Student Trucker Also Learning English

Topic 23417 | Page 1

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Robin R.'s Comment
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I hope I've come to the right place, even though I'm not a trucker. I am a retired educator who now volunteers as a tutor for local refugees who are trying to learn English. My newest student is a middle-aged refugee from Cuba who currently works in food service but is working toward becoming a truck driver. He isn't too concerned about getting his CDL so he doesn't need my help with that. However, his spoken English is still very halting (I know from experience that it's hard to learn a new language when you're an adult) and he says that when Americans speak they talk so fast that he has a hard time understanding. His biggest concern is being able to communicate with other truckers and with companies he would deliver to. I am trying to find ways for him to "learn the lingo". I have found lots of websites with trucking terminology. But I think the thing he really needs is to hear the language so he can develop an ear for it. I'll help him with regular "street" English, but can anyone suggest other ways for him to hear truckers in an everyday setting? Maybe something via YouTube or Facebook or anything else non-print? Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

Nonna Robin

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.
Donna M.'s Comment
member avatar

There’s lots of truck drivers that can’t speak good English. There was several in my cdl class. However he has to be able to read English to read the signs.

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Robin, I teach basic trucking at Swift's school in Memphis. I work with many foreign born students. Some are nearly fluent in everyday English, some still have a hard time understanding English.

I'll first say that most of these English Language Learners are eager and motivated to learn. Yes, there's some misunderstandings. The Learner's greatest fault is to smile and nod their head when they don't quite understand. (Think of an ELL student learning to drive in traffic and the instructor asks him "At the next signal turn left. Be sure to be in the right hand left turn lane.") Work to get this politeness out of your student's head - he must get instructions down quickly.

Not to fear, though. Once he gets the instructions down he should do well. As for OTR life, he'll get the hang and rhythm of dropping and hooking trailers in no time.

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.

Anne A. (G13MomCat)'s Comment
member avatar

How about Brett's Podcast? Robin, you can access them from the main menu, I do believe.

Stephanie K.'s Comment
member avatar

I agree. The podcast is a great listening tool for people wanting to familiarize themselves with the lingo.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Shoot, I would tell the student not to worry too much. With a cell phone in hand, anything & everything is possible.

Why do I say that? I was at a receiver once & met a Mexican national who knew not a lick of english. He was out here turning & burning. All on luck & faith. I translated & helped him throughout our process.

If he’s out here turning & earning? What’s to stop your student from succeeding? Execution! Will they have a hard time? Probably. But you can’t learn to swim in the wading pool. You have to dive in the deep end. That’s where you’ll either sink or swim.

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