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Classroom Jobs: Build Character and Lighten Your Load

classroom management Jan 30, 2019

The Benefits of Classroom Jobs

I know it’s often easier to just do many of the tasks around your classroom yourself, at least in the short run. In the long run, training students to take on these tasks is a boon not only for you but for your students as well.

Here’s some of what students learn from a well-managed routine for classroom jobs.

  • responsibility (getting it done without being asked)

  • follow-through (doing the job “all the way”)

  • honesty (letting the teacher know if something goes wrong or there’s a problem)

  • self-mastery (doing the job even on days they don’t “feel” like doing it)

  • kindness (helping the class as a whole, treating others kindly as they go about the work)

  • generosity (giving of their time, going the extra mile to do things right, doing extra if needed)

  • organization (keeping track of the steps or tasks and getting them all accomplished)

  • teamwork (working with others to accomplish a task, working as a class to get all jobs done)

Job vs. Service

I believe classroom jobs aren’t just jobs. They are a form of service done for the good of all of the whole class. It’s a different way to think of things and makes a world of difference in how we (and our students) approach classroom jobs.

What Should You Have Students Do?

The first thing to do when deciding on classroom jobs is what tasks can students possibly, reasonably do themselves? What services can they perform for the teacher and their fellow students for the good of all? What tasks need to be done daily or weekly? Make a list of tasks and possible jobs for students.

I highly recommend every student have a job, an area of responsibility, assigned each week or month. Some jobs will be shared between students and some will be solo tasks. With older students, you can even have students “apply” and be interviewed for jobs each semester.

Here’s some suggestions that will lighten the load and build character:

  • Office Manager - Filing, maintain folder of missed work/notes for absent students.

  • Office Manager - Morning Helper - (calendar, director of student affairs, paper collector…)

  • Office Manager - Lunch count or attendance (depending on age of students)

  • Maintenance Crew - Surface Care Department -washing desks/dusting

  • Maintenance Crew - Parts Department- putting lost parts away

  • Maintenance Crew - General Cleanup and oversee class for post-event cleanup

  • Navigation Crew - Transportation (line leader and caboose)

  • Navigation Crew - Logistics (door holders)

  • Communications Crew - Errand Runner

  • Communications Crew - Pass out and collect papers, notes and flyers

  • Caretaker - Plant and/or pet care

  • Librarian - Straightening bookshelves, shelving books, gathering books needed by the teacher

  • Tech Crew - Charging, turning on/off tech, getting help when something is not working, helping other students when they don’t know what to do

  • Hospitality Crew - Greet and assist visitors, answer at the door, help new students get acclimated, assist Guest Teachers (Substitutes), help students who’ve been absent as needed.

Define each job’s responsibilities.

Create and laminate a job card for each job. Put check boxes for each task to be done. If a job has several items like Hospitality Crew, you may have to create separate cards for each mini-job within that category.

It’s All About the Training

Creating systems and training students are the keys to success. Like anything else we do in the classroom, we MUST train our students well in our expectations for classroom jobs. Our students can’t read our minds and they are NOT going to get things done right the first few times. Expect it. Accept it.

Plan on training and retraining every day for 2 weeks. If you don’t need the 2 weeks… BONUS. However, if your students need the extra support, then you’re already prepared for that. Keeping 2 weeks as a goal in your head will keep you from getting frustrated and impatient while your students find success. I guarantee it’s time well spent.

NOTE: jobs like greeting visitors should be role played regularly until an opportunity to do that job occurs.

Do you have a unique way you handle or choose classroom jobs? I’d love to hear about it!

Lisa

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