I resisted giving my students classroom jobs for several years. Having to come up with a cute organizational system and procedures for my students to use the system seemed like a lot more trouble then it was worth.
I knew that every time my students changed jobs, I would have to answer a variety of questions, endure mistakes, and that it would really slow things down in the classroom. Using a classroom job application really helped simplify classroom jobs in my 3rd grade classroom.
How A Classroom Job Application Makes Things Easier
After seeing some classroom job applications on Pinterest, I finally figured out how to make classroom jobs work in my classroom. Instead of students constantly changing jobs, they would “apply” for a job, and then keep that same job for an extended period of time.
I created a simple Classroom Job Application that you can download for free. Before having students fill out the application, I would share with them all of the classroom jobs they could apply for (see a list of 30 classroom jobs here) and explain each of those jobs. Then, I handed out the classroom job application that had each student pick their top 3 jobs and explain why they thought they would do that job well.
I also told students that I would be watching them carefully to see if they exhibited the qualities necessary for the jobs. For example, my 2 pencil sharpeners had to begin sharpening pencils first thing in the morning (see how I managed pencil procedures here), so if students were often late to class, they knew I couldn’t choose them as the pencil sharpener.
After looking over the applications and watching the students for a few days, I would assign jobs. Every 9 weeks, students would fill out a new classroom job application to apply for a new job, so students could have 4 different jobs throughout the year if they wanted to (although some students applied to keep their same job).
There are several advantages and disadvantages to this system, but as you can see below, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
1. This system taught my students a real life lesson – not everybody gets the job they want. The most qualified candidates earn it. We always discussed this before filling out the application.
1. Some students were upset when they didn’t get the job they wanted. However, I never had any student refuse to do the job they were assigned because they were paid in Class Dojo points for completing their jobs.
2. This system made routine tasks get completed much more quickly. Because my students did the same job for 9 weeks, they became extremely efficient. For example, my two paper passers out were always ready to pass out papers for me before I even asked, and they often devised their own system of how to pass out the papers that worked very well.
2. Students didn’t get to experience all of the jobs in my classroom. For most of the jobs this wasn’t a problem, but I didn’t want my photographer to be the only person to get to use our digital camera. To fix this, I would plan lessons where all of the students would get a chance to experiment with the camera.
3. I didn’t have to create a cute classroom display. I know some people might consider this a disadvantage, but I guarded my wall space very carefully. If it wasn’t beneficial to student learning, it didn’t make the cut. Instead, I had a list on my desk (and a copy in my sub plans) that showed what students were responsible for what jobs. Since the jobs didn’t change very often, I usually memorized the list very quickly so I didn’t have to keep referring back to it.
Making Classroom Jobs Work for YOU
My classroom jobs varied from year to year based on the needs of my classroom and the rules at my school. For example, one of the schools I worked at required students to line up alphabetically anytime they were in the hallway, so I didn’t have a line leader or a caboose at that school.
One year, my students were terrible at keeping their shirts tucked in (a school rule), so I created the job of “Uniform Monitor” to check everybody’s uniform before we left the classroom. The next year, my students were much better at remembering to keep their shirts tucked in, so I didn’t need that rule.
Having students perform daily tasks can really help your classroom run smoothly. However you decide to set up jobs in your classroom, make sure it makes your job easier instead of harder.
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