Driving instructors teach the theory and application of safe driving skills.
Driving procedures, engine control, defensive driving, pedestrian rights,
motor vehicle laws and maintenance tips are covered in class. Road instruction
includes vehicle control and reading internal gauges.
Driving is all attitude, says John Wright, an instructor with a driving
school in San Jose, California. "It's important that you understand that driving
really is an accurate display of one's attitude. The same people who are rude
to you in the supermarkets -- cutting in line -- show the same attitude on
the road. Driving is a great responsibility."
Good instructors know that they're in control of the car. "The only way
that a student will learn is to put them in a situation where they might make
a mistake," says Ed Rodrigues, a driving instructor. "The key is to allow
them to make errors but under the instructor's explicit control. This is a
difficult and tricky skill to master."
Be prepared for stress. "You better be sure you can really deal with stress
because it will take its toll," says instructor Paul Moitinho. "This is the
kind of position that easily allows you to take your job home."
Hours vary with the seasons. Moitinho puts in 40 to 50 hours a week during
the spring and summer, and about 15 to 20 hours per week in the colder months
when there's less demand. Wright averages 40-hour weeks.
Keith Russell operates a school in Durham, North Carolina. Although he
doesn't teach much these days, when he does get to work with students "it's
still very enjoyable," he says.