Here is what I did and do. Maybe it will help, maybe not. As always YMMV.
I do offer merit badge “classes” to get the ball rolling, and do some teaching/education. Why not? It’s what happens at summer camp, so I’m not really doing anything different.
I initially only registered myself for merit badges that I was an expert in or was good enough and felt comfortable counseling/teaching. I now am registered for quite a bit more, but usually am not the primary teacher, or am truly there just as a counselor to help mentor them with partials that they started at summer camp.
If it’s a new class I’ve never done, I try to watch someone else do it (as a co-MBC) or at least look through presentations (PPT) that others have done first. Also, it takes a lot of hours to put together a class, so I have also divided up the content with another instructor and we each take a few areas.
Many (most?) merit badges have homework that has to be done outside of class, and I make it clear up front before they sign up that they have to do work on their own and report back. Usually I break up a merit badge across multiple meetings as after about 60 minutes of Zoom their eyes glaze over.
Others like Swimming we’ve been able to get done in a single, very long session, or we do the book work items over Zoom and do the practical (swimming, shooting for target) at a different meeting.
- I do follow-up with them from time to time to remind them about homework, and have not been opposed to ensuring that their parents are aware of it as well.
In the end I think my best good guideline is to try to be consistent with what they would be doing at summer camp. Most merit badges at camp run one hour a day for four days, so about 4 hours, so that seemed to me a good yard stick to compare what I do by, though because my class sizes are smaller some of them can go faster.
@JasonCostarakis really wrote the heart of it that is worth QFT
" have to respectfully take exception to half of this. I agree that MBCs are not lecturers, that would really go against the principles of Scouting. We are however absolutely Teachers! There may be different interpretations of what a Teacher is, with some considering the craft to be mostly lecturing and testing which I would argue is doing it wrong. A good teacher is a Guide, helping the Student to explore and develop knowledge. That is EXACTLY what MBCs are supposed to be doing, and there are plenty of references to Teaching beyond the requirements. Evaluation and sign off is absolutely “No More, No Less”, but there should be a lot more engagement and Teaching than just the bare minimum of the requirements."
Lastly, I would suggest that at some point you just got to jump in the pool. Some classes will be amazing, some you will realize weren’t the best and it’s just areas to improve on. Even still, you are doing a postive something and providing opportunities to these scouts.
OK, I said lastly, but the other really lastly is that as we said many MB’s will have homework and the hardest part is seeing the scouts have partials for what seems like forever. Just remember it’s not a reflection on you if they do not push themselves to get their MBs done. Sooner or later they will get a sense of urgency (or their parents will) and all of a sudden there will be this big flurry of activity.