First Person

Vitaly, 37, driving instructor:

I graduated from Moscow's Bauman Institute as a mechanical engineer in vacuum technology, and after graduation I worked for three years in a scientific enterprise. Then I worked as a trolleybus driver for 10 years. I liked it very much. As a kid, I always dreamt of driving buses and trolleybuses. Sometimes, after school, the boy next door and I would play bus drivers, with big pot lids as steering wheels. But working as a trolleybus driver, I gradually started to understand that it is a thankless job, and all my childhood dreams perished.

"Then my friend, a former colleague, told me that becoming a driving instructor would be a good opportunity for me, and I decided to try. I was a three-time winner of the local trolleybus fleet's best driver competition, with driving skills and knowledge of road rules.

"It's hard for me to say whether I'm a good driving instructor, but most of my students don't have any complaints. The difficulty depends on the person you're working with. Sometimes you just explain and they do it, but mostly it is a long process requiring patience, riding around with someone who doesn't have the skill to drive properly.

"The worst thing about the job is the way the students torture the car. All instructors have their own cars, and all the car expenses come out of my pocket -- the school only pays for half of the compulsory insurance. At least half of my salary goes on gas and repairs.

"I have been working as a driving instructor for three years now. At first, I took it as an art. But with years, it becomes like a routine.

"The best part is seeing the fruits of my labor. A student might call me a year later or send an SMS on my birthday or New Year with good wishes, thanking me again for teaching them how to drive. I think that I'm doing a very important thing."