Yesterday evening Finn had his third proper driving lesson with me. We set off on a circuit of roundabouts, which he was coping well with, until we came to the big Tesco's one. It was dark and busy - the busiest Finn has had to deal with. We were following the road ahead and I realised Finn thought it was safe to go as all the traffic was on the inside lane. I took control at this point, telling him to wait until the roundabout was totally clear and then telling him when the gap was coming. We continued for a few more minutes until it was safe to pull up when he said he felt really stressed and didn't understand what was going on with the roundabout. I explained to him the correct procedure and then asked him about his stress levels - five out of ten on that roundabout and zero everywhere else.
Before we did the roundabout again we went and worked on junctions. The whole time Finn is concerned about what the Examiner will think about his driving. He is fixated on the driving test and constantly says, 'Will the Examiner fail me for this?'. I recognised it was necessary to develop his ability to self-evaluate. He drove round a five minute circuit of left and right turns and then we swapped seats and I suggested I drive the same route. He thought this was a great idea and agreed he would watch me in silence noticing my use of mirrors, speed on approach to the junctions and the timing of the gear change. When we swapped back I asked him what he would like to achieve on his circuit where ten was as good as my drive and zero was rubbish and he said nine. Once round the circuit he was only able to give himself a seven but was unable to say what was good or needed improving and wanted to know from me how he had got on. By way of answering him I suggested he drove the circuit again, discussing with him as he went what was good and what could be improved. When we again pulled up he had gone up to an eight. I then discussed with him what he thought about comparing his driving standard to mine, as an example, rather than his idea of the Examiner's and questioned him as to how he would make decisions when he was driving on his own. We spoke about the Tesco roundabout and his stress levels and how learning to recognise what triggers these kind of feelings and then managing them will keep him safe. We finished off the lesson by doing that roundabout again and this time he scaled himself as zero in terms of stress.
I know Finn will remain focused on the test and because he will probably pass it quickly I want to make sure he will have the skills to analyse his mistakes, recognise his strengths and his limitations and generally take responsibility when he is driving unsupervised.