Although the overall content of the course is rarely at the discretion of the TA, it is important to make sure that you attempt to cover the appropriate amount of material in section. Try to cover too much and you may not get to discuss some of the most important topics and the students may leave feeling rushed or with unanswered questions. Don't try to cover enough material and there may be awkward "dead time" that could be better utilized.
Here are some suggestions to help TAs manage their time:
- Write out lesson plans ahead of time, including the amount of time alloted to each segment/activity.
- Run through the lesson plan in "real time" to see if the amount of material you have planned is appropriate.
- After conducting just a few sections you can assess whether, in general, you need to include more material or if you are constantly trying to "cram in" too much material. You will also get a better sense of your students- how much they understand, at which speed they are comfortable to cover materal.
It is often helpful to have a list of general discussion questions on hand for each section in case your lesson finishes early. Alternatively, if you run out of time, you can send your students away with questions to think about on their own or that they should respond to and retrun to you at your next meeting.