A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to attend a workshop where the 2012 National Teacher of the year Rebecca Mieliwocki was the keynote speaker. She said something that really stuck with me; she was talking about assigning class jobs, and she said, “After I’ve given out all the jobs, and all I have to do is teach I feel like I get paid the perfect amount.” Of course this was meant to be funny, but since then I’ve been wanting to make student jobs a part of my classroom.
I hear so many ideas that I want to implement, so I have to be strategic to avoid burnout—I can usually try 3-5 new things at the beginning of the year, and 3-5 new things in the middle of the year. When I say “new things” I’m talking about major classroom shifts, and implementing jobs (and making it work) was/is one of those things. Luckily, I already have a classroom reward system, so I knew what type of salary I was going to offer. Please see the blog from May 2014 Classroom Management.
I have been doing this for three weeks now, and already it has undergone changes. Also, I’m amazed at the amount of reinforcement that is needed, but I can see that it is starting to work.
Here is a picture of the job list that I showed to my classes on Day 1:
I soon realized that I also needed to keep track of students who were actually doing their jobs. I did tell them that the first week would be unpaid training. The second week I paid, but I deducted pay for negligence. For instance, the chair manager left 5-6 chairs down on a Friday, and the host hung up on somebody without getting a name so I could call them back. There have definitely been some glitches, but we are on the road to success! Next week, this is how I will keep track of who is doing the job on a daily basis (see below). Because of our block scheduling we have six days in a unit, and I pay on the last day. I keep this on my clip board, and if students do the job as I outlined it I give them a check mark, but if I have to remind them I'll tally how many times I have to do so, at the end of the week we'll have a discussion about how/if I should pay them. I'll upload this as a document below, so you can edit it as needed.
This is still a work in progress. Since we began I've realized that the "Flash drive collector" job is not helpful-- it's easier if everyone puts their own flash drive back. Also, I realized that the host (who answers the telephone and the door) needs a script and some practice, which we've done a couple of times:
I think this is going to be beneficial for my classroom because it creates a community, builds student confidence, and teaches job skills. I'm uploading some word documents that I've used please tweak them and make them your own. I might blog about this next month too, and I'd love to hear how you might have adapted this to fit your classroom!
Ms. Young is a teacher who wants to keep a record of what works!