Studies in other countries have reported that time plays a significant role in teachers’ decisions about teaching methods. Student-centered teaching tend to be more time-consuming and unpredictable than whole-class lecturing. China has been promoting a reform in its curriculum and pedagogy toward student-centered approach. Therefore, this research article will investigate 1) how this curriculum reform influences rural teachers’ experience of lesson time, and 2) whether and how their concerns over time advance or hinder the promotion of student-centered teaching in rural areas. This study supports the findings in the literature that time is a crucial factor for teachers’ pedagogical decisions.