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Oh, the life of a new trainer. It’s filled with excitement, nervousness, and so many unknowns. Will the learners like me? Will they like the course? What about timing? Do I have too much content or too little? Will I have to rush through the material? Will I be able to present it all in the allotted time? What if I get asked a question that’s outside the scope of the course?
We recommend practicing your delivery as well as your timing. There’s a great quote from Benjamin Franklin, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” Preparation is the foundation for effective time management and your overall success as a trainer.
At Langevin, we teach in 1-hour chunks, with 5-minute breaks throughout the day. When I’m teaching, I keep notes, with a breakdown of what I need to say and where I need to be, for each hour of content. Sometimes, things don’t work out exactly as planned and I may fall behind. Guess what? That’s okay. I know I can make up the time in the next hour. As long as you keep the end in mind, a little flexibility along the way never hurt anyone.
In our Instructional Techniques for New Instructors workshop, we share additional tips to help instructors with this very important task. Here are our top ten tips to help you manage classroom time:
1. Start on time—always!
2. Check regularly to ensure you are on schedule.
3. Deal with digressions quickly and diplomatically.
4. Let learners know what will and will not be covered in the course to minimize digressions.
5. Give tight time limits for learner exercises.
6. Circulate during exercises to help with blockages and to spur on the groups.
7. Announce how much time is left for exercises to keep groups on schedule.
8. Have a separate flip chart with “ISSUES” as the heading. When someone raises a topic you don’t have time to handle, list it on the flipchart. Then, if time permits, deal with all issues at the end of the course.
9. Have an optional session for 30 minutes at the end of each day for people who wish to pursue a topic in more depth or discuss a topic that is not included in the course.
10. Offer to arrive 30 minutes early in the morning to discuss issues in more depth with individuals.
With these tips, you’ll excel at time management. You’ll also show your learners that you care about them and their learning. You’ll be calm, stress free, and have more time to focus on your learners.
Peter Drucker said, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” What do you do to help manage your time in the classroom? I look forward to hearing from you!
You can learn even more about this topic, as well as other key instructional techniques, in our Instructional Techniques for New Instructors workshop.