How Long is 30 Minutes?

30 minutes


A student from one of the classes I substituted for recently asked me “how long is half an hour?” Having patience, I quickly answered that it was 30 minutes.  I walked away from the encounter thinking I had answered the student’s question and did a good job.  It was only then that I realized that I a lot more to consider.


I started to wonder is thirty minutes was a long time. Consider, if you will, the following observations:

  • 30 minutes of work is way longer than 30 minutes of fun
  • 30 minutes to get ready for work goes like a flash, but 30 minutes waiting for the bus just crawls by
  • 30 minutes of sleep is woefully inadequate but a thirty-minute nap is pretty awesome
  • a 30 minute lunch is only slightly unacceptable, whereas a 30 minute dinner is ludicrous
  • a 30 minute TV show is only about 22 minutes
  • 30 minutes of cooking time leaves a lot of my food horribly undercooked

So now….did I really help the student at all?

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
This entry was posted in Aspirations, Reflections, Perfection, life, philosophy, questions, students, teaching and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to How Long is 30 Minutes?

  1. Yang Ho says:

    Because it is just a measurement, 30 minutes is determined by the suitable clock just as a foot by a measuring stick. But isn’t a question in philosophy about whether time exists? And an instantiation of the problem you close your eyes, plug your ears, over your nostrils, waiting for time to pass. I think you ought to seek that student out and give a lecture on how weird yet problematic her question is.

  2. bgddyjim says:

    Ooh, and a thirty minute bike ride is a tease!

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  5. Cathy Cade says:

    about as long as a piece of string?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I only am saying this because no one in 2020 has said anything on here!

  9. Anonymous says:


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