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The Day I Knew I Wanted To Be A Trainer

November 5, 2018

How do the routers know which route to use when there are multiple paths?

I’m not sure.

I mean, if one route has four hops, but they are a fast connection, and another route has two hops, but they are slow, how does the router decide?

I still don’t know.

So, if . . .

LOOK! It doesn’t matter how many times you ask me that question, I STILL don’t know the answer! Now, if we can get back to lesson six, let’s talk about subnet masking.

I was attending a Microsoft training class. It was a two week “Introduction to NT Networking” class. Those of us in the class were brand new to networking. Well, all of us except one particular man. He was changing jobs. Like all of us, he was going into the support teams. But, unlike the rest of us, he was coming from the Helpdesk team.

The Helpdesk team was responsible for fixing network problems. I’m not even sure why he was in the class with us. He was well versed in network topologies and strategies. He was certainly far beyond where the rest of were at.

Unfortunately, he didn’t understand that the class was for beginners. He kept trying to drag the discussion down into the technical depths.

The instrutor’s name was Tim. He introduced himself the first day of the first class.

Welcome to Windows NT, New-to-Product training. My name is Tim and I will be your instructor for the next two weeks. One thing you should know about me, I’m from New York and people tell me that it shows.

He was not a gentle instructor. He was willing to be even harsh in the classroom. Not because it was a good teching technique, but because it was his personality.

At one point during the course, my computer broke. I teamed up with the person sitting next to me. The lectures we did independently. But, for the labs, we both worked on a single computer. It required a certain amount of talking. During one of the labs Tim leaned over the front of the monitors,

Are you done with the lab?


Keep the chit-chat down until you’ve finished the lab.

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I didn’t say anything. His comments, despite my having done nothing wrong, were completely in character. He really did simply teach using his own personality.

And it was fascinating. It was intoxicating. I had been a trainer in the past, but I had never seen someone so comfortable in front of a class. And I’d never seen someone take control of a class the way Tim did.

I realized at that moment, that training, or more accurately, being a trainer, was more than delivering content. It was almost like a performance. The trainer was as important as the material. In fact, the trainer was more important. I don’t remember the content of that class I took all those years ago. But, I do remember Tim. I remember him answering questions. I remember how he took a class with 30 computers and 35 students.

I also remember that he approached me later after he’d made the comments about the lab.

Rodney, I just wanted to say I’m sorry for getting after you in class like that.

No problem.

I didn’t realize that your computer was broken and you were teaming up for the labs.


I finished that class and then took another two week New-to-Product course on Microsoft Mail. Later I would go on to work in the training group. I would write training materials on Microsoft Exchange, and I would travel the world delivering the content.

I can trace my desire to be a trainer to that day in Tim’s class.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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