Don't even try to cover the material:

When one sits in the office in August and plans the syllabus for the Fall semester, optimism runs very high. The instructor often lays out the course outline, assuming that every student gets every point the first time, that every explanation is brilliant, and that no student needs to ask a question. Not too many classes into the semester reality sets in. The fact is that some days the explanations are bad. And, some days the students don't get it the first time. Ergo, if one insists on covering the material, the only one left standing at the end of the course is the instructor (maybe). I believe the following. First, there is always far more material than can be covered adequately in a semester. BUT, only a core body of material needs to be covered. So, in August when everything is coming out roses, sure -- assume the best. But, as the semester moves along, and reality sets in, do not be afraid to stop and cover again the same point a second or third time, bringing in different perspectives and examples to get it across. Answer questions, even if it means totally blowing the schedule. That is, do not even try to cover the material. Certainly, one has to cover the core body necessary to move on to the next semester. But that usually represents half the material, or so. Anything beyond that is a bonus, and has no place in the course if the student failed to learn the core material.