Thoughts on training

Yesterday was my first day of corporate training. It was surprisingly
draining. On my feet almost the entire day, facing the same crowd,
waiting for their questions… After the training, I was so zoned out!
Fortunately, it was just a short walk to Powerbooks in Greenbelt. To
top it all off, I discovered a chocolate bar quite near there!

The trainees are remarkably independent, preferring to work on the
exercises on their own or in small, informal groups instead of
listening to me explain the solution. My role is more of a
facilitator. I point them to the documentation. I also walk back and
forth looking for people who are stuck at a problem or are faced with
a trivial bug they can’t find and fix, and I give them small hints.

For this group, it seems very important to gain mastery of the basics
first – so we’ll stick with the promised coverage and we’ll have
plenty of exercises. That works out for them because they’ll have time
to gain confidence. That works out for the training company as well
because they’ll have an opportunity to do Advanced Perl Scripting.

It was a very good thing that I’m used to this style of teaching -
embedding lessons in exercises that build on each other and involve
several concepts. If I expected to lecture, I’d have been dead on the
first day! With that in mind, I had a lot of fun preparing more
exercises for them. I worked until one in the morning. A phonebook at
my side, I came up with all sorts of phone-related exercises. I hope
they take it well; they might just be sick and tired of anything that
looks like work after all!

I met Dominique yesterday and we swapped notes on training. From what
little I know of it, I rather like corporate training. It gives me a
chance to spread the good news of UNIX. ;) That said, I like school
teaching, too. Maybe I can do part-time teaching and part-time
training in the future.