I have gone through classroom jobs. I have tried one job per student. I have tried several classroom jobs and none of it works for me. The last few years I have finally simplified a job system. If this sounds like you too, keep reading!
The Need for Student Jobs
Student jobs in the classroom are important. Students are looking for leadership opportunities, ways to be independent, and opportunities to support the teacher and other students. At the same time, I believe that there should be a system in place that is manageable for the teacher as well.
Create an Inclusive Job Environment for Students
I pride myself on creating a classroom environment that can run fluidly and effectively. I have tried many job systems over the years, but this system has been the most sustainable and easiest to manage.
I have all of my students design a notecard with their name on it. They can use all of their coloring supplies and decorate it as they like. I store all of these notecards with my schedule cards. Every morning when I update our schedule with our special of the day, I swap my helper of the day. I keep two stacks of students so that every student gets a turn before the stack repeats. You can absolutely do a helper of the week instead of helper of the day if that is more manageable.
My helper of the day supports me with many daily tasks- they are my go to helper. Here are some ideas:
Count and turn in lunch count
Pass out blank assignments to class
Award positive table points/rewards during work time
Deliver items to office
Walk students to the nurse
Lead calendar time
Line leader or caboose
Everyone else in the classroom still has a job. We are a community and it is our responsibility to support each other and work together. I instill the idea that some jobs are jobs that we can just take initiative with.
Some ideas for classroom jobs:
Pass out papers to mailboxes
Pass out handouts to mailboxes
Shelf classroom library books
Check out papers in turn in bins
Collect pencils around the room
Refill pencils to table caddies
Hold the door
I teach my class the “everyone” classroom jobs one at a time during the first few weeks of school. When I teach these tasks I tell students that these are jobs we work together on to keep our classroom functioning well. If students are finished with a task and they see a job that needs to be done, they can begin the job without asking. I do have a rule that each job can only have 2 people working on the job at a time- this helps keep the noise level down.
Your students may have other ideas for jobs as well!
Let your students help with jobs without distracting from your learning!
Jobs in the classroom are a wonderful way to build initiative, independence, and hard working skills. Jobs should not be difficult to manage or take away from planning or learning time in any way. Create a system in your classroom that is efficient and easy to manage.