One of the most challenging traits to develop as an instructor is time management. While many of the other traits such as SME, curriculum management and podium presence are important, it’s all about time.
Managing the Known
What you have to remember is if you are using a well designed training program it will have some fudge factoring embedded. Not much, but some. This allows you to manage several known issues we typically see such as gear related issues, difficulty in understanding directions or folks who move like pond water. Time is always in precious demand. Your students have certain expectations you will be done by a certain time. When time becomes critical you may have to employ some of these techniques to accommodate.
The Go To Strategies
The first is to cut the number or repetitions. If you planned on performing 10 repetitions of a certain drill, then maybe only perform five. You can also cut yard lines. If you intended to work each yard line back to the 25, then maybe you skip a couple in between. Then you can cut evolutions in their entirety. This is the toughest, but can net you the most time. The problem is not every instructor designed their curriculum well. Meaning, some don’t know the difference between a terminal objective, enabling objective and supporting objective.
You don’t have to hold a Phd, but you do have to understand some basic curriculum development. Your terminal objective is the reason the student is attending the class. Whatever that may be, usually defined in the early moments of the class. Then your enabling objectives provide the means to meet the terminal objective. Supporting objectives are related, but not mandatory towards achieving your terminal objective. In other words, they are the first you would cut away if time became critical.
The Tip of the Iceberg
When you are designing curriculum, what the student sees is the end product. More like the tip of the iceberg. They don’t see how deep it goes and they shouldn’t. It should be indistinguishable to the student. When your level of understanding as an instructor has this much depth then when you are pressed for time you can seamlessly adjust without the student’s knowing. It might seem simple at first, but it takes a seasoned instructor to make it work. It will take a lot of botched attempts before you figure it out and the main reason why it is so important to know your material inside and out.
Worst Case Strategies
At times I will employ other strategies such as instructor demonstrations only. I typically use this when I know I won’t have the time to move to live fire. In this setting, doing the demo only allows me to conduct the brief, answer questions and then do a live fire demonstration for the students to see. Then, they will have to work on the skill on their own after class. They at least have seen what it should look like and use this to build on the skill. Then there is student dry fire only. I feel either the skill is on the cusp of the student’s capability. Meaning, their safe application could come into question with the limited time we have to practice. In this case, they get the brief, questions, instructor demonstration and then dry fire practice. While not ideal, if time is an issue and prevents you from isolating all the safety considerations then this is your go to.
There are a lot of challenges instructors face, the most important is meeting the needs of their students. They came to you to deliver a product, don’t let them down.