As for the class, going in, I was afraid it was going to be a lot of memorization of configuration parameters, deep explanations of the query optimizer, and lots of very complex joins.
I was only partially right, multiway joins, outer joins, and joins with aggregation functions are one of those things I understand, right until I don't. I can tell this is something I'm going to have to spend a couple of 12 hour days just myself working slowly thru the workbooks and thru "Headfirst SQL" until it clicks in.
Yesterday the instructors asked me to stand up and teach for a short bit, the section on "Other Storage Engines", since mainly what the class presented was MyISAM, InnoDB, and Memory. So I stood up and quickly ran down the list of Blackhole, CSV, Federated, Cluster, Falcon, Maria, SolidDB, Brighthouse, Nitro, Memcached, HTTP, S3, ODBC, Lua, and Tokyo Cabinet. I ran down some stuff about past, future, features, uses, free/nonfree, and so forth for each one. I got a question about BDB, which I deflected, pleading ignorance.
And now we start day four. Prepared Statements, load infile, select outfile, and stored procedures.