February 5, 2019
How long have you been teaching?
I’ve been teaching for 39 years – 19 as a physical education teacher and 25 as a driver improvement instructor.
Where have you taught in Virginia?
I started teaching PE in Prince Edward County but I have been in Richmond the rest of my career.
What is your favorite thing about teaching adults?
My favorite thing is listening to the student’s experiences and what brought them to the clinic. Some people come in with a bad attitude because they think it is going to be a long, dull day, but they come around. And at the end of the day when I ask how the class changed them it is really great to hear.
What are some reasons that people take the class?
It’s an opportunity to get a clean driving record. But most people take the class because of tickets or fines and a judge has given the option to take the class. In many cases, that can take five points off their driving record. An extra benefit is that taking the class also can save money on insurance.
Is there a student who has made an impression on you?
There have been many students over the years that have impressed me. One that comes to mind was an 80 year old man who had gotten a ticket and the judge gave him the choice to take the class in order to wipe his record clean. He enjoyed the class because so much had changed with driving rules since he had first learned to drive. And he was happy that his insurance would not go up. At the end of class, a lot of my students say “I wish I had taken this sooner.”
What do you do to keep the student’s attention?
People learn best when there is class involvement, so I use many interactive teaching methods like a white board, PowerPoint slides and handouts. I write key words on the white board to reinforce what I am teaching. I have the students go through the DMV handbook and highlight important points. We also get up and move around quite bit so students are not just still for the whole time. We will even go outside and complete a pre-inspection of a car.
I start the class introducing myself and having the students do the same. Then I pass out a piece of candy with positive messages. The students will share what the messages mean to them.
Do the majority of the students pass the class the first time?
I haven’t had anyone fail the class yet. If someone has difficulty with reading or test taking, I take them in another room and read the questions out loud. Honestly, it’s hard to fail this class.
What do you love most about your job?
I love helping people out of a crisis. Most think they have no way out, but there is always a way out. And getting their driving privileges back is a good start!