Ok, yes...I do realize that I was MIA for about a month and a half. I got swept up in the whirlwind of testing, end-of-year festivities, packing up my classroom for the summer, overhauling my family's diet to accommodate my baby's newly discovered food allergies, and then overcoming bronchitis, a sinus infection, and a family-wide bout of stomach flu.
So, no. I didn't have as much time to blog as I would have liked, but I'm back now. And wow -- do I have lots to catch up on!
I love summer vacations. They give me just the break that I need to recharge and get excited about the new school year. They're a time when I can pull my non-teaching life together (doctor's appointments, housecleaning, miscellaneous projects put on the backburner for forever...you know the routine), but it's also a time when I can reflect about what I want to change for the upcoming school year.
One of the biggest things that I want to change is how I do my classroom jobs.
If I've learned anything in the last year of becoming a working mom, it's that I need to streamline processes and delegate more. I think my classroom jobs are an area where I could definitely stand to improve on both of those concepts.
This is what my job board has looked like in the past. I've had the following jobs:
Ambassador - line leader
Caterer - handles all things related to our lunch count
Computer tech - assists with technology; makes sure everything is plugged in/shut down at end of the day
Class Lieutenant - monitors class at bathroom breaks or if I need to step out into the hall
Clerk - collects and organizes papers
Courier - delivers messages to office
Date Keeper - helps with class calendar
Distributors - (2 students) pass out materials
Librarian - keeps class library organized
Lumberjack - sharpens all pencils before or after school
Manager - turns out lights and closes door behind us when we leave
Microbiologist - dispenses hand sanitizer at lunch
Sanitation Engineers - (2 students) wash tables in classroom and at lunch
Secretary - records assignments for absent students
Street Sweep - handles any spills/messes on the floor
Temp - takes over the job of any student who is absent
Valet - holds doors for the class
That's 17 total jobs covering about 19 students. Any student who doesn't have a job goes into the "Soon to be hired" pool. Then every Monday, we would rotate jobs.
Here's what I dislike about my current system:
1. Not enough jobs. Last year, I had 26 students, and I expect to have about that many this year. I'd like to create a system where everyone has a job all the time.
2. Too much job switching. While it only took me a couple minutes to rotate the cards on Monday mornings, I can't begin to count the number of times I'd forget to do it. Monday mornings are just too hectic for me. Then, even when I did remember to switch the jobs, I'd lose track of who had each job. So when we'd get to the cafeteria and need to wash down our tables at the end of lunch, I wouldn't know which students were responsible (and they'd forget to check, too).
3. Too little specialization. Given that students rotate through each of the jobs, there would inevitably be weeks where one of my little troublemakers would land themselves an important job like "Class Lieutenant." Or my "Lumberjack" would be a student who was chronically tardy, so she couldn't do her job during a non-instructional time.
What I plan to do differently next year:
1. Add more jobs. I have some ideas for some new jobs that I can fold into the mix. I'm planning to redesign my job board anyway, so now is a good time to add.
2. Change jobs every 6 weeks. We have 6 week terms at my school, and that seems like a good amount of time for students to spend on a job. They'll get to experience enough different jobs throughout the year so they can mix things up, but they'll also be on a job long enough that there shouldn't be any question of whose responsibility it is.
3. Create a job application. I'll have students choose their top 5 jobs and explain why they're qualified to do those jobs. That will give me some feedback about their preferences to help me assign the jobs, and it will also give them some authentic writing experience.
My jobs will integrate with my class economy, and I'm planning to share more about that in future posts. In the meantime, what are some of the class jobs that you use in your classroom? Please share in the comment section!