17 September 2009

ADI Pass

With nothing interesting to write about my career in the past few months, I finally have something say! I passed my final driving instructor exam today!! =D

Though I am quite tired just now, as it is approaching midnight, I still want to put into words how happy I am feeling and how much God has blessed me.

This has not been an easy journey let me tell you. Since May 2008 I have spent many hours studying and practicing for a big theory test test/hazard perception test (not usual 50 questions, but 100 questions with the need to pass at least 80% of each of the four categories before achieving overall pass!). Passed theory test/hazard perception in August 2008.

Then had to practice and improve driving skills to sit and pass and advanced driving test. Honing my skills to make sure I would not get any more than six minors on my one hour test. Finally passed the driving test January 2009 with one minor.

Next was the hardest part of this ADI journey... Instructor training. It was common for people to sit and pass theory tests and driving tests. I had been through it back in 2001/2002. However, this final hurdle really took the best from me. It involved a lot of studying at Hillhead library few nights after work. It involved meeting up with my instructor on a weekly basis to go through and learn teaching techniques, instructor techniques and various subjects and topics that would come up for my final exam and for my career as an instructor. I had to give up a lot of things, socialising being one of them. Had to reject certain parties or dinners cos needed to study or "train" with my instructor. Had to give up the gym at certain times to meet with training buddies.

There were times when I found the course very difficult. The things I were doing was not "up to standard" according to my instructor. When will he ever be happy? When will this end?

Through this time I met a lot of new people. Nice people. Ronnie, my trainer whom AA assigned to me from the very start. He's been my personal coach up to now, and will now be my business coach as I set up a franchise with the AA. Anne, my first training buddy. Ronnie paired us up to practice with each other in between the times we were not meeting him. We met up to train quite intensely between end of May and July. She sat test - Failed. I sat my test - Failed. She resat - Passed. She left to form her own business. I was left buddy-less. I was kinda hoping she'd still offer to come out with her new Corsa, but no. She got busy. It was ok. I had to plod alone. Ronnie kept telling me I should try to find a friend who is able to drive, ask to sit next to them and correct any faults they might do. Or just ask them to role play as we do, and pretend to be a pupil and "learn" from me. However, where could I find such drivers? I didn't ask anyone because it would be hard for them to use their time and petrol (money!) just to help me. Who would do it if they weren't to gain from it? And I certainly didn't have a lot of money during this time. The ADI test cost £111 a shot!

As I prepared for my second test date, 17th September, I was still meeting Ronnie regularly. But something was missing. There was no Anne, there was no buddy to train with. However, I thank God I met a guy called Matt. Matt is a very highly qualified driving instructor who also trains Potential Driving Instructors (PDI's as we're known) and he offered to take me out for a whole day of job shadowing him. My goodness. That day - Saturday 22nd August was a real eye opener for me! Learnt so much from teaching three of Matt's pupils and getting analysed each time. Having a real live pupil was so different from my instructor role playing as an inexperienced driver. Learning from Matt really opened my eyes and introduced me to many aspects of driving instruction which I was not exposed to. I found it so so useful and was very grateful for Matt's FREE offering of tuition. This gave me the much needed boost into getting my mindset back on track. I was looking forward to seeing Ronnie. When I did, Ronnie was impressed.

After two more meetings with Matt, my confidence was boosted to an all time high and I really looked forward to seeing Ronnie, showing him what I had learnt and how I had developed. Ronnie saw more improvement from me. Good - something is going right. Matt is a blessing from God. I wouldn't have met Matt if I didn't attend Ling's leaving dinner at Loon Fung back in July. I wouldn't have known Ling if it hadn't been for going to church. I wouldn't be going to church if God is not so great! :)

In the final meeting with Ronnie before my test (Friday 11th Sept), he told me he found me a buddy! The guy's name is Robert. Robert trained with BSM six years ago, but never passed his final exam. And after a few years in the financial industry, he decided to give driving instruction another go. He was needing practice with a buddy before booking his test again. Ronnie felt it would be great for the two of us to meet up to practice in the run up for my test at least and it would be good for Robert too because Ronnie went on holiday to Lanzarote! So Robert and I met up last Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday (yesterday). The practice sessions went well. Nothing intense, but managed to iron out and discuss my issues with each other.

This afternoon, I drove up to Baillieston Test Centre and met with a guy called Bryan. A newly qualified AA driving instructor whom I had to borrow his Ford Focus to sit the test. Bryan was a cool guy who gave me more insight into the life of a driving instructor with the AA. Telling me more about the car, the mobile they'll give you, how they sort out pupils for you, gave me tips on business accounts, insurance etc. 1:05pm I sat my test. 2:40pm I was out of the test centre with my test sheet and an application for my Approved Driving Instructor badge (ADI)! What happened between that time felt like it flew by! I was nervous, yes, but at the same time everything was so fast I didn't really have time to be nervous. One thing I must say is, I worked my ass off this time. I realised how many mistakes I made in my first attempt and boy did I do everything I could to avoid them and correct them.

Throughout this whole time I have met very interesting people who have helped me get thus far. I will no doubt meet more wonderful people as my career kicks off as an driving instructor. One thing is for sure. God has been my refuge and strength throughout. I've been through the toughest times in life, not just driving instructor training, but pressures from life in general. But each time, God carries me through. His mercies and grace every day are enough for me to carry on. I hope to bring glory and honour to His name through this career path.



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