It's Over, 7.15 out of 9

So, my first experience with teaching a programming class is finally over. 6 days, 983 pages, and everything was covered for .NET Foundations.... Unfortunately, I lost the students on the second half of the course. When we got to Reflections, Hashing, Application Interoperability, Threading, and Trusts, my teaching skills weren't developed enough to pass the material on as easily to the students.

I think that I may be able to pass on those concepts on another try.

So, I got my evaluation by the students, and I ended up getting a 7.15/9.0, which in Microsoft Teaching Terms wasn't too hot. Anything below an 8 out of 9 is considered bad in the microsoft certified trainer world.

Everyone told me that it wasn't so bad for a first programming class. Teaching definitely went far in excess of what's required to pass a certification exam. A Microsoft certification exam takes a 70% to pass. To teach requires about a 95% comprehension level and it is quite a jump.

Anyway, I survived.. I'm off work all the way until January 5th, and I'll probably need the next couple of days for rest..
I've escaped call centers and so can you! Certification Trail and mean pay job offers for me: A+ == $14, Net+==$16, MCSA==$20-$22, MCAD==$25-$30, MCSD -- $40, MCT(Development), MCITP Business Intelligence, MCPD Enterprise Applications Developer -- $700 a Day

Comments

  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    That seems like it would be one of the more difficult topics to cram into six days. I think that's pretty good for a first attempt.

    What sort of experience/training did you have leading up to that?

    Was there a disparity amongst the students' skill levels? I think that would make teaching such a course an absolute nightmare.
  • MCPWannabeMCPWannabe Posts: 194Member
    dynamik wrote:
    That seems like it would be one of the more difficult topics to cram into six days. I think that's pretty good for a first attempt.

    What sort of experience/training did you have leading up to that?

    Was there a disparity amongst the students' skill levels? I think that would make teaching such a course an absolute nightmare.

    Would you believe that I only had the experience of the Microsoft Press Books? The almost amazing thing about the entire experience was that I found myself teaching people who had been programming for years at some relatively prestigous programming jobs. They weren't dumb.

    But what's happened is that the technology has changed so quickly that a programmer can find themselves completely outdated in about a 7 year time frame.

    It's that speed of change that creates all the opportunities for programming and quickly ushers people out of the field. But I found that going over my lab exercises, understanding them, and practicing was worth its weight in gold.

    Regarding programming instructors, there is a shortage of programming instructors. This is why I was thrown into teaching the class so quick. To be able to teach .NET, one must have their MCPD and it just isn't something that many programmers can handle.
    I've escaped call centers and so can you! Certification Trail and mean pay job offers for me: A+ == $14, Net+==$16, MCSA==$20-$22, MCAD==$25-$30, MCSD -- $40, MCT(Development), MCITP Business Intelligence, MCPD Enterprise Applications Developer -- $700 a Day
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    That's pretty impressive. Have you had any experience doing any other sort of training or group speaking? I could offer up some pretty good instruction one-on-one over coffee, but I'd be a little uncomfortable getting up in front of a classroom.
  • MCPWannabeMCPWannabe Posts: 194Member
    I was on the high school and college debate team, but there are plenty of people who have had little experience before teaching. It just depends on how excited you get about the material. For technical classes, it's strange but it is almost like you get into a zone. You start presenting stuff and students will start to ask you questions on your topic of expertise. Suddenly, everything else fades out and you can concentrate on the material.

    I couldn't trade the training lifestyle for anything. For one thing, I hate the 8-5 routine. I'm glad that I don't work every single day. And I get bored with doing the same thing over and over again on a job. Training is cool because you are always learning something new. It's like being a researcher but without the job of being published -- even though that is an option.

    And it's opened up so many opportunities for me.. I'm about to get feedback on one of them now.. Now that I'm in it, I don't think that I could ever completely abandon training.
    I've escaped call centers and so can you! Certification Trail and mean pay job offers for me: A+ == $14, Net+==$16, MCSA==$20-$22, MCAD==$25-$30, MCSD -- $40, MCT(Development), MCITP Business Intelligence, MCPD Enterprise Applications Developer -- $700 a Day
  • dynamikdynamik Posts: 12,314Banned ■■■■■■■■□□
    Awesome. I'm glad it's working out for you and that you enjoy it. Keep us posted!
  • FirstCoolFirstCool Posts: 3Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    MCPWannabe,

    First off, I want to congratulate you on your call center escape. It's always great to hear that hard work pays off financially and that you enjoy your new employment situation. That combination is not easy to achieve.

    I also want to thank you for your candor in describing your experiences. It's refreshing to hear from the "other side" of a classroom teaching situation, especially since I'm now ready to take a 70-536 class! I've been studying for 70-536 for many months and am ready for a boot camp experience.

    I still study the MS Press 70-536 book, plus the Base Class Library book and the Visual C# Step by Step book. My plan is to take your advice and start coding the labs in the book this month, then take a boot camp in three or four weeks, and then take the test.

    So far Unitek.com is the only vendor offering just the 70-536 class and test. All the others I found (MCSEclasses.com, NetWind.com, TrainingCamp.com, and CEDSolutions.com) all offer a combination of 70-536 plus whatever second test is required to complete one of the MCTS certifications. I agree completely with your assessment that 70-536 alone can be overwhelming, and I only want to tackle that one test.

    Unitek is offering a class near me (Northern California) later this month but my employer requires quite a bit of lead time to approve the class so I may not make it in time. Do you know of anyone else besides Unitek who offers 70-536 alone? I also find it interesting that AmericanIT.org and Unitek both appear to be offering the same material at the same time in the same places.

    Or...... should I be looking at vendors who offer Microsoft courses 2956 and 2957 and then just schedule the test very soon after taking that pair of classes? ONLC.com and QuickStart.com appear to provide the 2956 and 2957 material in a classroom setting. They just don't mention 70-536 or taking a test. Is taking both of those courses equivalent to a 70-536 boot camp?

    Walt
  • DeepCodeDeepCode Posts: 29Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    MCPWannabe wrote: »
    ...... When we got to Reflections, Hashing, Application Interoperability, Threading, and Trusts, my teaching skills weren't developed enough to pass the material on as easily to the students. ......

    So, I got my evaluation by the students, and I ended up getting a 7.15/9.0, which in Microsoft Teaching Terms wasn't too hot. Anything below an 8 out of 9 is considered bad in the microsoft certified trainer world......

    Please don't be too hard on yourself. According to your post in the 536 thread, these "experienced" programmer students had difficulties grasping basics like method-overloading, collections and polymorphism hence, they WILL have a hard time understanding App Domains, Reflection, Threading, CallBack functions and Trusts, especially on the first attempt.

    The "prerequisites" or the suggested qualification for taking the MS exams are too vague so I think it's quite impossible to proclaim who is qualified or unqualified to take can exam. For example, according to the 536 self-paced kit, a candidate must "have a working knowledge of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Visual Basic or C#." What exactly is working knowledge?

    Using the review of the students solely as the evaluation method of the instructor is certainly not the most effective and absolute way. In this case, assuming MOST of the students didn't understand the basics, how is their inability to grasp the material your fault? Also, most people who have passed this exam, including myself, will tell you one will not understand everything on the first read. Some chapters certainly took multiple reads to grasp. I am facing this issue currently with the 529.

    Maybe MS should add instructor-evaluations of students to the total evaluation process, if it's not being done already. This should put the "evaluations" of the students in a "scaled" perspective.

    btw, I have enjoyed reading your experiences as a MCT- Thanks
  • MCPWannabeMCPWannabe Posts: 194Member
    FirstCool wrote: »
    MCPWannabe,

    First off, I want to congratulate you on your call center escape. It's always great to hear that hard work pays off financially and that you enjoy your new employment situation. That combination is not easy to achieve.

    I also want to thank you for your candor in describing your experiences. It's refreshing to hear from the "other side" of a classroom teaching situation, especially since I'm now ready to take a 70-536 class! I've been studying for 70-536 for many months and am ready for a boot camp experience.

    I still study the MS Press 70-536 book, plus the Base Class Library book and the Visual C# Step by Step book. My plan is to take your advice and start coding the labs in the book this month, then take a boot camp in three or four weeks, and then take the test.

    So far Unitek.com is the only vendor offering just the 70-536 class and test. All the others I found (MCSEclasses.com, NetWind.com, TrainingCamp.com, and CEDSolutions.com) all offer a combination of 70-536 plus whatever second test is required to complete one of the MCTS certifications. I agree completely with your assessment that 70-536 alone can be overwhelming, and I only want to tackle that one test.

    Unitek is offering a class near me (Northern California) later this month but my employer requires quite a bit of lead time to approve the class so I may not make it in time. Do you know of anyone else besides Unitek who offers 70-536 alone? I also find it interesting that AmericanIT.org and Unitek both appear to be offering the same material at the same time in the same places.

    Or...... should I be looking at vendors who offer Microsoft courses 2956 and 2957 and then just schedule the test very soon after taking that pair of classes? ONLC.com and QuickStart.com appear to provide the 2956 and 2957 material in a classroom setting. They just don't mention 70-536 or taking a test. Is taking both of those courses equivalent to a 70-536 boot camp?

    Walt


    Walt,

    Thank you and very good questions. Now, my first question would concern whether you have one or more people taking the class or just you. Right now, with the current economy, most training centers will definitely create a class when 3 or more people sign up for it; many training centers will create a class when 2 people sign up for it.

    There is an easy way to figure out if a class will do what we call 'making it' in the industry. Figure the average instructor cost for a .NET 2.0 class at $750 a day. Multiply that times the number of days. Then, find the number of people in a class. If the amount of money that the class brings in is at least double what the instructor brings in, then the class will 'make.'

    Any training center can offer the class. Most of them will contract with an instructor once it appears that a class makes it.

    The best place to find the class would be here:

    Microsoft Learning Class Locator

    And remember that the best way to find the class is to call in. Training centers will bend over backwards if they can get a class started. New Horizons and a few others -- basically any Microsoft Certified Vendor can offer the class. Right now, to give you an example, a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner is taking me out to lunch this Saturday. The company had to stop offering programming classes because they couldn't find trainers. Now, they are in the process of making an agreement with me where it is a win/win. They get to advertise and book those ultra-expensive programming courses; I get what is called a local draw or revenue stream where I have plenty of work next to home on weeks where I don't want to travel.

    There are other centers like this.

    Final point, regarding your preparation, you've done it right. You'll be ready for the test after you take the class. One other point, try to enroll in a training center that has a deal with transcender or Measureup. That way you can practice questions so that you will be ready to take a test as soon as possible.
    I've escaped call centers and so can you! Certification Trail and mean pay job offers for me: A+ == $14, Net+==$16, MCSA==$20-$22, MCAD==$25-$30, MCSD -- $40, MCT(Development), MCITP Business Intelligence, MCPD Enterprise Applications Developer -- $700 a Day
  • MCPWannabeMCPWannabe Posts: 194Member
    DeepCode wrote: »
    Please don't be too hard on yourself. According to your post in the 536 thread, these "experienced" programmer students had difficulties grasping basics like method-overloading, collections and polymorphism hence, they WILL have a hard time understanding App Domains, Reflection, Threading, CallBack functions and Trusts, especially on the first attempt.

    The "prerequisites" or the suggested qualification for taking the MS exams are too vague so I think it's quite impossible to proclaim who is qualified or unqualified to take can exam. For example, according to the 536 self-paced kit, a candidate must "have a working knowledge of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Visual Basic or C#." What exactly is working knowledge?

    Using the review of the students solely as the evaluation method of the instructor is certainly not the most effective and absolute way. In this case, assuming MOST of the students didn't understand the basics, how is their inability to grasp the material your fault? Also, most people who have passed this exam, including myself, will tell you one will not understand everything on the first read. Some chapters certainly took multiple reads to grasp. I am facing this issue currently with the 529.

    Maybe MS should add instructor-evaluations of students to the total evaluation process, if it's not being done already. This should put the "evaluations" of the students in a "scaled" perspective.

    btw, I have enjoyed reading your experiences as a MCT- Thanks

    You are right. It's a tough thing to deal with when the prereq's are not met. Unfortunately, desperate sales people will often do whatever it takes to fill a class without properly reading the little paragraph disclaimers that state what a person needs for a class. It can be a headache.

    Regarding experienced programmers, I just don't know what to make of this industry. I recently took on a volunteer project as a lead developer for a non-profit. Right off the bat, I met the IT guy who has 21 years of experience. He didn't know how to data bind a collection.

    My take on this is that people often get used to coding the same way over and over again, and find themselves quickly out of the loop.

    That's my guess to this. The people at that firm came from a top paying company. It's always fun to teach the programming classes because you can tell where the money is going.

    -- You go to a A+ class and you see the students get out of a bunch of beat-up cars in the parking lot.
    -- You go to a Networking class and you see the students get out of average cars, a few good ones
    -- Go to a database class and you see the students get out of luxury cars
    -- Go to a programming class and you see all the students get out of new cars

    Don't ask me about why, but I take it that programming pays well but it is hard for people to stay on top. Database management pays very well and changes a lot more slowly than programming -- it's like the intermediate stage. Networking can pay well but usually does an average salary. A+ is just pure poverty.
    I've escaped call centers and so can you! Certification Trail and mean pay job offers for me: A+ == $14, Net+==$16, MCSA==$20-$22, MCAD==$25-$30, MCSD -- $40, MCT(Development), MCITP Business Intelligence, MCPD Enterprise Applications Developer -- $700 a Day
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