Managing the Time

As everyone who has taught knows, no matter how well prepared you are, sessions never unfold exactly as you expected and planned. Being flexible and open to this kind of change in plans or the schedule is one characteristic of a good teacher. However, you need to balance this flexibility with time management. Following are some techniques for time management:

  • When planning the session (see Class Planning for more about this), anticipate how long each section and activity will take. Make sure you leave a few minutes leeway in each direction.
  • Have a clock or watch handy and keep an eye on it.

  • Be prepared to change your plans if you are running out of time. This requires that you think on your feet. You may need to cut out one section you originally intended to teach. Remember that it is better to cover less and be sure that students truly learn the material than to cover more in a quick or superficial manner.

  • Have a plan for following up with more information or providing clarification if you run out of time. An online course research guide allows you the opportunity to present information that wasn’t covered during the session. An email to a professor with more information can be forwarded to students.


For your next session, estimate how long each section will take. Afterward, see how realistic your estimations were and adjust accordingly. What happened to make those sections go more slowly or quickly?