How to assign jobs in the classroom
Posted on January 25, 2014.
Everyone likes to feel important and as though they have responsibilities, which is something that even trickles down to kids in a classroom setting. Maintaining an orderly, efficient space is one of the toughest tasks you will face as a teacher, but one that can be made that much easier by getting the kids involved on a number of different levels. Spreading the tasks around and asking that the kids be a part of it has the dual goal of ensuring that the classroom is always in tip top shape, as well as making the kids feel as though they are useful and an integral part of the process.
How to assign tasks
There are a couple of different approaches you can take when it comes time to assigning tasks to your students. One is that you can assign each task based on the particular strengths of each student, but it may be fairer and a little less tedious to them if you rotate the jobs that they do on a weekly basis. Sure, there will be some things that they may not care for, but knowing that they will only be assigned each task for a short period of time should keep them engaged in what they are doing.
The easiest way to keep track of who is doing what and when is via job charts that can be pinned on the wall and displayed for all to see. It’s a good idea to go with a laminate chart that can be wiped clean and re-used week after week, especially if you plan on updating the tasks regularly. The big question then becomes what sort of tasks you should get the children involved in, as there are obviously a few that may not be age appropriate. Keep in mind that the kids will likely benefit from seeing the progress of their work, which can be highlighted and displayed on incentive charts that can be used as a progress report of sorts, whilst also showing the kids that their hard work has not gone unnoticed.
Which tasks to assign
The most common tasks that you can assign are in the general clean-up and maintenance of the classroom. You can split students into crews that are in charge of specific areas of the class. For example, you might set up one team whose job it is to take care of any and all plants in the room, while others are in charge of art supplies, including the spills that may come with them. Not only do kids learn the responsibility of cleaning up after themselves, they will also come to develop a sense of pride in maintaining their space and ensuring that the tools that make the classroom experience so fulfilling are properly cared for.
As a teacher, you are probably already acutely aware of just how many things you have to do throughout the course of the day. Many of these little tasks are items that can very easily be handled by your students, making them feel important and reducing your stress and workload in the process. The kids in this group can help with all kinds of different tasks, such as collecting homework and handing out papers, running notes to other teachers, and helping you put together displays and other materials that are designed to inform and help all the other students. These tasks that fall into the category of teacher’s helper are definitely something that should be cycled among all the students in the classroom. Failure to spread these tasks around can end up leading to feelings being hurt and some kids being labelled as “teacher’s pet,” which is never a good scenario to have in the classroom.
Other jobs that can be assigned in the classroom may be less common, which means that they may not necessarily have to be rotated. These specific tasks can be assigned to children that have what you would deem to be a very specific skill or character trait. For example, if you have a child that comes across as very caring and protective towards their friends, you might assign them the task of escorting a sick child to the nurse’s station. A student that shows a real proficiency in writing may be tasked with keeping notes of all that took place in the classroom that week, working off input and ideas suggested by the other kids. You want to be sure that everyone feels like they are part of the work being done in the classroom, which is where a good behaviour incentive chart can come into play. The children will be able to track their work and see how it is benefiting the entire class. This promotes teamwork amongst all the kids, as they all work together towards a common goal. It might be a good idea to include a little reward when certain goals are met, which could be something as simple as pencil toppers for each of the kids.
Why assign tasks?
Your students will very quickly see the benefits that hard work delivers when you get them involved in helping out in the classroom. You might also find that they are more willing to help outside of the class, which might even carry over to home, where they will be more open to cleaning their room or helping their parents out with chores around the house. What they learn through this work can also benefit the school as a whole. If you get the kids involved in performing these kinds of tasks, they will more quickly rise to the challenge when a fundraiser of some other school event is on the horizon. As part of the class duties, you could engage them to become more involved in these events so that they will work hard to do their part for the good of the school. There are a ton of very large lessons to be learned by just doing a few small tasks.