These teens are driving me crazy: being a Sandburg Driver’s Ed teacher

Anastasia Berdusis, Staff Writer

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Driver’s Ed teachers are a huge part of Sandburg’s community. People know about the kid’s point of view, but what about the teacher? Teaching kids the rules of the road is a tough job and keeping everyone safe is a huge part of it.

When a new driver is on the road, the teachers need to be extremely aware of what’s around them and keep their focus there. Tailgating is the the first thing that new drivers should keep in mind on the road.

Mr. Klutcharch, a Driver’s Ed teacher here at Sandburg said, “Any kind of new drivers need to watch out for is tailgating — you can control what you’re doing, but you can’t control the people around you. Keep a safe distance between you and the driver ahead of you….distraction while driving is huge, distractions like kids in the car, your phone, music, the radio… teenagers have a lot going on and a lot on their mind, and they need to keep focused on driving and be aware of what’s going on around them and not just what or who is inside their car.”

The bigger concern of Driver’s Ed teachers for newer drivers is not getting the practice they need. Both Klutcharch and Mr. Hellrung, another Driver’s Ed teacher, agree that getting practice is one of the most important parts of being a good driver.

“Get the practice you need. Getting the experience is important. I always tell my kids to get 50 hours, 40 hours during the day and 10 at night. That gives you a good benefit, experiences like driving in all types of weather, in the dark, and things like that. Just being responsible enough to get your license, practice is number one,” said Mr. Klutcharch.

Most Driver’s Ed teachers enjoy teaching kids how to drive.
“I enjoy helping them, because I drive in the same areas as them, so I want them to be the safest drivers they can be. Another great thing is getting to a kid on a personal level — you get to have these conversations that you wouldn’t normally have in a classroom,” said Mr. Klutcharch.

There has also been many opinions on parking around and at Sandburg over who who should be able to park in certain places.
Mr. Klutcharch said, “I think kids should try and get their community service hours, along with keeping good grades, and athletes especially, they’re spending the most time here and I think that they should have preference on getting parking spots.”

Many students, such as those that are involved in extracurriculars and athletics, spend a lot of time here at school and varsity kids especially, with morning and afternoon practices.

Mr. Hellrung said, “It’s been an issue for 20 years, and now we have less kids than before, but there’s still a lot of staff and teenagers, so there isn’t that much to do about it. I’d say a good way to solve it would be a parking garage, but that’d be way too expensive. Lots of people have different philosophies on who should have a parking spot, but it’s an unfortunate situation that I don’t think there’s an answer to.”

Although others think that teaching inexperienced students can be scary, the years of experience with teaching students the same skills has made them indifferent to the mistakes students can make.

Mr. Hellrung said, “Being a Driver’s Ed teacher for 21 years, it’s really not as scary as many people think it is, but our worst fear is when students get nervous and they don’t know what’s going on and they slam on the brakes or the gas.”

Many students get nervous when they get into a car the first few times. “A lot of kids get nervous and that’s a huge part of being a Driver’s Ed teacher, to try and instill the confidence in them and let them know that we’re here to help them out, because once they get through that nervousness, that’s when their skills get a lot better,” said Mr. Hellrung.

The dangers of driving can be different from person to person, but a few can be similar. It all depends on which point of view you look at it from, teachers included.


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These teens are driving me crazy: being a Sandburg Driver’s Ed teacher