From Student to Instructor in ~ 3 years

Earlier this year Harper College of Illinois approached me with the opportunity to teach the CompTIA A+ Certification preparation course. This was the first certification that I had earned in my IT career about 4 years ago, and now I was being given the chance to lead new students through it. I did not expect a huge turnout for the course, but boy was I in for a surprise. Not only did the class have enough students to run, but there was also going to be a new Apprenticeship program beginning for CyberSecurity apprentices from local companies. There were 9 students in total.

This fledgling SysAdmin, whose only experience teaching was setting up some Lunch and Learns for technical staff and leading some Model United Nations simulations in college, jumped in the deep end with this new pursuit. Over the last 6 weeks (6 week course, two 4-hour classes per week), I have spent long hours preparing for edge-case questions, building scenarios to use the knowledge, and apply my own experiences to the materials to give real-world business case situations for its use. In this process I’ve taught myself some new material, learned about different teaching styles to keep people from yawning, and discovered that while normally I’m quite introverted this process of teaching is very fulfilling and brings out a more talkative side.

Using both materials provided by the college and my own home lab excess materials, we have dug into the entire list of objectives for the 901 and 902 CompTIA A+ exams. I hope that I have set up my students and apprentices for success, and built some relationships in the meantime as a guide into a career in IT. It is my hope that the students will lean on what we have covered, and if needed reach out to me as a sounding board in the future.

The Continuing Education department has invited me to teach the spring semester as well. I am immensely looking forward to a batch of new faces to the A+ class. With a little more time to plan, we’re hopeful to make the next round even more fun for everyone involved.

This next course run, I plan on blogging at least once a week about topics covered, stories of use cases, and digging a little deeper than the base objectives along the way.

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