If there is one thing all teachers want, it's help making our job easier. One of the ways I did this was to start the year off by choosing student helpers who were responsible for assisting with important tasks in my classroom. It’s not only a great way to get the kids involved, but it also gives you more time to focus on other duties. They enjoy helping and will take pride in completing their assigned jobs if you keep a few things in mind when setting up your system. When you do, it’s a win-win for everyone!
Begin by making a list of tasks you need to complete each day to keep your classroom running smoothly. Are there things student assistants could do for you? 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 kids. In middle school, many of the jobs I assigned centered around organization and cleaning up.
Once you've chosen the jobs you want to fill, decide how you'll assign those. I found student volunteers worked best for me. Once you’ve selected your classroom helpers, display the jobs and assignments on a bulletin board or other space to keep everyone accountable, including you! Decide how long each job will last; some teachers assign these weekly while others keep the same helpers for an entire grading period.
It's important to teach students about the different tasks and have them practice their duties so they understand what to do on a daily basis. This doesn't take a lot of time and is worth the extra 5 minutes to go through the requirements. 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. They are no-prep, ready for you to cut and go.
These are jobs I assigned to my student helpers:
Clean Up Crew Masters
Teach your students from day one to respect the warm, welcoming classroom you created for them. I assigned two students to oversee classroom clean up each day before dismissal. Crew masters will 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 classroom librarians who helped maintain my collection. They ensured books were 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.
Nothing like using students to help you keep the class running smoothly. When you need to pass out or collect paperwork, assignments, handouts, or other materials, this is your go-to student. If students handle graded papers, be sure grades are not visible.
My timekeeper alerted me when five minutes of class remained (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 so you have time to close the lesson and give students the chance to pack up for dismissal.
Your tech team is in charge of helping with technology in your classroom. Their job might include things like reconnecting the Chromebooks, tablets, etc., to their charging stations, storing technology in the designated area of the room, or ensuring that each tech item is left is good working condition or shutdown properly.
Which of these jobs do you use in your classroom? Share your ideas and experience in the comments.