From Teaching To Trucking - My Journey So Far

Topic 16934 | Page 3

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Nancy F.'s Comment
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I 'm sitting here smiling for you. Wish I was there. Btw, it's 2 degrees warmer up there than central Florida.

Llandros's Comment
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Monday, November 21st

The first day is over! Our ride came right on time at 7:00. Outside, we met the previous weeks students that are waiting on coaches. They offered some advice and were heading to the lot to do some backing practice.

We arrive to the facility and meet our instructor, Shannon. He's very nice and getting us prepped for the day. We find out that there was supposed to be five of us today but for some reason, there are only three. We see our names posted on the welcome sign at the door and I snap a couple of pictures of it!

First up is a brief introduction and a tour of the facility. We're in luck as both big bosses are in town today - we meet everybody. The lounge, the fitness area, the laundry facilities are all on the tour. We move upstairs and get to see where the fleet managers are working, meet Allie Knight (not more than a hello), meet face-to-face with our recruiters and then head back downstairs to the training room.

Next up is a pretty old but thorough video on air brakes. This will be a major focus for the rest of the day. With just a little time remaining, Shannon brings out an actual air brake chamber and walks us through the mechanics of how it functions. He lays it out very clearly and simply but then it is time to go.

Our first stop is drug testing. I had decided to not pee in the morning so by now (around 10am) I am dying to go. It was a quick test and then on to th DOT physical next door. All is going great until the blood pressure test. I failed it, but I was very nervous. The doctor does it again and it is dropping significantly. He says he will do it one more time in a few to see that all is good. This stresses me out a bit but it all turns out just fine - got my 2 year medical card and we are good to go.

Next, we head out to lunch (Taco Del Sol). It's a pretty casual atmosphere but we know that the written test is coming up. Back to the facility and it is time to go over some items likely to appear on the test. During this time, Chris from training comes in and gives a little speech that goes over the odds of getting through training, team training, and your first year. It's good info and fortunately, I had heard much of the same from reading this site.

Next, Shannon takes us outside and couples a trailer. He walks us through the process and we get to see the whole thing in action. Each of us get to crawl up in the cab and he reviews some of the gauges and the basics of the brake system. We all ride along as he moves the tractor to its parking spot. This is my first time in a truck and my first ride in one. That was incredibly awesome.

The theee of us get to work on some computerized testing and go over what we will test on tomorrow. Later, we work through the manual and quiz on some questions that might come up. The test is scheduled for tomorrow at 8:30 so we are trying to go through as much as possible.

Finally, the day is over and we head back to the hotel. This is where I am at the moment. I will be spending some time reviewing and working through the practice tests but need to get a good nights sleep. The next hurdle is complete not right up and I want to pass it.

Thanks for reading and will be back soon!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Llandros's Comment
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I have not updated in a while but I am still in the program and just waiting on my trainer to get here to head out. I do have alot to update but will hold off for now. I will say that not everything was as expected or hoped for but I am still positive and moving forward. Still, it has not been without some hurdles.

TNTrucker73's Comment
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Yo Teach hows it going

Llandros's Comment
member avatar

Yo Teach hows it going

Still in training and working towards my CDL - I won't lie, it has not been what I had hoped but I do love the job and focusing on getting through it - in short, training is a nightmare. I did contemplate leaving but am doing my best to get through it.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
TNTrucker73's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Yo Teach hows it going

double-quotes-end.png

Still in training and working towards my CDL - I won't lie, it has not been what I had hoped but I do love the job and focusing on getting through it - in short, training is a nightmare. I did contemplate leaving but am doing my best to get through it.

Just stick with it if you can handle entitled children you can handle this.......

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Retired Jersey Cop 's Comment
member avatar

Yo, Teach. Hope all is well. VERY curious as to your training experience. Both positive and negative.

A little bit about me. I am a 44 year old, very recently retired NJ Police Detective Sergeant who is seriously considering truck driving as my second career. I have a little bit of an advantage going forward, as I obtained and maintained my NJ Class A CDL about 10 to 12 years ago. (Obtained it as kind of a back-up in case I ever lost my job) No real experience to speak of (I drove for a very shady company for about 3 months, part time).

Anyway, I have been following your experience very closely and look forward to your updates.

Stay Safe...

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Matthew R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your blog. I am in the same boat. I have been a teacher for the last 8 years. However, unlike you I am married with 2 kids. I am looking at making the career change into Trucking as well in about 15 months. I teach at an International High School in Japan, so my contract is a little different. I will be following your blog for sure. Looking forward to moving back to the states for sure.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Llandros's Comment
member avatar

Still in this thing but I do have to say that it seems as if everything that could go wrong certainly has. I am in my 4th week on the truck during the first training phase - my CDL test is sometime in January. I also will be shut in a hotel ( it sure at who's expense) while my coach takes a 5 day home leave - won't be getting any practice at all then. As it was explained to me my training would be 1 week classroom (it was 2 - the second just sitting around waiting for anyone to have any time to help me with backing while waiting on a coach - not much practice at all) then 2 to 3 weeks road time (it will actually be at least 7 weeks until I test and even that may change) and then 6-8 weeks to do the 30,000 miles (my coach said it will be a minimum of 3 months for the 30,000 miles portion). I'm never getting my CDL or off this training truck it seems.

I wish I could say that it has been a good experience but it has not - what I have endured since day 1 has pushed me to my breaking point - have almost walked multiple times but continue to stick it out. I do enjoy the job and want my CDL but this experience has been difficult - I won't even go into the conditions on the truck but will say that almost 28 days in the truck I have had 4 showers. Went 48 hours without food and have been allowed to back the truck twice - my second choice company is really looking like the better choice but I am stuck in this. There's more - a lot more but I'm just trying to stay focused.

I don't mean to be negative but for those getting ready to do this understand that all experiences aren't good - trying to make the best of mine but quickly losing patience with this process. I could use the encouragement because I'm getting to a very low point and not sure what I will do if things don't improve dramatically.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Deb R.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you are on the road with someone who has no business being a trainer. Can you respectfully request the company put you with someone else? The company is paying this driver to teach you the ropes and you are certainly not getting that. It is especially important to be doing as much of the backing as possible, how can you learn if the trainer does it all? I was out for 4 weeks with two different trainers, both were good, yet, I was more than ready to be done with it. You have a great deal of fortitude to be sticking it out under these crummy conditions. IT WILL GET BETTER. Once you are on your own, there will be many new challenges, but at least you are in control of more variables (like showers and food).

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