A Driving Instructor's Blog

On a lesson tonight with a pupil. She’s only taking 1 hour at a time and not every week (a lot of late nights and hangovers resulting in cancellations). She’s been a slow learner, mainly because she is so negative about everything.

Today we were covering roundabouts (she hates doing manoeuvres), and we had to do a reverse around a corner to turn around and go back the opposite way. I asked her to do it, and she said “I don’t know what I’m doing”. After a few questions it became clear she knew exactly what to do. She got round perfectly, and then said “that’s the worst one I’ve ever done.”

The thing was, I’d just got goosepimples down my neck because it was the best one she’d ever done. It would easily have passed on the test. I told her so.

So we’re back on the roundabouts and everything is going pretty well. While we were stopped she said “I get worried when I’m on them and don’t know what I’m doing”. So I pointed out this is part of learning, and that she’s handling them better than many pupils, who often can’t stay in lane to begin with (all the correct confidence building stuff as well).

Now, I haven’t got a clue what happened, but all of a sudden – about 15 minutes before the end of the lesson, and ages after what I’ve described above – she went quiet. By now we’re just driving normally, having finished with the roundabouts, and she’d been chatting away happily. She’d done absolutely nothing wrong. I asked her what was the matter and she said “I’m concentrating”. This didn’t make sense – difficult to put into words, but knowing her and her tendency to just ‘fall asleep’, as the saying goes, it just didn’t. As we drove further I knew something was seriously the matter. I ended up having to change gears and brake at lights/junctions for her. The lesson was effectively over and I just had to make sure we didn’t hit anything: at one point near to her house I thought she was deliberately trying to!

When we got close to home she said she wanted to stop short to go to a friend’s house. She couldn’t get out of the car quick enough because she was nearly in tears.

She’s done this once before (something had happened in her private life but she wouldn’t say what), but it just ruins your day. You start wondering if it is something you’ve said or done! She assured me it wasn’t (last time, and this one) but she won’t tell me what it was that just triggered it without anything obvious taking place.

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