Annette Collins

How long have you been a driving instructor for?

I qualified as an instructor in 2008. I worked with BSM after qualifying, then as a freelance instructor until 2015. I’ve been with the Weelz team for about 3 years now.

What were you doing before that?

Prior to driving instructing, I worked as a counsellor. I did a lot of work with individual clients, but also within a variety of organisations. At varying times I worked in places including a womens refuge, a homeless hostel and a drug rehabilitation unit.

What do you enjoy most about driving instructing?

I find my role as a driving instructor very rewarding. I get great satisfaction in helping my students to achieve their ambition of passing their driving test, and witnessing all of the new opportunities that open up to them due to their success. There is still a buzz when I see my ex-pupils on the road, in their own cars and i feel immensely proud that I played a part in each of their individual journeys.

In addition, I enjoy being able to work flexible hours and have the freedom to choose my own days off. It’s much easier organising holidays which can work around my own, and my family’s other commitments. I enjoy the variety of challenges in teaching people to drive, as it often forces me to “think out of the box”. Sometimes, I have to be quite inventive in explaining concepts – trying to relate them to each individual’s past and present life experiences. Very often, through this process, I learn valuable insights from my students, that help me to communicate with other students who are experiencing the same difficulties in understanding. I feel that being a driving instructor is a lifelong learning project!

Is there anything you dislike about the job?

I find it extremely frustrating when students cancel their lessons, either last minute, or, even worse, when they simply fail to show up at all. I also find it very irritating when other drivers behave inconsiderately, especially when they fail to signal at roundabouts, causing students to have to stop unnecessarily.

Also, we quite often get drivers, who are really trying to do you a favour, and flash their headlights to let you go, when it is not our priority. I try to teach my student who has right of way, and who should go, so when something different happens, it can be very confusing for them. Then to make matters even worse, after we’ve played stalemate for a while, they insist that we go first. This may take us a few extra seconds, then, when we do try to set off, they change their mind and do the same?!

Sitting in congestion, trying to avoid roadworks and negotiating the, ever increasing myriad of pot holes (some of which are almost sinkholes), are also bones of contention for me.

What are your interests/hobbies outside of driving instructing?

I’m very passionate about my love for animals. When I’m not teaching, I can always be found either at the stables, with my horse, or in the company of my German Shepherd dog.

Presently, I’m also attempting to learn French through Duolingo, although I must admit that I’m really struggling with it. I think that the old adage about teaching old dogs new tricks, was based on my experience!