I am going to be teaching for the first time at the uni this coming semester, do you have any advice for a so far non-experienced student lecturer?
This is the response I wrote. I didn't think too much about it; instead I just recalled my own experience as a new instructor:
Well, hmmm... Once upon a time a long time ago I walked into my first classroom as a teacher (I was also an MA student at the time). I had had a couple of weeks of 'talking' training, but I had never yet stood in front of a class to teach. I was very, very nervous. For the first few weeks, I was stuck in this mindset of being a TEACHER and following a lot of rules, many of them things I'd absorbed through my upbringing and movies and whatnot. I was uptight, and my students could tell. One day, though, something cracked open. I don't know, really, what happened. But I was sort of punchy, as if I'd been up all night. I think I'd just over-exhausted myself trying to be in control and it all just fell apart. And that day I relaxed, was even a little goofy, and my students noticed. They even asked if I had spiked my morning soda!
I didn't really relax into teaching for at least another year or two. But I muddled through. It's a learning curve--a steep one--but one that, once you reach the summit, gives you a perspective on your own education and gives you insight into how you learn things. It helps you better relate to other people. That's the best I can explain.
You still end up being a TEACHER and having rules to follow, but you learn how to bend or break them if need be, and you often see the 'trouble' coming from far down the road. Often, that trouble is something that you yourself create through inexperience or some silly mistake. It will take a while to relax into it, so the best thing is to approach it as you being the leader of a group rather than the boss of the group, if that makes sense. I teach writing, and so I try to create a writing 'community'. Perhaps you can do the same thing with your new class; create a community. You're all in it together, after all :)
Also, always have a back-up whiteboard marker, keep good attendance records, and don't be worried that it takes 3 weeks to learn their names.