As it was spoken to me the name and the address sent some strange shivers down my spine even before I had fully realised this new pupil, the one on the end of the phone, the one with the familiar accent was actually the younger brother of the pupil from hell I’d taught a few years previous.
Now don’t get me wrong I love my pupils and my job, but there are some that simply stick in the mind and the throat and Harry (not his real name) was one.
… I immediately went into flashback mode …
I had realised immediately that we had a problem when he tried to get into the car head first instead of one foot, then body and second foot like most. I drove him somewhere quite, swapped seats and asked him to to put his phone away and to press the clutch down so I could help adjust his seat position to suit.
He replied “Oh the car has pedals”
I little shocked I said “All cars have pedals”
“My mums doesn’t, it’s automatic”
“I taught your mum 12 years ago, she drives a Toyota Celicia automatic, that has a brake and a gas pedal but no clutch.”
“Well I’ve never seen that”
“Anyway, this one does, can you press it down…”
After a few minutes i had him driving around in 1st and soon 2nd gear.
A car approached a give way on our left and Harry slammed on the brake. I explained that could be dangerous as there may be traffic behind and that the car was going to stop at the lines.
“How do you know he’ll stop? What if he doesn’t?
I tried to explain that that’s how driving works and that every driver would (normally) slow down, stop or give way at the double dotted lines at the end of the road.
But after 3 more emergency stops in similar situations I had to end the practical part of the lesson.
Afterwards I realised he was part of the generation that has grown up with smartphone in hand and had never taken any interest in his mums driving or how other other drivers conducted themselves on the road.
He’d never learned to ride a bike, never climbed a tree, never swung on a rope, never read a map, didn’t know anywhere in town except the walking bus route to the centre and the bus stop to school.
In later lessons asking him to find his way home was a sad joke.
… Flashback ends …
“So can you do next Monday Morning?”
“Can you make it Monday afternoon or maybe Wednesday? (I couldn’t face Monday) Oh and don’t bring your phone”
Latest news is that he is slightly better but not helping my caffeine addiction. Have a nice day!