Start on Time
When you only have 50 minutes of class time, starting 5+ minutes late every week is the same as eliminating one or two discussion meetings each semester! If you’re on time, you’re more likely to encourage students to be on time, particularly if you start with the important points of the discussion – let students know that you cover important material at the beginning of class. Try to ignore the late-comers as much as possible, without making them feel too bad or they might not show up at all. At the beginning of the semester, try letting students know you expect late arrivals to take a seat near the door as quietly as possible so as not to disrupt other students who arrive on time.
Have a Plan
At the beginning of each class, let students know what you intend to cover during the class. This can give you an outline, and can let them know what material they need to check on if you run out of time during the discussion section.
Try to Follow Your Lesson Plan
Write out a lesson plan ahead of time, including the amount of time you’ve allotted to each activity. After conducting a few sections, you can assess whether you need to add more material, or if you’re constantly trying to “cram in” too much information in a single class session.
- Have some back-up discussion questions ready to go in case your discussion section finishes with time left in class, don’t plan to just let students go early. There’s always more you can do!
- If you run out of time, be ready to send students away with questions to think about on their own that they should prepare to discuss at your next class meeting or on a Blackboard class forum.
Do the 2-Minute Recap
Try to save the last couple of minutes of each discussion meeting as a chance to recap the most important topics/issues you want students to leave with. This can also help get through the last few minutes when students start packing up their things.