After six weeks of school, I finally decided it was time to start making classroom job assignments. I started using formal assignments last year and found it was a great way to build students’ sense of ownership and responsibility in the classroom. Most of the jobs I am having students do this year are the same as last year’s, but I did make a few changes.
The jobs I have this year are:
- Book Collectors – One student from each row is responsible for distributing textbooks as needed, retrieving them when done, and making sure our classroom library is organised.
- Pencil Sharpener – One student will sharpen all of the pencils in the unsharpened pencil container each afternoon. While doing so, this student will get to sit in my chair at my desk.
- Messenger – One student will be sent to deliver the attendance/lunch count folder, run messages, and ask other teachers to come and assist as directed. (The PA system doesn’t work very reliably in my classroom, so sending a messenger is usually the easiest way to contact someone else in the building without calling or texting.)
- Door Holder – This student holds the door for the class whenever we are leaving the room or entering another room in the building.
- Line Leader – This is the student who leads the class as we walk from place to place. All students are expected to walk with eyes forward, hands by their sides, and voices off. The Line Leader is the only student expected to turn around when stopped to watch for my silent signals to proceed or wait.
- Postmaster – One student will distribute mail to students’ mailboxes at the end of the day, making sure that all homework assignments and flyers are in the correct places.
- Equipment Manager – This student is tasked with collecting equipment from the PE closet when needed and bringing the class kickball and basketball outside during recess.
- Substitute Helper – This student may be called upon at any time to fill in for another student who is absent, with another teacher, or simply not willing to do his/her duties. The Substitute Helper also assists the Equipment Manager as needed.
I have had the jobs chart up all year, but today was the first time that assignments were posted. All of the students quickly noticed and were eager to see what their jobs were, even if they didn’t know the details. Half of the class has assignments this week; the other half will have assignments next week. Assignments are mostly randomized, so all students must be aware of the responsibilities of all jobs. I’m looking forward to this practice empowering students to take responsibility, feel that they have an impact on the classroom, and understand that they can help others in simple but meaningful ways!