My Day And Life As A Commercial Driving Instructor

Topic 30599 | Page 1

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Chris L's Comment
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It’s been a little over a month since I started working my new job as a driving instructor for NTTS at their Ft. Drum location. Our team consists of 5 instructors including myself. 4 of us are Retired Army and our other instructor is prior service Army. The equipment at our location consists of 2 Volvo Sleeper Cabs, and 2 Freightliner Day cabs all 4 tractors have 10 Speed manual transmissions. Trailers consist of 2 53’ foot dry vans, and 2 48’ foot dry vans. Currently we run 2 programs: A 5-week full time program and a 13-week part time program. The max student load for both classes is 14 students. The fulltime class meets Monday - Friday from 0700 – 1700, the part time class meets Wednesday and Thursday nights from 17:00 – 21:00 and Saturdays from 08:00 – 18:00. Both courses are 225 hours. The current full-time class has a student load of 6 and they are starting their final week and will graduate this coming Friday the 13th. The part- time class has a student load of 14 and will graduate on the 23rd of October 2021. My primary mission is working with the Part time class and assisting with the full-time class I average about 43 hours a week. I’m really enjoying this Job I especially like when I can help a student overcome a difficulty mastering a skill like the Blind Side Off-Set Back. You can see a change in the student when the mechanics of the maneuver clicks - in and they master it. It gives me the same feeling I got when I was able to help a student master a skill needed to become certified as an open water SCUBA Diver. Their confidence level go’s up exponentially, my goal is to produce confident and proficient entry level professional drivers. My only drawback I currently have is I haven’t dialed in my demonstration quality skills for the maneuvers yet. When I get a spare time, I’m up in the cab going through all the maneuvers. For my professional growth I have completed the first three instructor certifications that NTTS and NY State requires for Driving School instructors. I can take students around on post but I can not take them off post until I receive my NYS Driving School Instructor certification card. I’m expecting the card before the end of the month, after I hit my 90-day employment mark, I will be eligible to enroll in the JJ Keller Instructor accreditation program and I can work towards getting a nationally recognized instructor accreditation. On a whole I’m glad I made the decision to come off the road though I do miss it- I’m still driving part-time every Sunday I still take a load of coils down to Middletown and get a back haul going back up to Syracuse. I’ll try to continue to post periotic updates. Cheers

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Chris writes:

I’m really enjoying this Job I especially like when I can help a student overcome a difficulty mastering a skill like the Blind Side Off-Set Back. You can see a change in the student when the mechanics of the maneuver clicks - in and they master it. It gives me the same feeling I got when I was able to help a student master a skill needed to become certified as an open water SCUBA Diver. Their confidence level go’s up exponentially, my goal is to produce confident and proficient entry level professional drivers.

I second that emotion.

My passion in teaching the CDL course is in getting my students to the point they know the backing maneuvers are at least possible.

I'm up front with the students at the start and tell them they could get so frustrated they want to quit. I felt that way back in my Swift Academy training. I also tell them to use the pull up as a tool to make adjustments - there's no failure in that.

I'm glad to hear there's another instructor on board!

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.
Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

Chris, good luck with the new position. Are all the students Military? I have never met an instructor I didn't like or respect. My favorite was Jim at CDL training. He was an old, crusty veteran with 35 years at the same school as an instructor. Blazingly hot days on the practice range, he was there. Bitter cold days, he was there. Jim had an unlimited amount of fascinating stories from his driving days. One of the many things I learned from him is this: I was only days into my training and as many of us experience, backing was confusing. I even had trouble backing straight with plenty of room around me. I felt like a fool, except all my classmates had the same trouble. Jim took us all to the side and he told us something that transformed my backing skills. " If you are in trouble to the Left, turn to the left.

If you are in trouble to the Right, turn to the right. Never hurry, stop and think, GOAL and then proceed with caution." This was a Eureka moment in my training. I still had to learn a lot about backing, but this was when the pieces started falling into place because it gave me a solid practice that I subsequently used in every backing maneuver I had to perform.

Thanks, Jim Rest in Peace

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.
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