A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to conduct a 3-day training about agile methodologies with a focus on SCRUM framework during a Java Bootcamp. It was my first time as a lecturer so I felt a bit stress before even though I thought that I am prepared well. When I start everything went as I wanted( mostly :) ) and all three days were quite good from my perspective.
However, I noticed a few things that I should improve or change and then also things that went well and it is worth to do it again. Because it is normal that some devs get offers to teach newcomers and they may meet the same problems I decided to share some of my thoughts about teaching others during formal training.
Be 20-30 minutes before the start.
Especially on the first day. You will have time to get comfortable with your class and a chance to fix some unexpected obstacles. Find the best place to stand and speak. Set up all your devices and take a few deep breaths :)
80% of practice and 20% of theory!
I try to follow the Pareto principle whenever it is possible. Almost everyone prefers hands-on training than theory. If there is too much-speaking chances are you will bore participants. Instead, add at minimum a few practical exercises. Especially if it is your first meeting with new people. Think about activities that could be performed in pairs or even in groups. People will appreciate that and.
Practice your exercises before training.
Practical exercises are good - that being said you have to explain them to the group, which is not always easy. Best if you make a testing exercise with your friends or workmates. It is really helpful. People will ask questions related to the rules of the exercise which might be obvious for you but not for them and it is better to hear that from people whom you know rather than during real training. Even if you think that the task is easy I recommend you at least saying the explanation aloud. It will help you realize if you have missed something.
Do not look at your slides! Look at your audience!
If you want to be considered a professional know your slides and look at them only when you want to point at something specific.
Give short and valuable answers.
I like to talk and I like to explain things, but when you have limited time and want to share as much knowledge as you can it is better to give short answers.
Stay positive and keep smiling!
It is obvious. It is better and healthier for us, but during a stressful situation, we could forget about that. Add some hidden reminder about smiling during the presentation i.e. take your favorite cup with you or just add info "smile" into one of your note for a slide.
There will always be someone!
Someone who does not listen. Someone who is not involved. Someone who will be disappointed or dissatisfied. It is hard to please everyone so do not be discouraged when you hear some noise of complaints about you or your classes. Listen to constructive criticism and ignore naysayers!
And that is all. Do you have any thoughts about your first time speaking or conducting some kind of Bootcamp training?