The Covid Years - 2020 What a Year
Well what a year 2020 has been. Who saw that coming?
Well not me thats for certain. 2020 Just shows that you should never take tomorrow for granted and never take your job or finances lightly. After hearing that a killer pandemic was sweeping across the world from China, it seemed a bit far fetched tbh, But on it's way it was. We weren't totally sure if it would affect Driving Instructors and therefore lessons and tests. Were there actions we could take to combat the virus? What would the DVSA's response be? Could we carry on working somehow?
The answer sadly was a big 'NO'
As the virus was now sweeping across Europe, We had decisions to make as our team of 20 instructors who all had families and bills to pay were heading to a potentially long period of time without any money!! We decided to tell them to stop their payments immediately and it was the right decision as the government announced full 'Lockdown' only days later. we were one of, if not the first Driving School to close down as far as payment from our franchised instructors,which was a proud moment. The other schools followed closely by and that was it March 16th and Lockdown had begun.
So what do I do now?
My accounts were soon up to date
The house had never been cleaner
The garden was even better than the house
My car was immacuate
But apart from that and waiting to here what boris had to say at 4pm every day things were pretty
The intial full breakfasts every morning and BBQs in the great weather, with a few beers and
generally chilling out was taking its toll. The Timber was piling on!! The gym was shut and of
course playing my favourite game of golf was also off the menu.
The only thing fitness wise that hadn't been lockdown was cycling, so cycling it was. 2 x Bikes and a Whatsapp group chat later and we were off cycling round the roads of south Yorkshire.
There were other things to do of course! My son Jack had started his training to be a Driving Instructor and had passed part 1 and 2 and had done all his training for part 3, but had unfortunately just begun instructing on a trainee licence only for lockdown to stop him after 3 weeks. The good thing was I could spend alot of time with him planning his lesson plans for his pupils and planning his lesson plan for his part 3 final test. This time was put to good use and you can read about jacks route to hopefully becoming an ADI and whether he was successful in the end or not on Jacks blog which is upcoming soon.
I did manage to do some work!! Helping a Neurosurgeon and a local Dr pass their tests as the DVSA allowed any cricitical workers such as Doctors and nurses who had a test booked to take lessons and take the test. I felt like I was doing my bit and felt safe ish having had the virus already and hopefully having some antibodies etc. It was a little strange teaching on roads that were almost totally empty. Like I Jokingly said to both of them ' If you can't pass now you never will' !!! They both did pass thank god. Looking back knowing what I know now about covid and test day, the strange thing on test day was,both tests were conducted by an examiner with no mask, a pupil with no mask, no wiping down and the windows up in the car!!! Totally different to what happens now
So as time went went on and many discussions were had on what day we would return. Three and a half months went by and eventually it was announced that we could return to teaching driving lessons in Sheffield on the 4th July 2020!!!
So would I remember how to teach?
Would my pupils still be wanting or be able to afford lessons?
The answer was yes on all fronts as I called each and every one and they all wanted and were able to have lessons. In fact they couldn't wait. So with my diary up and running off to work I went. The pupils who had, had tests cancelled all had new dates but of course they were now not far away, but the good thing about learner drivers is even after a long break in general they always get back to where they were after a short ammount of time. See below some of my Covid comeback sucesses -
Anyway things got back to normalish. Pre-lesson preperation included Wiping down the car before and after each lesson and having the windows open during lessons. Of course now, driving tests followed suit.
The talk was of a 2nd wave coming during the oncoming autumn and winter so I built my diary up to financially prepare for that and recommended our instructors did the same.
It was always in the back of my mind that the 2nd wave would come and as the R - rate got higher and higher we plunged back into Lockdown yet again on the 5th November but this time with an end date of 2nd December. At least there was a timeline this time.
So back on the bike and the house, accounts and garden are in good order yet again. No critical worker lessons this time but scarily I do have a test on the first day back after lockdown. She's a great driver though so fingers crossed she'll be fine.
Watch this space to see if it's another comeback pass and for more driving lessons in sheffield -