After twenty years of teaching, I can say that the greatest thing I did in the classroom was to assign jobs. I have taught from kindergarten to grade twelve and I’ve never had arguments from my students. Yes, there are some jobs they don’t like but they still do them as they know it’s temporary.
Why I started them
Early on in my teaching career, I quickly realized that students made a mess and often didn’t clean it up (Same for you?). I spent upwards of an hour each day cleaning up, stacking chairs, watering plants, handing and collecting work. And I was fed up! But how would students respond if I delegated some responsibility to them?
I started classroom jobs in bite-sized chunks. I designated “hander-outers” (should be in the dictionary) and collectors of papers, notebooks, etc. That was pretty easy. Stacking chairs was added and it was sporadic as some students raced out the door (more-so in middle school).
Assigning Classroom Jobs
Either my 1st or 2nd year, I started creating a chart of jobs. But I didn’t have enough jobs to assign to the entire class. Also, some jobs were not required each day. I began brainstorming tasks and I noticed that I was not alone in this endeavour. There were other teachers that assigned tasks to their students. I took pictures of their charts as I began to create.
My chart was initially written on a chalkboard (yes, I taught during the dinosaurs!), but sometimes they would get erased. So I moved to a poster board (I wish I had a copy of it) I used post-it notes for student names. And the post-it notes would fly off.
Somewhere around 2012 is when I found out about Teachers Pay Teachers or TPT. I found some classroom job charts for free (score!) and download a couple as I wasn’t sure which one would work. They both worked but they were not the jobs I personally needed.
Finally Making My Own Classroom Jobs Chart
A couple years ago I finally made my own. I created them with a watercolour background (most of my decor is watercolor). What I like about these is that they are clearly seen and my students can find their name. I use clothes pegs and keep track with an excel sheet.
I change jobs every week or 8 days. That way we student will get to all the jobs and some 3-4 times (the ones that require 2 students). They have been such a positive experience and sometimes I hear from the parents that their child has asked for a chore at home.
Now clean up takes less than 10 minutes at the end of the day. And I am able to focus on more important things like planning and marking afterschool. By the way, this year I recreated them with a more calming sage colour. I offer both these color schemes in one resource.
Do you use classroom jobs in your class? I would love to hear about your experiences with them.