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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
I taught MOC2310B (ASP.NET bilingual class - VB.NET & C#) this week. Like most Microsoft 5 day courses, it can easily be delivered in 4 days without sacrificing any content. Instead of delivering the training from 9am - 4pm Monday through Friday, I deliver it from 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday through Thursday. I've done this with a few classes and the students seem to prefer it this way.

This week in particular really stands out for me because it was probably the most rewarding class I've taught in a while. You know how you can see when someone finally makes the connection and really gets it? I saw a lot of that this week. I'm not saying this like I'm god's gift to instructors, because I know I'm not, but it felt really good to be able to answer all the questions that came my way and to see people starting to really understand it. One student told me that this class really "filled in a lot of holes" in her knowledge. Another student said it really clicked for him around day 3 and that everything he struggled with before finally made sense. That's just awesome!

The fact that it was a relatively small class (6 people) just makes the one to one interaction even easier of course. One thing I try to do is incorporate my own professional experience into the course material whenever appropriate. Sometimes that means a module goes a little longer than it's scheduled for, and of course sometimes I deviate from the module entirely (although I still get the material covered.)

It's kinda funny... I click with the students pretty quickly, but I totally freak (internally) in interviews or if I'm being observed by a boss. I guess it that's whole thing about how the very act of observing changes whats being observed... I do fine in front of groups, user groups, code camps, classes, etc... but as soon as you stick someone in there to actually evaluate me... my brain freezes up... just like in interviews. I say stupid things, I forget things, it's awful. Of course I usually feel like I'm fumbling and stammering throughout the presentation and then when I say something about being nervous afterwards people tell me it wasn't notceable. (Maybe they're just being nice...?)

That's not to say there haven't been times when I could have been better prepared, but I definitely learned from those too. Someone told me once that you have to be at least a little arrogant to be a good trainer... you have to think you know enough to be able to teach others... of course the real trick is that you have to not be so arrogant that you fool yourself into thinking you don't need to prepare. I won't make THAT mistake again. Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2006 5:50 PM General Interest | Back to top

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