The drive for success

To teach takes more than knowledge, especially on the road

Transcription by Istvan Bus, edited by Mila Boshnakova, photos by Rozalina

Fate is a strange phenomenon – it paves the way for some, while others are ignored and left wandering to find out what their life journey is. In this article, we would like to introduce Rozalina. She is driven by destiny. Or rather, she drives her destiny and teaches her students in the passenger seat.

“I love to drive,” states Rozalina. “The first person who taught me about cars was my father, and we often discussed this topic at home. Also, my husband has always been a driving instructor, and we met when I took driving lessons. Then we became a couple, as well as business partners. Teaching people how to drive keeps me inspired…

A family decision has drawn me into this profession. Our daughter became seriously ill and I could not work fixed hours, so I entered the family business. Until then, I was only managing the accounting and administration of the driving school. I started informally teaching the theory to my husband’s students. We both believe that an instructor should first master the theory, before proceeding with the practical part.”

However, knowledge on its own is never enough.

“You can be a teacher at school or a driving, fitness, or ski instructor, but to know your subject does not automatically mean you can convey that knowledge. Albert Einstein once said, ‘You do not understand the subject if you cannot explain it to a five-year-old…’

Moreover, the instructor must not overbear his student. That is crucial. Just because I know more than you about driving does not mean I should enforce this. My goal is to make every effort to teach what I know, or at least a bit of my knowledge. I have to see your individuality to find the right approach. I may need to lead you with a bit of a heavy hand, or remain silent, or adopt a work method that allows constant communication between us, and so on…

A good driver should look very far and not only right in front of him. The instructor is not doing a good job if he does not know how to direct the eyes of his students. I am constantly telling them where to look, where to focus on the road, to avoid taking action at the last moment. Those who use their arms and legs a lot, turn their heads around all the time, and eventually lose focus, are not good drivers. Those who use the brake often are not good drivers either, like the ones who let situations surprise them on the road.”

Moreover, due to her empathy, Rozalina has become quite popular among the foreigners in Sofia.

“My first student from abroad was from New Zealand around 2011-12, and she was desperately looking for someone to prepare her in English. There were not so many foreigners in Bulgaria at the time – I wonder whether the people in general and the state administration realize that the number of foreigners keeps growing. Anyway, after her, I started looking in this direction. And when someone is satisfied, the word-of-mouth recommendations start circling, which feels good! For instance, we put flag number 100 on the board in the classroom yesterday – meaning that we have had students from 100 countries so far…

I lived in the Arab world as a child with my parents, which is entirely different from Western and Eastern Europe. This experience helped me understand the people from those countries, to win their trust in the car. And also what their boundaries are because every culture sets its limits.”

Nonetheless, Rozalina considers her most notable achievement to be with another group in society: those with hearing impairments.

“They perform great if we use the right approach. The hearing-impaired see well on the road, know how to press and release the clutch, and handle the brake well despite not hearing their surroundings. They are the smoothest and most careful drivers.”

Are you eager for further tips on driving and how to choose the right instructor? Check out the complete conversation in Bulgarian, episode “Толкова съм назад, че печеля” in the podcast “Тайни познати.”

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