First thing in the morning, I have a check test.
Every few years, us instructors have to give a driving lesson with an examiner sat in the back, to make sure we're still up to the job.
Instructors are graded from 1 to 6. Grade 6 is the highest. Grades 1,2 or 3 are not good enough, and if you fail to make at least grade 4 three times, they take your name off the register.
My first one was about 4 years ago, just a few months after I'd become fully qualified. I got a grade 5. Lots of 6's on the checklist, but just short of an overall 6 grade.
I know I'll do OK tomorrow. A grade 6 would be nice. A 5 is fine. I'll be disappointed with a 4, and unless something very strange happens, I'm not going to get less than that.
I got a disappointing grade 4. It's a pass, and I can carry on doing my job for the next few years, but I didn't really do myself justice today. Not good at tests, me. I crap myself every time.
My first check test occurred a few scant months after becoming fully qualified.
Being unsure of myself, I sought advice from the person that trained me to be an instructor. I was nervouse going into it, and put a lot of work into what I wanted to do. Then, at the last moment, all my carefully prepared lesson plans were scuppered because I got a phone call informing me that I would have to do the check test from a different test centre.
So I had to extemporise, and things were very natural, because that's generally what I do in a typical lesson anyway.
This time around things were different. I was pretty certain that I wasn't going to fail, and a top grade is mainly a selling point - since I'm paying some guy to give me the work, the grade is as much a matter of pride as anything.
So I was surprised to find that last night, my head was full of it all. When I finally got to sleep, I dreamed I had to do the test by teaching someone I know who I find difficult to deal with. (There was a pun of sorts in there too. This particular pain in the bum person was busy doing anything but what I needed her to be doing with a former pupil that shares the same first name as the girl I actually did the lesson with.)
And today, I was indeed nervous.
Sometimes I get a pupil that can deal with (for example) roundabouts, but one particular roundabout causes them no end of grief. The roundabout is just a series of hazards to be negotiated, just like any other bit of road, but my pupil, for whatever reason, associates that particular situation with fear.
So when confronted with it, they are less comfortable with it than they would be with an identical situation without the same associations.
There's a sort of interactive triangle going on. The labels in the boxes on each corner reading, PHYSICAL, INTELLECTUAL, and EMOTIONAL. Weaken one, and the entire triangle totters. Strengthen one and the entire triangle becomes sturdier.
In my case, the guy sitting in the back was the same person that I had to face for my final qualifying exam. I was far more conscious of his presence than I was a different examiner on my first check test. It's not his fault in any way, and the points he made during the debrief at the end of the test were absolutely correct.