Teacher Time Management Strategies in the Classroom

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One of the frequent challenges for teachers, even ones with experience is how to manage time in the classroom. One may well ask, why time management is so important. Effective time management is crucial to provide quality education. In fact, teachers don’t really have enough time to teach considering the breaks, learner attention span (which is typically half an hour or less); moving between classrooms for various activities and downtime between lessons and activities (Mehta, 2019). 

Defining objectives for each lesson is key. Reading up on the course objectives for the long term and short term will help to form decisions on how much time to spend on certain areas. For example, a staged essay writing project will be expected to stretch over several weeks whereas stand-alone grammar or reading comprehension exercises could be done in a single lesson. 

So, how long should a lesson take? This will depend on whether the class is junior, secondary or postsecondary; how complex the teaching content is and the academic and social level of your students ((Time Management in the Classroom Teaching Strategies, n.d.) This is not to discourage new teachers but time management is a skill that develops over time. Only you as the teacher know how long it will take your students to complete a certain activity. This will help to plan your time around the lesson.  

There are some useful tips to manage time below: 

  • Do difficult things first  
  • Use breaks wisely (power nap) 
  • Be reasonable about how much you can accomplish 
  • Make lists (in order of priority). You will be amazed at how much time this saves! 
  • Keep a notebook for reminders 
  • Learn to delegate: some tasks such as distributing worksheets or collecting completed work can be done by students 
  • Lesson plans are useful as they provide crucial guidelines for content, instructional tools and assessments. But make sure they are flexible too and be ready to adapt. 
  • Review the material to be taught even if you have taught it before. You may not need to go over some things again 
  • Keep the class engaged. Always have backup work for those students who have finished early such as reading silently 
  • Have variety. Varied activities and different ways of doing the tasks will keep the class interesting. For example, timed activities such as role plays, in-class writing, individual presentations and group or pair work will keep the learners engaged. Remember, a bored class will inevitably lead to classroom behavioral issues which will just add to teacher stress on top of everything else! 

What do you do to manage class time? 


Mehta, A. (2019). STRATEGIES FOR TIME MANAGEMENT IN CLASSROOM. International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Literature (IMPACT: IJRHAL), 7(3), 249–252. https://oaji.net/articles/2019/488-1555413119 

Time management in the classroom teaching Strategies. (n.d.) https://www.priceless-teaching-strategies.com/time_management_in_the_classroom.html 

Mrs. Ozma Siddiqui is an English language instructor and has been in the field of English teaching for over 20 years. She has taught both the tertiary years and the international curriculum to young adults and beyond. Besides teaching, she is a reviewer of papers for the International Journal of English Language and Education. Mrs. Ozma has earned the MA in English Literature and ELT and the MA in Education. She is also qualified as a holder of the Trinity Postgraduate Diploma in TESOL. Mrs Ozma is currently a research scholar in Education and her primary interests lie in second and foreign language instruction, methodology and language acquisition, curriculum and testing.


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