Regardless of what you call them – assistants, helpers, chores – many of us seem to have jobs for our students in our classroom. They can range from line leader, blog updater, to floor picker-upper.
I’ve heard some teachers in the older grades say that their kids are too old for jobs, but I disagree. Maybe those people have a classroom where everyone just pitches in all the time to help clean up, but I’ve never been that lucky and I’m not about to clean the entire room myself when my students are the ones making the mess. (Not trying to sound harsh, but I’m a big believer in one of the mottoes I learned in Girl Scouts – “leave it cleaner than you found it!”)
Sometimes students whine that it’s the janitor’s or custodian’s job to clean the room. I always tell them that yes, I agree, BUT it’s their job to clean the school. It’s not their job to clean up after little slobs. They have a lot of rooms to clean each day and if we spend just five minutes doing our part, we make their job a lot easier.
With that being said, it’s hard to get upper elementary students to buy into classroom jobs. They often think it’s babyish and dumb. However, I’ve found a way to trick them into liking it a little bit (or at least tolerating it). I make sure everyone gets a job. I have an obvious 5-6 that I want done in the classroom, but then the class helps me figure out the rest. Then – as a class – we decide on names for each of these jobs. For example, the milk person’s name might be “Bessie”. Each and every week that I announced who Bessie was, the students would giggle. Some of the other random names that they giggled about were “vacuum” (carpet cleaner), “shiny shine” (board eraser), “man with a plan” (planner signature checker), and “Fido” (teacher’s pet).
List of students jobs for in the classroom:
- line leader & caboose (maybe not so much for older grades)
- milk retriever
- pet feeder
- blog writer
- person to check for assignment book signatures
- lights out
- teacher’s pet (notes to office)
- flag folders
- carpet cleaner
- white board/blackboard eraser
- paper passer
- supply picker-upper
- technology helper
- book return
- desk cleaner
- floor cleaner (This is the job that I typically assign to all of the “extra” kids that don’t have another job. I find this job typically takes the longest, and students are more likely to clean up throughout the day if they know they have to help clean up at the end of the day anyway. So I may have 10 typical jobs any given week and another 10 students who all help clean up the floor.)