Choosing the right mentor for you is one of the most life-changing decisions an L-Plater can make. While everyone has different expectations and requirements, there are some common things to look out for. Remember to tick your T’s and cross your I’s.
There are four qualities that form the basis of a good supervisor.
Talented and knowledgeable
You can’t learn the road rules if your supervisor doesn’t know them. Nor can you adopt some fantastic manoeuvres into your driving repertoire if your supervisor isn’t capable enough. A survey found that the majority of parents teach wrong or bad habits to L-Platers.
Trustworthy and reliable
There must be a bond of trust and respect between you and your supervisor. Your supervisor must be someone whose advice you can rely on and whose instructions you won’t second guess all the time. Otherwise, you may as well be driving on your own.
Teaching skills and communication
A person can be a master of driving or have over fifty years of driving experience under their belt. That doesn’t mean they’re a good teacher. Sometimes experts forget what it was to still be an amateur, that the habits and skills they believe are instinctive were in fact developed over a long period of time. Hence, your supervisor must have (or develop) proper teaching skills and communication.
Tolerant and patient
Learning to drive can be really nerve-wracking. Almost all L-platers make mistakes as they’re learning to drive. Your supervisor’s reaction to those mistakes are crucial in teaching you how to adapt to different situations. If your supervisor isn’t patient and understanding, you will be very limited in your pool of responses. Your supervisor must be someone who is calm and patient when you’re trying to learn.
Beware the Four Eyes of Demonic Supervisors
Some supervisors are as ill-suited to mentoring L-platers as Professor Snape was to teaching potions. Here’s four features that can result in horror stories for L-platers.
Avoid irritable supervisors. Driving is a massive endeavour of multi-tasking: controlling the vehicle, watching the traffic, observing the road and weather conditions, knowing the road rules, staying in your lane… And a thousand other things. Now imagine somebody yelling in your ear as you’re trying to do all of that. Cue: a big fat crash.
Why on earth would you get in a car to learn how to drive from somebody who’s a) just learnt to drive or b) rarely drives themselves? Your supervisor must be experienced in order to help you understand and adapt to the multiple situations that drivers can face. If they haven’t faced these situations, how can you expect them to teach you in turn? The answer: you can’t. Your supervisor MUST have experience.
Your supervisor teaches you to drive the car really well. You now know how to control the vehicle, stick to your lane, drive to the weather conditions. Isn’t that great? But there’s a problem… You’re on the WRONG SIDE of the road! Your supervisor must know the road rules in order to teach them to you. After all, how can they teach you what they don’t know themselves?
This is a tricky one. You may think that there’s nothing wrong with an indulgent supervisor. And perhaps on the surface, there isn’t a problem. But what happens if every time you make a mistake, the supervisor lets it go? Tells you not to worry if you’re freaking out but does nothing to help calm you down… What if they’re too lenient? Too easy-going? The answer: you don’t learn a thing.
Humans or aliens?
You can’t have everything you want. Not every supervisor is perfect all the time. They’re humans too. You may be the lucky one to find the perfect supervisor. But you’d be one in a million. We’d recommend trying out a bunch of different supervisors to see which one’s right for you. There’s bound to be one you can just click with. And remember to select the T’s and avoid the eyes.