RefinED Character is an educational consulting company specializing in social emotional development for preK-12 and collegiate communities.


A Twist on Classroom Jobs

Posted by Scott Heydt on Friday, December 20, 2013 Under: Classroom Strategies

RefinED Friends,

It's human nature.  We gravitate toward what we love; we avoid what we loathe.  So why expect any different from our students?  With that in mind, let's discuss a common practice--class jobs.

When I began teaching, I followed the model I'd observed in my field experiences.  The teacher took each student's name, developed classroom job titles, and assigned each student a job.  This rotated on a regular basis.  But as time went on, I noticed human nature creeping in.  I spent each day hounding my White Board Eraser to clear the board, while my Desk Cleaner performed his job independently and diligently each day.  

Was my White Board Eraser just lazy?  No, turns out she loathed getting dirty, so marker on the hands at day's end was not priority one.  On the other hand, my Desk Cleaner, a social butterfly, loved movement and being able to mingle around the classroom as he cleaned desks.  My well-intended job assignments weren't playing to student strength.

My solution was creating a student job application system, allowing for choice, playing to student strengths, but also modeling real world scenarios.  Here are the brief rules:

1.  Applying for a class job is voluntary.  
2.  Applications must be completed in full and include specific reasons why I should hire you that are connected back to the Job Descriptions (see Materials section of website)
3.  Not everyone is guaranteed the job of his/her first or even second choice (but if you apply, we will find a job for you if still want one)
4.  You are only paid when you work.  You are not salaried (that comes later in life).  You begin on a daily wage.  If you're absent or if you forget one day, I'm sorry, but you don't get paid.
5.  You can be fired from your job, but that would only be after fair warning and personal intervention.  Inversely, you can earn a raise for exemplary work.
6.  Jobs shift every 4-6 weeks, and you are welcome to reapply for the same job.

The results created a more motivated, child-centered classroom. Now my artistic students (as Interior Decorators) could plan and implement our motif for seasons and celebrations.  My interpersonal students (as Secretaries) could answer the phone, hand out papers, and make deliveries. My aspiring leaders (as Teacher Assistant) could assist with lesson delivery and facilitate class meeting under my guidance. 

A teacher's greatest hope is his students will grow up and find a job they love.  Why not practice that message now?


In : Classroom Strategies 

Tags: "classroom jobs" responsibility "child-centered" teacher "student choice" "student strengths"