Most kids groan at the mention of chores or “jobs” they must do at home. However, the opposite is almost always true in the classroom. Students love taking on responsibility and jobs that help the classroom function well. Classroom jobs are also a great way to help build a positive classroom community. There’s another bonus, too! Students can help do some of the tasks that otherwise would be left to the teacher. But there are many tasks that students can do, and this can save you time. Here are some of my favorite classroom jobs and tips for using them in the classroom.
Where Do I Start?
Deciding what classroom jobs you want to assign to your students is important. However, don’t just jump in and give jobs that may not be meaningful to your students, therefore causing students to resent having to do them in the first place.
Take some time before the beginning of the new school year to assess what classroom jobs would be helpful for you to have assistance with. Making a list is a great way to visually see how many and what types of jobs you could offer your student helpers.
Things to consider when making your list of classroom jobs for your student helpers include:
- Make a list of possible classroom jobs
- Decide if you will have one job per student or a few classroom jobs rotated throughout the year
- Determine how often you will rotate the jobs
- Think about how many students will be required for each job
- Choose a method of assignment
Once you have a plan for your classroom jobs, implementation will be much easier for you.
Get Buy-In From Your Students
Use the beginning of the year excitement to kick-start your classroom jobs and get buy-in from your students. Year-long classroom job success will depend heavily on your presentation and follow-through during the first few days of school.
I always like to talk about classroom jobs on the first day of school. First, I start with a class discussion about the different ways we are all responsible for being good classroom citizens. This is also when I let my students know that I consider us a team or a family. I explain that although I am the teacher, this is our classroom and that we will have to work together and all do our part to make it the best classroom possible.
I have found that it is helpful to have the job cards printed out, laminated, and placed around the room next to the designated job. At the beginning of the year especially, I like to have a simple printed out instruction sheet to hang next to each of the jobs to help remind students what needs to be done for the job to be considered complete.
Consider taking your students on a tour of the jobs that will be offered. Some students will already know which jobs they want and don’t like, and that’s okay. The first day is all about learning about the jobs and their responsibilities, not assigning them.
Assigning Classroom Jobs
When you are ready to start putting classroom jobs into action, it is time to assign the jobs to individual students. There are many different ways you can do this. I have tried different ways over the years. In the upper elementary classroom, my favorite is the job application. But you can use any number of methods to assign and rotate jobs.
After going over all of the classroom jobs in the first week of the year, students get their first writing assignment . . . a job application. This is such a “big kid” way of assigning jobs, and students appreciate being treated as such.
Before job assignment day, students fill out a classroom job application. On this form, they give their top 3 job choices and explain why they would be good at the job. Then I use these to assign students to jobs.
If you have enough jobs for each student to have one, you can assign jobs for an extended time, like a month or semester. If there are not enough jobs, then I recommend assigning students to a job team. The students on that team will rotate weekly to complete the job. Having a team also allows someone to step in if a student is absent.
If you don’t want to do the job application, there are many ways to assign jobs randomly. The easiest is to work your way through the class list in order. This is a great way to make sure that students don’t get skipped over and that everyone has a turn. When I have used this method, I keep students’ names on the job board and then move them (or the job card) in the rotation.
You can also use a random number generator to choose who gets a class job. The downfall to this option is that it is truly random, which means that some students may get selected more than once and others not at all. However, using a checklist, you can easily keep track of who has held each job so that everyone gets a chance. There are many online random number generators or “picker” apps available. This spinning name wheel is just one of many random name or number generators you can find online.
You can also do an old-fashioned name draw for this method how a cup or box for each classroom job. Then ask students to write their name on a piece of paper and place it in the cup or box for each job they would like to have. You can let them choose as many as they would like or give a limit. When it is time to assign jobs, you draw a name from each cup or box, and that person holds the job for the designated amount of time. Classroom jobs can be rotated once a week, once a month, or once a semester. Whatever works best for you and your students is perfect!
No matter how you choose to assign jobs, be sure to stay consistent. Students thrive on consistency, especially in the classroom. This will help you get buy-in from your students and keep it going all year long.
One note, I do notify students that they can be removed from their job at any time for not performing their job to the best of their ability. I make sure they know that classroom jobs are important and that I rely on them to do their best.
Keep Track Of Classroom Jobs
Having a job board or displaying classroom jobs is an important part of the process. This visual reminder is a great way for students to keep their job assignments at the front of their minds. In addition to a job board, I also like to keep a checklist for myself. This is especially important if you rotate jobs often and you want to make sure everyone has a chance.
Some ideas to help you keep track of student jobs include:
- Make a list using Google Docs or Microsoft Word
- Create an interactive class job bulletin board with movable names or pictures of students
- Write it down on your weekly/monthly planner
- Dedicate a section of your whiteboard to display job labels and descriptions
- Ask students to create a colorful job poster
No matter how you choose to keep track of your classroom jobs, be sure to keep it consistent.
Keep It Consistent
Consistency, consistency, consistency! Making a plan for classroom jobs for the year will only be successful if you have clear expectations and procedures in place for your students. If you are constantly changing the jobs or assigning them, it will be easy for your students to become frustrated and therefore not complete the jobs or do a poor job.
Whatever your plan is at the beginning of the year, stick to it! If there are some things you don’t like or see aren’t working efficiently, you can revisit them and make minor adjustments. Just be sure to have clear expectations for your students and discuss what is going well and what isn’t. It’s actually a great way to teach them about self-reflection and adjusting. Just let them be part of the conversation, and you’ve got a great teaching moment.
Upper elementary students can discuss the successes or areas of needed improvement within their classroom environment. Giving students voice and choice will also help them feel connected and more willing to take ownership of the classroom environment.
Classroom Jobs For The Win
Classroom jobs are something kids look forward to and are eager to help with. It gives students opportunities to show that they can be independent and gives them a sense of purpose. You and your students will love making classroom jobs a part of your classroom community.
If you are looking for an easy-to-use and editable classroom job template set, I have the perfect solution for you. This Classroom Job Resource Pack gives you everything you need to set up classroom jobs in your classroom. With over 60 pre-made jobs to choose from and an editable job card, setting up your classroom job system will be easy peasy!
Save These Classroom Jobs Ideas
Be sure to pin these classroom jobs tips and ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board. Then you can come back when you are ready to set up a classroom job system in your classroom.