Fully qualified Approved Driving Instructor with over 18 years experience.
Catering for all levels of ability, from complete beginner to Pass Plus.
Hello, as you may have guessed by now my name is Richard Mountain, I have been in the driving tuition business for just over 15 years now. I was unhappy in my previous job of managing an off-licence. As I did a lot of staff training, I thought why not? So I started training to be an Approved Driving Instructor in 2000. I started working with BSM (British School of Motoring) whilst I finished off and passed my final exams in April 2001. Since then I have been an instructor in Sheffield, working and teaching pupils from all areas of the city.
In 2005 I had the opportunity to move over to the seaside resort of Blackpool. Let me tell you it's one heck of a difference when it comes to teaching and the way you have to adapt your style of teaching. In Sheffield, as you will know there are a great many hills and the importance of a good level of clutch control and the ability to 'hold' the car on the bite point is essential. If this is an area you are weak at, the examiner will see through the pupils lack of ability immediately on a test. Blackpool is a very flat place compared to Sheffield. Yes, there
Anyhow, the credit crunch began to set in, I moved back to Sheffield and got married to my lovely wife, and after nearly 10 years, decided that enough was enough and parted ways with BSM. To be honest I was tired of not having the flexibility to be able to adjust my prices due to the drying up of the market. We as instructors had are hands tied behind our backs and were stuck charging over £24 per hour when all around the industry, other competitors were charging far less. Business was dwindling, and so 4 of some of the top BSM instructors in Sheffield left, with the intention of possibly joining forces. A mouth watering prospect indeed. So far it's not got off the ground so rather than rejoin another franchise charging company, I decided that enough was enough...I shall set up on my own. Afterall, I was sick of filling someone elses pockets all these years.
So here I was, setting up a new business, pretty much right in the middle of a 'credit crunch' - WAS I MAD? ...probably! Well, to be honest, I didn't think I was. The standards I have now regarding the ability I want the pupils to achieve, and the
are hills, of course! but not the kind I was used to. I used to find that a great deal of instructors skipped/avoided teaching a lot of clutch control in Blackpool but 'what happens when you drive out of Blackpool?' I used to ask my pupils.
As an instructor, It is my aim to teach the ability to drive. Not simply to pass a test, but to give the pupils practical skills and knowledge that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their driving life. Any instructor that simply teaches to pass a test should be avoided like the plague. Let me tell you, there are a lot of good and bad out there! (as there are in a lot of many other industries).
standards of how I teach people haven't changed in any way. At last I can work entirely for myself, earn my own money and be my own man.
It's funny. When I started to learn to be an instructor, a lot of people who knew me thought I would never manage to be patient, and a lot of people I speak to now all say the same thing 'I dont know how you could be so patient, I couldn't do it!'. Let me, let you into a secret. It isn't a question of being patient at all. I thought it was going to be and I was suprised after I started doing the job full time. So what is it then?
When you have a pupil in the car, one has to realise that they truely havent got a clue what they are doing. It isn't patience because what my job actually involves is HELPING people get something extemely difficult right. I say that driving is probably the hardest thing that most people will ever learn in their lives. The co-ordination of both hands, both feet, eyes and brain all working together but doing different tasks is not something that can be done easily. I would be quite happy to go round in circles on a small estate all day, as long as I knew that the pupil was trying their best. What does test ones patience, and I'm as human as the next person, is people who aren't interested, people who don't care. It doesn't happen often, but occaisionally I will teach a pupil who openly admits that they dont want to learn, but their parents have forced them into it. These are the true tests of my job. Hopefully, I can get through to them and learning to drive should be fun...to a degree! Yes, its hard, it's damn hard. Everyone gets the odd lesson where everything seems to go wrong, I remember times like that when I learnt. But as with life you have to take the rough
with the smooth and as things get easier, the pupil builds in cofidence and blossoms into a fully qualified driver.
Having said all that, it is a very enjoyable and rewarding job. Something that I am glad I changed to when I did. Seeing the pupils develop as they pick up the skills I have given them, to see them use those skills to help them get to a standard worthy of passing something as tough as a driving test is a real buzz. The look on a pupils face when they pass is a brilliant reward for all the hard work! To some people, its a day they've been looking forward to for a great many years since they started watching adults driving and thinking to themselves 'It would be great if I could do that!' Who knows what the future has in store but I can't see myself doing anything else for a living - but I must warn you, you need reflexes like a cat and quite often nerves of steel when a pupil tries to drive head on with a bus or steering off the edge of the Parkway at 70 mph. Thankfully, I've never been driven round a roundabout the wrong way yet!
...I'm off to go find a bit of wood to touch! take care, thanks for reading.