If you are a driving instructor who smokes in your car, uses your phone during lessons, swears or uses racist language on social media. You will need to bypass this post as you won’t like it.
Those who are close to me know I have a particular hatred of how many driving instructors portray themselves. Yes, the lack of knowledge often seen used on social media and I would assume cascaded to their pupils is worrying but today I am looking at the professional image or rather lack of it seen so often in the social media forums and out on the road.
I was pondering an article from the MSA where John Lepine has copied in content about driving instructors using car parks in retail parks. It is clear John is trying to work with the store and the ADI and rightly so. The comments from the store were predictable, albeit unfortunate, but it is the comments from driving instructors that worry me more. The manager of the store say’s how staff have received abuse from instructors and I would love to believe these statements were not true but unfortunately after reading comments on social media, I suspect it is true. Look at articles where residents have complained about driving instructors practicing in their area. (I do appreciate this is becoming a problem for all but this post is not discussing the rights or wrongs of this) Many comments are that it is not against the law and where else are they going to practice? Many instructors expatiate the situation by arguing with residents and sometimes being abusive does not help.
Every day we see driving instructors smoking in cars, using their phones and all manner of things. I’ve seen driving instructors flashing people out of junctions, speeding past me (While on the phone). In our office, we regularly take calls from irate motorists and members of the public call to say they have seen this or that. Recently I sacked an instructor who not only thought it fine to smoke a vape in the car but had a small stove on the back seat to warm his drinks while driving. Teased a Muslim lady about bacon and then stopped the car to purchase a bacon sandwich and eat it during this lady’s lesson. As I said he was sacked…
I have seen a recent post from driving instructors complaining about safety cameras (they call them speed cameras) being purely income generators for the police, really? And all manner of misguided facts about speed enforcement. Is it little wonder the public rebel when to be honest some are training them to do this?
So, my point. Do instructors not think the public see all this? Are we not giving our fellow driving instructors a bad name? What does this do to your school? We must remember that we are running business and the old age of not sharing views on politics, race and religion stand. It is easy to offend people without realising. Of course, I already hear the cry’s ‘I don’t care who I offend’ or ‘rubbish, it’s my private Facebook and what I write my pupils do not see’. I employ staff and like many employers one of my favourite places to go before the interview is the social media websites to do some research on my potential employees. Don’t cry out that’s not right because many employer do this. If I am reading about how they have a hangover every Monday morning and they had to pull a sickie, then guess what? Do people think that in this day and age pupils aren’t doing this? Hey, it’s better than a DBS check and any review system…
It’s not all instructors of course, many are professional, keep their views to themselves and deal with customers as they would their closest family, with respect and dignity. I saw a post a couple of days ago from a driving instructor about day 1 on an intensive driving course with a new pupil that was as dull as dish water or something like that. Respectful? Dignified? And would you want your son or daughter with this instructor? No, I didn’t think so.
We live in a world where in effect as a business we are in a large fish bowl and everything we do or say is being noted. Professional businesses do not do the above. I am on forums for business, teaching, TEFL, Land Rovers, and photography and on none of these forums have I seen the sort of behaviour I see presented by Driving Instructors.
Dave Foster MA, Dip.DI (or Driving School Dave) is the most qualified driving school owner in the country, after completing his Master’s Degree in Driver Training Education in 2011 at Middlesex University. He also holds a diploma in Driving Instruction and is a Cert Ed. qualified teacher. Dave is the founder and Managing Director of 1st 4 Driving Ltd, and also looks after over 15 driving schools across the country on a consultancy basis.