CONGRATUALATIONS!!! Go ahead, do your happy dance. Done? Nope? Okay, keep going. Now that you have that out of your system you’re starting to feel those nerves, am I right? The ones that feel like you’re standing in front of your students in your underwear not knowing the answer to the one vital question they need to know to pass the exam? Yes, that will pass as did the happy dance stage; however, it will never completely fade. To help you overcome nerves, fears, and general scary day dreams here are a few tips for you to prepare yourself.
Have a separate binder for MSI: this includes a section for current class notes, current book notes, notes from when you took the class, yellow sign-in sheets, and purple log sheets. I personally enjoy the accordion folders because they are not as bulky and look more professional. The reason why I am telling you to physically prepare your materials is because you do not want to show up to a session leaving everything behind. This mishap is less likely to occur if you view MSI as its own class with its own personal binder/folder.
Look at your past notes. I meant to do this over spring break but things got a little too crazy and I ended up having my first session without going over my notes from when I took the class. Granted, I had been to lecture so I was refreshed of the information, but reviewing my past study guide and key things past teachers had highlighted would have given me a better direction for my first session. And believe me, those nerves you are suppressing right now, will immensely rise right before your session. Therefore, it is conducive to your sanity to see the bigger picture and be a step ahead of your students, rather than blindly trying to find the correct path.
When you introduce yourself that first day you are trying to convince people to go to an extra class. Students do not want to do this, even though it will help them. Therefore, think about your opening announcement. The one that I wish I had done is to scare them first, then get personal, then get logistical. What I mean by that is to have 1/3 of the class raise their hand and tell the rest that this is the amount of students who will get a C or worse, which is means to be kicked out of the psychology department (or whatever the statistic is for that year). This is a new technique from the same old, this is my name; this is why you should go. It grabs their attention and scares them a little bit. Then you be nice and introduce yourself and get personal. Now how to get personal? For me, when I took psych 10 I was warned that it was a hard class, that most people failed, heard the MSI speech and believed I was the exception who could ace it. Then I took the quiz that determined if you would be recommended to MSI (early alert quiz) and absolutely failed it. I mean bad. Then I went to MSI every week, actually read the book, and ended with an A. This forms a connection between a large group of students and yourself instantly. And then discuss the logistics of MSI and how it works. This grabs attention, forms a bond, so they are actually paying attention to the logistical (boring aspect)
Look at past MSI’s study review sheets, study guides, and activities. They are a good resource! For one thing, if you happen to have the same teacher as a past leader had you chances are that teacher will highlight and test the students on the same material/concepts. Furthermore, if you have a plethora of activities that are flexible to the varying number of students who attend your session you are less likely to be stumped during a session. Reviewing past MSI leaders’ suggestions on activities and which work best with which sized groups gives you an arsenal of activities that force students not only to interact with each other, but to also interact with the text. This as you will learn in your logistics meetings, is one of the best ways you can learn a new concept.
Always check your email and the class website (usually ecommons) before every section. The teacher may have posted a study guide, and if you go about your session without focusing on the study guide the students may not be too happy. Plus having a study guide is an easy model to base the topics you will cover in your session. Just make sure you know exactly what you are talking about (with an example) before you try to explain a concept to a confused student.
That is all the advice I have at the moment. I am sure I will think of others to tell you later on, so feel free to contact me with any issues or ideas. LSS will have my email and, if you contact me you will soon find out, that I am a talkative person. Good luck, breathe, you got this!