Teaching: Do We Have the Time?

One concern I have with teaching science is that I want to do inquiry-based assignments and more of the typically engaging activities, but many of which take up a lot of class time. In my experiences with field teachers, it seems there is never enough time to get content out there, and I am worried that this gets worse in higher-level classrooms.

One solution is to change the classroom setup. Having students do the introductory work before coming to class saves valuable class time for the review and engaging activities that students can only get in the room. I had several flipped classrooms when I was in high school, and this worked well for me. By doing prelabs and textbook work at home, we were able to go through longer experiments and have more engaging classroom discussions when we were in class. A ThoughtCo article says, “the idea of the flipped classroom was initiated by two chemistry teachers to address the concerns of time spent in set up,” so science classes specifically should be able to benefit from the setup.

ThoughtCo has useful suggestions for educating, including a list of top science teacher concerns. #3 discusses flipped classrooms, which I mentioned earlier.


Another blog site focuses on time alone being a challenge to science teachers. There a variety of responses from teachers on how they manage to fit everything in.


Personally, I have watched my mom struggle with the same thing. She teaches fourth grade, and continues to spend too much of her time creating new activities and trying to reinvent her classroom. During her schoolyear, she has very little, if any, personal time, and she routinely stays after school until 7:00 at night. Once she finishes planning new lessons, she then needs to restructure her week in order to fit them in, so she loses her class time as well.

I have observed teachers who have the advice to be flexible. Class will change, and so will the students. When a certain lesson does not work, scrap it. There’s no reason to waste time with something that won’t benefit the kids as much as another activity.

Time is my biggest concern in terms of both my personal time spent planning as well as my class time incorporating it all. Hopefully I find a system that works.


  1. Hey Will,

    I have also encountered that experience with my field teachers this semester saying there’s no time to do inquiry all the time. I thought that was interesting because my field teacher last semester did a lot and she was successful so I don’t know how much I believe! I did a flipped classroom for Art History during J term a couple years ago and hated it! Do you think that all students would be into the whole flipped classroom thing? And what would you do for those students who don’t? Great post!


  2. Will! I feel a bit silly, but in reflecting on this blog post assignment I hadn’t really considered time crunch to be an issue. But of course it is! By trying to provide more engaging, thought-provoking lessons, you may also need more time to make it happen. And that’s not to mention the time it takes outside of the classroom to create these exemplary experiences for your students. I think your idea of flipping the classroom is fantastic. As class time is structured and limited, it makes the most sense to take the most advantage of that and make sure that the work that doesn’t need to be done in class is done in other time.

    Do you find that time management is something you struggle with now? What have you learned that you think will help you in your career?


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