Monday, June 18, 2012

Management Monday: Classroom Jobs

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 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!


  1. Hi Alison!
    I am so glad I found this site on Honey Bunch! They just finished my blog design too!
    I teach ELA and SS in a 1:1 setting and have already found some great ideas here!

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, Joann! I can't wait to hear all about how things are going in your 1:1 setting. I'm glad I was able to share some things you found useful!


  2. Hope the changes to your classroom job system make your class run smoother next year.

  3. Some idea on new jobs, someone who changes the date, someone who writes homework on a calendar, recycler, operator answers the phone " Ms. R's class student speaking". Hope this helpful.

  4. Environmental Security= Recycler. In our area, we can co-mingle all items. It is there job to take care of it at the end of the day. Also, if you have a garden at your school, you could have two people have that job, and one would tend to the compost items at lunch. :)
    Anita Beining
    Taylor Intermediate School
    Kokomo IN

  5. I have a Recycling Manager, Caboose (end of line), and a Classroom Greeter that greets anyone that comes in and tells them what we are doing at the time.
    Love your job titles and the idea of changing every 6 weeks. I, too, forget to switch them every week. I HAVE taken pictures of the job chart so I always know who is supposed to do what. I also use my phone to photograph my lunch choice chart so there can't be any arguments, from kids or lunch ladies, when we get to the cafeteria!

  6. I have a "substitute" as a job. This child substitutes for those who are absent or late. I just added it at the end of this year and it worked great!

  7. Last year I had Table Captains. They took enough assignment handouts for the number of kids at their table groups and made sure everyone in their group did indeed have a handout. They also collected completed work when appropriate. I've been toying with the idea of having a Table lieutenant who would be in charge of making sure group pencils were sharpened. They will be the only ones to use the pencil sharpener during the day as needed, but not interrupting what they are working on at the time. Will see how that works. The Table Lieutenant would also step in for the absent Table Captain

  8. I have 2 copies of each classroom job: a Leader and a Helper. Then when I rotate jobs (which I do on Tuesdays, because Mondays were too hectic), students who were Helpers become the Leader for that job, and Leaders become Helpers on a new job. That way students have 2 weeks per job (when I make the rotations longer I feel bad for students who never get to their favorite jobs), first as a learner/helper/alternate, and then as a leader/expert.

  9. I love the idea of the "job application" very clever!

  10. Would love to see what you have ended up with! I'm also considering a Bouncer who is responsible for intercepting the 5000 office aids that bring notes. As a secondary teacher, my life would be too crazy to assign every student in every class a job, so I am going to make 6 jobs at each table of 6 (Materials Managers (x2), Sanitation Engineer, Late Shift, Substitute, and Temp). I also thought of making it someones job to coordinate jobs, lol. I am going to call them Human Resources! I am also hiring a Fire Department and a HasMat crew for our labs.

  11. What about a veterinarian - who can feed/take care of classroom pet such as fish

  12. I love this idea! Another idea could be Security, (2 students) that are able to escort students to the office if they're sick, need to call home, or are in trouble. :)

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