You’ve decorated and prepared your classroom, organized all the books and supplies, and maybe even welcomed your students to school this year. Now the real work begins! If there is one thing all teachers want, it's a way to work smarter, not harder. I use classroom jobs to help me keep my classroom running smoothly. Each grading period I choose student helpers who are responsible for assisting with important tasks. It's a great way to get kids involved, teach responsibility, and build community, not to mention the benefit of freeing you up to take care of other teaching duties. Believe it or not, even middle school students enjoy enjoy helping out and will take pride in completing their assigned jobs. These steps will help you set up classroom jobs easily:
MAKE A LIST OF TASKS
Begin by making a list of tasks you need done each day to keep your classroom organized and tidy. Elementary teachers might have more jobs to assign than middle and high school teachers, but it is really a matter of personal preference and knowing your students. In middle school, many of the jobs I assign center around organization and cleaning up.
Here are the jobs I assign in my classroom:
Clean Up Crew
Teach your students from day one to respect the warm, welcoming classroom you created for them. I assign two students to oversee clean up each day before dismissal. Crew masters remind others to pick up any trash, pencils, or other items left out and assist in the clean up before exiting the room.
My classroom library was always a mess until I starting using student librarians who helped maintain my collection. They ensure books are returned to the shelves properly and placed in the right location. These students also assist others by making book recommendations. The system will keep your library organized and functional.
I use my materials managers to help me handle classroom resources and materials. When you need to pass out or collect paperwork, assignments, handouts, markers, packets, or other items, these are your go-to students. If students will be returning graded work, remember to conceal the grades to ensure student privacy.
My timekeeper alerts me when five minutes of class remains (or whatever time you choose). You'll want to work out a signal for the timekeeper so you aren’t interrupted while talking. This reminder keeps you on track, gives you time to close the lesson, and allows enough time for students to pack up for dismissal.
Your tech team is in charge of helping with technology in the classroom. Their job might include things like reconnecting the laptops, tablets, and other devices to the charging stations, storing technology in the designated area, and making sure each tech item is left is good working condition and shutdown properly.
ASSIGN CLASSROOM JOBS
Once you've chosen the jobs you want to fill, decide how you'll assign them. Some teachers have students apply for classroom jobs by completing an application, but I found student volunteers worked best for me. Determine how long the duty assignment will last; some teachers assign jobs weekly while others keep the same helpers for an entire grading period.
DISPLAY JOBS AND STUDENT NAMES
After you select your classroom helpers, display the jobs and assignments in a prominent place in your room. Some ideas are to create a bulletin board or use a hanging pocket chart so names can be switched out easily. Your display should be visible in the room for quick reference. Another idea is to make student lanyards with the job titles. Students pick up the lanyard on their way into class and return it at the end of the period. I also post job assignments on my daily agenda slides at the beginning of the week as a quick reminder. Read the post, 7 Reasons Why You Should Use Daily Agenda Slides, and grab a free slides template, too.
INTRODUCE THE HELPER SYSTEM
You'll want to teach students about the different tasks and have them practice their duties, so they understand what to do each day. This doesn't take a lot of time and is worth the extra 5-10 minutes spent explaining the jobs to your class. Be sure to acknowledge your helpers' efforts at the end of their term. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on rewards. Students appreciate homework passes, extra technology time, and flexible seating choices, to name a few. You can grab my student rewards coupons resource here. These are no-prep, ready for you to cut and go!
Do you have student helpers in your classroom? Share your ideas and experience in the comments.