Frustrations of teaching

This semester has been a roller-coaster ride for me as a teacher and as a tutor. A series of schedule changes, moved around campuses, back pays resulting to massive tax, suitability and an assortment of students. Amidst all these, its teaching that keeps me sane. It is that joy of seeing someone figure out something that is complex or achieve their goal, particularly in IT.

I missed moments when either while walking in the mall or during a commute I would meet a former student. Love hearing stories like where they currently work, what they do and how my class made an impact on where they are right now. Maybe I am just becoming nostalgic. Maybe I was just lucky, maybe I just got older and lost my touch on things.

When I started teaching, I have always had that goal where I want my students to come in to class with expectation. I want them to go to class not because they had to, but because they look forward to what they are going to get out of it. This past few weeks I feel like most of them treat my class as a chore.

I got so many questions this semester. Is it the quality of students? Is it me? Is it the quality of education that is given? Is there not enough time for them to digest all these information? With how things are happening next semester, it will be harder than this semester.

Don’t get me wrong, the really good ones stay, do the work and just ask questions. I appreciate that. I just get frustrated when students just give up when things get tough. They are not even trying, they just gave up. As much as I hate what might happen at the end of semester, I have no choice but to fail them.

I intentionally finish the lecture early and jump into the labs so they have more time to work on it. An opportunity to ask questions and just learn from their mistakes.

Virtual Networking Certification

Next month I will be taking my 5th certification exam for the year. It’s the 5th because I considered my CCNP R&S as 3 separate exam. The 5th exam will be Brocade’s BCVRE, which is pretty much the equivalent of CCNA in Cisco, only difference is that its virtual routing. It’s all about understanding and configuring Brocade’s Vyatta virtual router and how it applies to your Software Driven Network.

It was by accident how I ended up with preparing for this exam. I was scanning through facebook when I saw an add about Brocade that got my attention. An awesome bundle which includes a 60-day trial of vRouter 5400, on-line 170-010 course and voucher code to take the BCVRE for free. The entire package according to Brocade amounts to $650, I wouldn’t want to pass up on that opportunity.

Unfortunately no one at work really knows about Brocade. Everyone knows what is Cisco, Juniper and Dell networking devices but no one has an idea about Brocade. I only heard about them when I was listening to one of the Packet Pusher podcasts.

I started going through the materials and I find it really interesting. There was a sense of excitement learning something new, I know, its all the same concepts, almost the same commands but I just feel like this newby, very much the same feeling when I first got into CCNA. I am at awe when I get to execute a simple command such as running a static command on a virtual router.

It’s pretty much like Cisco where you get into different configuration mode but this one you always start with the “set” or “edit” command. Instead of typing “do” in front of a command that’s not within the correct mode, you type “run”. You “commit” everything first before a command is executed.

Everything is in brackets, its like looking at programming codes. Pretty neat.

Honestly, I feel like I am becoming a certification junkie. Just trying to get whatever certification is out there specially if its free. I just want to learn and since I am learning it might as well get certified with it. I am still out there looking for a better job, so while I wait I make good use of my time learning.

I guess I am just making up for what I missed last year. I missed the boat when I told all my peers last year that AWS would be the next big thing. I started it, never really pursued it but I was right it did become huge. Most jobs I see now requires having someone with experience with AWS.

I don’t wanna miss that boat again and will follow my gut this time. SDN is happening, gone are the days when you have dedicated SysAds and Network Engineers. I’ve been telling my students since last year that tomorrow’s networks will be managed by hybrid Network Engineers, someone who knows software and hardware driven networks. DevOps is a buzz word that making its presence felt nowadays.

What’s my plan? I am dropping plans for VMware VCP-NX for now and will focus on Vyatta and maybe work on CHEF.

BCVRE

It’s been a week since I have been out of commission and just at home recuperating from back pains. Turns out I have a minor slip disc in my spine and will be seeing a neuro-surgeon tomorrow as a precautionary measure. Praying really hard that I won’t end up on an operating table.

Anyway, updates…Looking at my calendar and the things I have to accomplish before the end of the year seems like getting a VCP-NV would not be possible. However, I would be taking another certification exam in a month’s time. It is the Brocade Certified vRouter Engineer which focuses on virtual routing using Vyatta.

What really attracted me to this certification is that it was free for a limited time, the training, software and the exam itself. Unlike VMware’s VCA cert where you can take it from home, this one, you have to book it in a testing center. As usual, I booked it on a Thursday morning at Gold Coast out of tradition.

Going through the study materials, I find it really interesting to learn because its running off linux commands and its CLI. Yes, you can configure the vRouter using the web based GUI but I’d much rather prefer using the CLI. So far, no kinks in the labs unlike my vmware labs wherein Esxi is just finicky when it comes to NIC cards installed on your whitebox.

Let us see how I go and will keep all of you updated.