Gah. Trucking School Problems.

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Amanda D.'s Comment
member avatar

I posted here some months ago when my husband was first considering getting his CDL. I was not thrilled, but agreed as long as he tried his best to get a local/dedicated job before jumping to OTR. I really didn't want him to go OTR as we are still relative newlyweds and I also had a recent health crisis where he was my primary support. So he ended up going with a tech college where he would hopefully have a lot of different options as far as employers.

Well he went for his Class A and the lead teacher took a dislike to him. She started out saying she couldn't understand his English (he was born in a different country). His English isn't perfect but most people understand it fine. She took him to the ESOL office of the school and they said his English is fine. She then sent him to an adult education center and they gave him an English proficiency test. He scored in the top percentile. He signed up for an advanced class anyway, just to fine-tune things. The class started backing. It took him like five days to master it. She sent him for computer work and didn't take him for driving. He was upset because he wanted to practice. She threatened to kick him out. He had what he thought was a good day with driving. The next day she told him he was too far behind and kicked him out. He set up a meeting with her and the administration. They agreed that he would drop down to Class B.

He feels like he was unfairly pushed out and I tend to agree. I've talked to some other students in the class and they said that his driving is good and they also felt like he was singled out and blocked from practicing and learning. There's some speculation that she is trying to push students down to B or out because the class is too full.

He's supposed to start with the new program for Class B Monday but he got angry after talking to a trucker friend and decided that he wants to get his money back and either a) start over at a company sponsored school and get his A, or b) get his B on his own.

I think that's a bad idea and he should just swallow the loss of the difference in tuition money and get his B through the school. For one, although I think the teacher did single him out, she may have detected some weakness that she zeroed in on - and that may follow him to a different program. Two, the drop period at the school has long passed so he may not even get his money back. Three, he would probably be a lot more competitive in Class B if he is a graduate of a good CDL school. Four, there's plenty of good jobs he can still get with his B. I think his trucker friend told him that he would get no benefits working a class B job (and we need good health insurance) but looking at postings, that doesn't seem to be true. Some jobs yes, but not all. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

What do the wise men and women of trucking truth think he should do?

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Oh Amanda, you asked for our advice, and I am glad to give it, but you may decide that I am an internet bully (as some have claimed) after I share it with you - I assure you it is all meant with a sincere interest in both yours and your husbands best interest in mind.

I've been married thirty three years now to a wonderfully supportive, yet very strong (intellectually, spiritually and emotionally) woman whom I love dearly. I say all that to give you some background on where I am coming from with some of this. Part of what makes a man both useful and beneficial to his wife and children is that he provides their support. Part of what makes a wife so special to her husband is that she allows him to pursue the avenue of support for her that he deems will be the best in the long run. It sounds to me like you are very protective of your man, and that is a good thing, but you are not and should not behave like his mother! He is a grown man, and he needs to be allowed to exert himself in the work place, even if he fails or falls short of what he wants to do. Their has been no greater teacher to me in my lifetime than my own failures, and sister, there have been a good many of them. My wife was always strong enough to let me hit a brick wall on my own. That way she didn't have that superior attitude of "I told you so!" She has helped me lick my wounds many times, when she probably could have told me at the beginning of something that she knew this was headed nowhere. What she understood is that she was helping me to excel at my pursuits because she knew that I would learn much better by facing the challenges before me instead of her gently protecting me from feeling the effects of them when I screwed something up royally. I hope that makes sense to you, I think you are treating your husband like the child who is trying to learn to ride a bicycle, but the parent (you in this case) will never let go of the bike. So, the kid never gets their knees scraped up, but they also never get that feeling of exhilaration that comes from feeling the balance of the bike underneath you and realizing that, "yes, I'm doing this!"

Okay, that is one part of this reply - the other part is that I think all of your reasoning for wanting him to settle for the class B license are coming from your own false notions. This is just my opinion, but a class B license is really worthless in the market place. He needs to get a Class A license - period. Don't make him settle for less than he is worth - if you have to learn to do without him for a while and you can't afford to pay for some more schooling, then let him go to a company sponsored program. If you guys think the separation is just too much for your sanity, then make a plan to ride along with him after he starts running solo in his own truck. If none of those ideas are workable in your situation, then figure out a way to still let him get his class A license, and then go for a Class B job. He will always be able to make considerably more income with a class A job, and you will probably realize that later on down the line that you want him to be making some more money. He can do it - the notion that the teacher saw some weakness that is going to follow him to the next school is silly. I've witnessed countless "Bozos" who scare me to death in a truck get their Class A license, I know your husband is better than some of the folks I've seen manage it. Maybe the school you chose is messed up, maybe they don't want to spend the extra time he may be needing, I can't really tell - I only have what you are saying to go by, but I'll tell you this much - he can do this, but his wife needs to believe in him, and quit making excuses for him. Get behind your man and believe in him - if he fails he will pick himself up, dust himself off and work at it until he gets it - that's what men do. If you treat him like he is your little boy, that may be all you end up with for a husband, and you deserve better than that. And so does he.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I have to be honest. Something is amiss here. Your husband paid for the schooling but it seems the school is doing everything they can to get rid of him. You said a couple of things that has me wondering:

Well he went for his Class A and the lead teacher took a dislike to him
He got along much better with the B instructor and things were going well
we put a lot of other stuff in our lives on hold only for this school, that we thought was an excellent choice, to treat him so badly
I've talked to some other students in the class and they said that his driving is good and they also felt like he was singled out and blocked from practicing and learning
He feels like he was unfairly pushed out and I tend to agree

So there's a lot of indication that he wasn't getting along with the people at the school and it seems they certainly lost interest in working with him. It seems they just wanted to get him out of there anyway they could. That's not right since you've paid your tuition already, but at the same time if you can't get along with people you're going to make your life 100 times more difficult than it would have been otherwise.

The second concern is that you really didn't want him doing this in the first place:

I posted here some months ago when my husband was first considering getting his CDL. I was not thrilled, but agreed as long as he tried his best to get a local/dedicated job before jumping to OTR. I really didn't want him to go OTR as we are still relative newlyweds and I also had a recent health crisis where he was my primary support. So he ended up going with a tech college where he would hopefully have a lot of different options as far as employers.
he should just swallow the loss of the difference in tuition money and get his B through the school.

So it seems you were kind of undermining his attempts to get a Class A hoping he'd get a Class B and therefore a job that would get him home every night. I don't blame you for feeling this way, but it obviously wasn't going to help him achieve the Class A.

So it seems to me from the little bit you've told us that you guys kinda made a total mess of this. You really weren't behind his efforts and he didn't seem to be helping his cause any either.

At this point I really don't know what your options are. He's already gone through a ton of training so getting his money back wasn't going to happen. He quit the school so they're correct in saying they are no longer obligated to help him. On top of it all you didn't want him doing it in the first place and that isn't going to change.

I hate to think that you guys wasted your time and money but it seems like he probably shouldn't have attempted this in the first place if you weren't behind him on this idea. As tough as that was going to make it in itself, it also doesn't seem like he helped his own cause any by failing to get along with the people at the school.

I honestly don't know what advice to give you guys at this point. This thing has become a complete mess.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Oh Amanda, you asked for our advice, and I am glad to give it, but you may decide that I am an internet bully (as some have claimed) after I share it with you - I assure you it is all meant with a sincere interest in both yours and your husbands best interest in mind.

I've been married thirty three years now to a wonderfully supportive, yet very strong (intellectually, spiritually and emotionally) woman whom I love dearly. I say all that to give you some background on where I am coming from with some of this. Part of what makes a man both useful and beneficial to his wife and children is that he provides their support. Part of what makes a wife so special to her husband is that she allows him to pursue the avenue of support for her that he deems will be the best in the long run. It sounds to me like you are very protective of your man, and that is a good thing, but you are not and should not behave like his mother! He is a grown man, and he needs to be allowed to exert himself in the work place, even if he fails or falls short of what he wants to do. Their has been no greater teacher to me in my lifetime than my own failures, and sister, there have been a good many of them. My wife was always strong enough to let me hit a brick wall on my own. That way she didn't have that superior attitude of "I told you so!" She has helped me lick my wounds many times, when she probably could have told me at the beginning of something that she knew this was headed nowhere. What she understood is that she was helping me to excel at my pursuits because she knew that I would learn much better by facing the challenges before me instead of her gently protecting me from feeling the effects of them when I screwed something up royally. I hope that makes sense to you, I think you are treating your husband like the child who is trying to learn to ride a bicycle, but the parent (you in this case) will never let go of the bike. So, the kid never gets their knees scraped up, but they also never get that feeling of exhilaration that comes from feeling the balance of the bike underneath you and realizing that, "yes, I'm doing this!"

Okay, that is one part of this reply - the other part is that I think all of your reasoning for wanting him to settle for the class B license are coming from your own false notions. This is just my opinion, but a class B license is really worthless in the market place. He needs to get a Class A license - period. Don't make him settle for less than he is worth - if you have to learn to do without him for a while and you can't afford to pay for some more schooling, then let him go to a company sponsored program. If you guys think the separation is just too much for your sanity, then make a plan to ride along with him after he starts running solo in his own truck. If none of those ideas are workable in your situation, then figure out a way to still let him get his class A license, and then go for a Class B job. He will always be able to make considerably more income with a class A job, and you will probably realize that later on down the line that you want him to be making some more money. He can do it - the notion that the teacher saw some weakness that is going to follow him to the next school is silly. I've witnessed countless "Bozos" who scare me to death in a truck get their Class A license, I know your husband is better than some of the folks I've seen manage it. Maybe the school you chose is messed up, maybe they don't want to spend the extra time he may be needing, I can't really tell - I only have what you are saying to go by, but I'll tell you this much - he can do this, but his wife needs to believe in him, and quit making excuses for him. Get behind your man and believe in him - if he fails he will pick himself up, dust himself off and work at it until he gets it - that's what men do. If you treat him like he is your little boy, that may be all you end up with for a husband, and you deserve better than that. And so does he.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Old School, I would never think of you as a bully. You are so helpful on this forum. And you are very right.

I guess I still feel blindsided that he chose this path. He had never expressed interest in driving or any sort of job that would keep him away from home so much. Then, 10 months into marriage, he was looking into getting his heavy equipment certification. The program is run at a trucking school so he called a recruiter and when he hung up the phone, he had decided he wanted to become a truck driver. I was shocked and not pleased. This was not part of the plan at all. We were supposed to be enjoying our newlywed time, not spending 80% of our time apart. I felt out of control about the turn our lives had suddenly taken and I guess I just want to regain control.

Maybe you can give a dude perspective here, but I also feel hurt that he can be away so much so easily. Also feel like he doesn't have faith in me that I can pull my weight financially.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Would he make more at a job that only requires a B just for having an A?

Tyler Durden's Comment
member avatar

Would he make more at a job that only requires a B just for having an A?

Possibly. Depending on the job.

I think what bothers me most about your OP is that he got kicked out. I am currently in school, paying my own way, and it is not easy to get "kicked out". We have had students excel in certain aspects and some struggle immensely. Those who struggle we all just continued to help and get through it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I think you being supportive of him and his needs, dreams and goals and keeping a positive attitude towards the whole thing is just as important as him being supportive of you and your needs, dreams and goals. And I don't think they have to conflict, either.

I certainly understand about you being newlyweds and not wanting him gone all the time, so I would say why not ride along and experience life on the road with him for a while? You'll be together 24/7, you'll be able to save lots of money for your future, and it will be a great adventure you two could share and tell stories about for the rest of your lives together. And if you really just can't see yourself enjoying the road life with him, encourage him to get a regional trucking job where he will be home every week, or perhaps even a local trucking job where he comes home every night (though he won't make as much money doing local).

As for the school, that sounds like a terrible school and I am 100% in agreement with him that he should demand his money back and find a better school to enroll in, and get his class A since that is what he really seems to want.

Good luck, and try to stay positive! :)

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Amanda D.'s Comment
member avatar

This is what I love about this website. Thoughtful, honest perspective.

Reading through posts, I noticed newbies getting dressed down for not sticking with what sounded like pretty rough situations. Some of husband's classmates also said that you have to be really mentally tough because people will disrespect truckers and the teacher is just preparing the class for that (btw, the reason I've talked to his classmates is because we share a car and sometimes I have picked him up when they're still hanging out in the parking lot. It's not like I deliberately talked to them to check up on his progress or anything). That plus the fact that his program is a well-regarded program at a well-regarded community college and I was wondering if it was par for course for instructors to push rookies around, pull this kind of bs on them to "toughen them" up for the road. Glad that's not the case.

As much as I'd love to go with him on the road, it's not possible. I just finished up cancer treatment (the main reason I don't want him to go OTR , I'm afraid something will happen when he's across the country) and I have too much follow-up stuff I need to do. I even asked my doctor and he said no.

I was looking at info on Swift, Prime, etc and was surprised to see that there are some opportunities for regional and dedicated positions for new grads. Others have even better home time options but we're in FL so that seems to limit choice some. But we'll see if he can get his money back first!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

William C.'s Comment
member avatar

Just my opinion you an both go to company sponserd school and team together

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Swift has a program where husband and wife get the whole training "Two For One". I drive for Swift, so I know that. I'm sure other companies may do a Two-fer as well.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I strongly agree with Old School that you husband should get his Class A and not settle for anything less. It will open up avenues to much better paying jobs.

And he should be able to find work that gets him home at least every weekend straight out of school. Within a few months or so he should be able to find something that gets him home every night. Being in Florida is a huge disadvantage, unfortunately, because far fewer companies hire out of Florida than most places. But there are still plenty of opportunities.

But I would have your husband tell the school that he paid his money to get a Class A and that's exactly what he's going to do. It's their job to teach him how to drive so he can have a great career, not reduce his career prospects by downgrading him. Millions upon millions of people have gotten their class A and so can your husband. Besides, if you can drive well enough to get a class B then you can drive well enough to get a class A.

Keep us updated on this. I'm not happy at all to hear that a school would recommend pushing someone down to a class B. If they give him any more problems about it I may give the school a call myself to find out what their thinking is on the matter. People pay good money to learn a new career and the school is obviously more interested in doing what's convenient for them. That's not a school I would want to recommend to anyone.

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