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Tips for Time Management in the Online Classroom

By VIPKid  |  January 26, 2021

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Classroom time management is an incredibly useful skill to develop that links almost all aspects of teaching. And as a teacher it can feel like there is never enough time! We’ve put together some helpful and effective tips for time management in the online classroom that can help keep your students engaged and help them learn english online.


Consistency and engagement with children are key in making sure that your time with your students is spent as effectively as possible — and a big part of keeping students engaged is ensuring that your teaching environment is welcoming and comfortable.

Be prepared

Before your session with a student begins make sure you review the material and the student’s name beforehand. Visualize the lesson, and examine potential successes and obstacles to ensure that you are not caught off guard. You will feel more comfortable and confident, and that will help make things run smoother in the class. 

Know your students

Building a rapport with your students helps keep things running on schedule in the classroom. Get to know their likes, dislikes,  interests, and what gets them excited — that way you can focus on things that will be most impactful during their lesson. If you’re instructing in the ESL classroom, visual aids can also help with this.

Avoid distractions

Distractions can’t be entirely avoided in the online classroom, but limiting the number of distractions can be extremely effective in classroom time management. If you notice that a student is distracted by something, use that as an opportunity to open up the conversation rather than try and fight against the distraction. Try saying something like: “Hey I see you like basketball, do you play?” This will help guide the conversation back towards the lesson and also gives the student an opportunity to engage in the lesson in a way that feels more personal and direct to them. 

Be predictable…

Establishing a routine can help students retain a sense of regularity and focus on the lesson at hand. This helps you and the student swiftly get through any housekeeping and onto learning. If you play any ESL games in class, keep those games consistent in nature but switch up the topic and words. That way you don’t spend too much time explaining a new game and the student can spend more time learning words — not the rules of the game.

…But not too predictable 

Bring something new to your lessons. Try switching up the props that you use to engage with students like a microphone to allow students to speak or a puppet to ask student questions. If you use rewards in your lessons, try creating something specific for your students that has the potential to surprise and motivate them. This can be as easy as using a free, printable cutout from their favorite sport or movie if they have mentioned they are a fan. 

Evaluate, audit and make adjustments

If something in the lesson is taking too much time and feels like it isn’t resonating with the student, feel free to omit it. This doesn’t mean eliminating the actual lesson plan but rather, removing the parts that aren’t working like the rewards, props or games if they simply are not working. Removing ineffective concepts like these, can help you and the student focus on what’s most impactful to them.
Classroom time management is an essential part of being a teacher and it can be a challenge to maintain. By following these tips, you can help keep things running smoothly in the classroom. Teaching English online has its unique challenges and we hope these time management tips can make things a little more straightforward. Do you have time management tips you use in the VIPKid classroom that would be helpful for other teachers? We’d love to hear them! Share with us by reaching out to us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

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