As everyone reading this magazine knows, there is a massive shortage of truck drivers and diesel technicians across the United States. But, there is another shortfall related to the Trucking Industry and that is the scarcity of the truck driving instructors. TDDS Technical Institute located in Lake Milton, Ohio has been in the business of training professional truck drivers for over forty-five years and has never seen the lack of available truck driving instructors like this.
Larry Braham, Director of Truck Driver Training at TDDS says, “We are in dire need of retired truck drivers, part-time instructors. Most retirees get all their honey-do lists of things to do around their house done in six to twelve months and then don’t have a whole lot to do and they get bored and then their spouse is ready to kick them out of the house because they’re driving their them nuts. We need those guys!”
Although the State of Ohio requires the completion of an 86-hour instructor class, TDDS Tech puts their new instructor trainees through a 200-hour “in-house” training program of their own to teach retired truck drivers to become certified CDL instructors through the Ohio Department of Public Safety. TDDS is very particular about who is training their students. Our standards are a little strict.”
Twenty-one year veteran Sr. Instructor Frank Speziale explains, “We go through a few drivers before we find instructors that fit. Just because you can drive doesn’t mean you can teach. You need the temperament and patience to teach. We also have to break any bad habits you have and a TDDS instructor has to teach the ‘TDDS Way’. Also, you’re not going to get rich in education. Student success is the ultimate reward”. Speziale continues, “A good instructor demonstrates and explains what they’re doing and why. You have to be able to put yourself behind-the-wheel from the ground or the jump seat to teach, which isn’t easy as a new instructor.”
So, if someone is retired and has the need to smell the diesel fumes or just likes to be around trucks and trailers without having the stress of being out over-the-road and would like to pass their trade knowledge on to new, fresh, eager truck driving students, they should check into becoming a part-time truck driving instructor.