Well, I'm home from the first day of the MSF course.
The classroom session was, well, classroom stuff. We basically went over the stuff in the book. We spent the morning in the classroom, and then had a break for lunch. After lunch we started at the "range" - outside in a larger parking lot with the motorcycles. They introduced us to the machines slowly, starting with some exercises with the motorcycles off, then "power walks" - clutch partially out as the engine pushes the motorcycle and we walk along with it. We did various exercises throughout the day, getting fast enough to use third gear, practicing quick stops, and working on low speed maneuvering. I started off absolutely horrible at the low speed maneuvering, but once I relaxed and learned to trust the motorcycle, I got "not too bad." Though I never made it to "graceful" at low speed, I did manage to place the bike exactly where I wanted regularly. I also managed some nice rev-matched downshifts on the 2 -> 3 -> 2 exercise. We'll see how much of it stuck with me when we head back out tomorrow.
Quite a few of the people in the course already had at least some motorcycle experience, but one of us not only had no motorcycle experience, she also had no manual transmission experience. Our first shifting was done with the engines off and the bikes stationary, and she did take a bit longer to catch onto that than the rest of us. But she transitioned from that to "shifting while moving" very well.
We were expected to turn the bikes at speed using countersteering - by pushing on the handlebar on the side we wanted to turn toward (so to turn right, push the right handlebar forward). While that turns the front wheel left, it causes the bike to lean right, which causes it to turn right. I never managed to figure this out. I wasn't really trying to steer with the handlebars at all. I just looked around the corner, shifted my weight, and the bike went that way.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow, and to looking for a bike of my own.