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Swift Edwardsville CDL School and my journey through OZ.

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MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Day 3

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Morning the same as before. Breakfast, shuttle, 7 o'clock.

Started on pre-trip practice, Then moved to offset backing (nailed it), then parallel (only one pull up needed), 90° alley dock (eh, this is my trouble area). I still need practice on that 90. I struggle with putting the trailer where I want. Either I hold the turn to long or not long enough. Another problem area is my instructor, when it comes to the knowledge, she knows her stuff. When it comes to the skills course, she's not the greatest at explanations or application. I have tomorrow to practice more and if I'm still struggling then I'll watch a ton of YouTube videos and probably either buy a toy truck or find a kid to steal one from to practice with.

I did really feel the con of being the only student today. No others to learn from an outside perspective of their mistakes or a break from all that clutch work. So much feathering. I think my left leg will be twice the size of my right when I finish this training. Towards the end of the day we went over the quiz questions for tomorrow's quiz over maps and HOS.

I would like to give a quick shout out to Wes, get well soon.

4:30, shuttle, back at hotel.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

I could probably sum these last days into one but, I think writing these down day of helps keep in smaller details that I may forget later. Also helps give me a day by day if I ever decide to look back on these.

It truly can be frustrating to struggle with a maneuver but it is also a joy to be maneuvering these land barges around. Every day gets me more and more excited to really get out there and do this. That's it for today. Tomorrow, more washing, rinsing, and repeating. =)

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.
G-Town's Comment
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When it comes to the skills course, she's not the greatest at explanations or application.

It's the second time you wrote that, so obviously it's bothersome,...maybe it's time to deviate a bit from the "wash, rinse and repeat" routine.

My sincere suggestion;... next time this happens, STOP HER. Call a time-out, wave your arms, whatever. You have every right to do that. Ask her to explain it again, perhaps in a different way, possibly slowing her explanation a bit, and/or demonstrate it again. If you are not getting it or she is not explaining it to your liking, stop her and ask for clarification. With humility and respect; be honest whatever she is teaching, you're not quite getting.

No two people learn the exact same way, but the inverse of that is also true, no two teachers, teach the same way. Although she has knowledge, perhaps she hasn't been teaching very long. You might actually be helping her to advance her skills, who knows. You are one-on-one...and can afford to influence better alignment with your instructor, striking a happy medium. Not like anyone will be held-up with her taking extra time to tighten the instruction.

Be your own advocate. Good luck.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

When it comes to the skills course, she's not the greatest at explanations or application.

double-quotes-end.png

It's the second time you wrote that, so obviously it's bothersome,...maybe it's time to deviate a bit from the "wash, rinse and repeat" routine.

My sincere suggestion;... next time this happens, STOP HER. Call a time-out, wave your arms, whatever. You have every right to do that. Ask her to explain it again, perhaps in a different way, possibly slowing her explanation a bit, and/or demonstrate it again. If you are not getting it or she is not explaining it to your liking, stop her and ask for clarification. With humility and respect; be honest whatever she is teaching, you're not quite getting.

No two people learn the exact same way, but the inverse of that is also true, no two teachers, teach the same way. Although she has knowledge, perhaps she hasn't been teaching very long. You might actually be helping her to advance her skills, who knows. You are one-on-one...and can afford to influence better alignment with your instructor, striking a happy medium. Not like anyone will be held-up with her taking extra time to tighten the instruction.

Be your own advocate. Good luck.

Don't get me wrong, she's a great lady and she really does know her stuff for the knowledge portions of it. Any time I may not get something, I'll ask her to re-explain and I will even explain where I think my issues are. When I think she's explaining how to do it and I think that's what I am doing I'll have her demonstrate. Either I will see what she's talking about or she'll do exactly what I'm doing. I hold nothing against her and having a blast. In fact I've been learning from her mistakes too. I know her story, she is new to teaching. She used to be a tester. A driver years before that. The other instructor has been out sick, he explains really well. The other two range instructor's are no longer with the company. She used to do the road instructions.

I was just explaining my struggles for the diary. My biggest I problem with the 90 is just knowing when to start chasing the trailer in and when to change its course. I don't have the experience to visualize its path and how the trailer reacts. I've been working on it and I will get to that in my next day, here in a bit. It's all cool and I'm really not trying to sound like I'm blaming her or talking bad about her.

I'll continue my day progress here in a bit.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
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Practice on the 90, lots of it...is all that is needed and you'll be okay. Sounds like you are already doing what I suggested. That's great...good luck.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Day 4

Today started a little differently. Took the quizzes on hours of service and trip planning. I struggled with some of the expected planning or routes between the major cities. I still averaged 94%, which was cool.

We then (to break the monotony of the range, her idea to keep me from getting burned out on the range) went out and did first day shifting. I really struggled at the beginning. I mean I just didn't seem to get it. The down side of knowing how to drive a mesh transmission is breaking the habit of pushing the clutch way down or only pushing once. Instructor has me pull over and just practice barely pushing in, meanwhile I practice moving the shifter. After that it just started clicking. I still need to work on moving the shifter a bit faster which will come in time with practice. Down shifting still needs some work, I struggle to remember to double shift or sometimes I'm not engaging the clutch enough. It's just a coordination thing that will come with practice. All the little things needed to be done on a motorcycle is a bunch of little things that need done at once.

After a couple hours of that we came back and I practiced some more with pre-trip and the 90° backing. Amazingly enough, of the 4 times I did it, I got it in the box. First time only two get outs and one pull up, second time no get outs or pull ups, third I had two pull ups and one get out, last one I did it with one pull up that I didn't really need but I did it anyway to line it up and center it since I was pretty close to the line.

Week one is complete. I feel good about what I've accomplished and I've been having a lot of fun. Currently there are 3 scheduled to start next week. I'll try and keep this updated on their progress to show what a class with a group is like.

To be continued, Monday.......

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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There is one thing that I think I've been forgetting. The academy is using a room and the lot of Metropolitan Community College. Swift lets MCC use some Swift trucks. So the training isn't at the Edwardsville terminal. I haven't seen the terminal yet. The area is still pretty populated with a ton of terminals for other companies so there are a lot of trucks. Almost one 18 wheeler per one 4 wheeler (may not be actual stats but it sure seems like it. Haha).

The hotel has a lot of truckers in and out from a couple companies that they are shuttling in and out. So the hotel has vans constantly moving, picking up and dropping people off.

Just for those who may be curious.

Also, for first day'ers. The swift room is up stairs, make a u turn and walk back towards the front of the building. Turn left down the hall with the womens restroom and the Swift training room is on the right. There are no signs directing you there but there is a sign on the door to the room. Chances are, the students who have been there longer can lead the way. Hopefully the directions can help someone some day or give someone confidence in where they're going.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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This forum really needs an edit button. I really butchered that quote. Haha. If someone can fix that, I'd grestly appreciate it.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Day 5

Start of a new week. 3 more join in today. Sadly, also marking the end of a hotel room to myself. 2 of the guys are first timers, the other guy is a transfer from the Memphis, Tennessee location, so he will join along in my week 2.

I don't know yet how the 2 first week'ers are going to handle it but, the guy who joined in with my second week is already super stressing. He's got this do or die mentality that is making him freak out because he's not getting it the first time. I tried explaining to him to just have fun and not stress so much and, that if it wasn't so difficult then we wouldn't need a license to operate. With just today as observation, I don't think he'll make it. We shall see how it goes. He also has a problem of not taking it slow. He doesn't stop at each point so he's traveling even further before his direction changes. I've even tried to stay positive and cheery to hopefully help lighten his mood. Not an easy task while fighting a cold or allergies and poor sleep. Positive note, he's not my roommate to have to hear him complain if he does. Down side, he's not my roommate so if he drops then I still won't have a room to myself. Haha. =)

Today, I was sent out to pre-trip one of the trucks and practice. I spent half the day practicing and the other half demonstrating for the new guy that just won't relax enough.

Nothing else to report for now.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Day 6

Most of today I spent trying to drill the pre-trip into my head.

I passed my maneuvers evaluation with a 96.4. Basically two points total. Regretfully done on the off set backing. I got overly confident on thr easiest and made a mistake. At least I'm good at being consistent. My average for my HOS and trip planning quizzes was also 96.4.

Now, I just need to focus on my pre-trip and get that down. Tomorrow, I get road time. Yay.....eh. It'll be fun......after it's over.

Today is day 2 for the new guys. Yesterday they spent the day on paperwork, HOS, and trip planning. Today they were trained and tested on their straight line backing. When they completed that successfully they were given a pre-trip demo. After some time for them and me to work on it and study they were then started on maneuvers. Tomorrow they'll be working on maneuvers.

Figure that since my experience is a bit different that I'd try to report what their day is like too. That's all for today.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Day 7

Today, what can I say about today. Just a reminder, if you want to eat breakfast and not have to shop-vac it down, then get to the dining area as soon as close to 6 as possible. I got down there around 6:10 and my food was brought out at 6:25. Not really a terribly long wait. Something that would be completely tolerable under normal circumstances. Problem lies in the fact that the hotel shuttle that leaves 5 days a week at 6:30 to take us to the academy. I would have been more concerned, except that rarely is shuttle actually ready on time and even less so after class. I know they are busy and have other people to pick up and drop off, so I'm not complaining (except for the breakfast situation). I've never been late to class. Just making it known so there aren't any surprises. Any other "complaints" I would have are hotel related. I'm not here for the hotel. Just giving warning to others who read this to not expect a 5 star hotel. It's a bed and bedding, 4 walls (technically more, but that's just semantics), toilet, shower, fridge, microwave, T.V., air conditioning, heat (if needed), rides to and from class, and free breakfast.

I spent just about the entire day on the road. One of the instructors and I drove down to Springfield, Mo and back. Other than the initial exit from the lot to show me a few things, the driving was all me. I even got to experience my first weigh station and my first, "pull up to the right". Something to do with the amber flashers that Swift places on the student road trailers. It is illegal to have flashing lights like that if you're not an emerency vehicle. Rest of the trip wasn't really anything special. Everything else went smoothly. Drove down there, I struggle with shifting, had lunch, drove back, I struggle more with shifting just not as much, and stopped for drink and drain every so often along the way.

The other guys spent the day practicing their maneuvers.

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