more of my money. Though I should probably have complained about his attitude and if you feel particularly strongly in your case, then maybe you could do the same rather than changing schools?

Liz said...

Ask for another instructor (then you don't have to get used to a new make of car) and if they can't find you one then check out another school.

Taking the wheel whilst you are driving is a total no-no. I've never heard of that before.

Sinéad said...

Another school, I think. There's plenty of them, and I certainly wouldn't be going anywhere near someone who grabs the wheel off me and brakes when I'm not!
That would ruin the confidence you've built up so far.

Yvonne said...

crazy, definitely crazy. When I sat my Irish test, I had an instructor like Kate's (yelled at me for the whole hour, I was fuming at the end, and had a month of lessons booked!) I calmed down, called and moved to a different 'school', and was much much happier.

the frog princess said...

batshit crazy. I would be incredibly freaked out if anyone grabbed my wheel! I'm afraid I haven't got anyone to recommend in Oxford, although I did get one lesson form a kindly chap at the AA.

Lien said...

Driving lessons are expensive - they are here anyway. So I'd ask for someone else. You want someone who will make you confident behind the wheel, not someone who is going to freak out for you! Good luck!!

Mick said...

Batshit crazy! I already told you this. Call them, and complain about the batshit crazy woman.