student jobs
Simply Modern Student Job Display Cards

One of the most effective ways to increase student independence and foster community is by implementing student jobs in the classroom. Assigning specific roles and responsibilities to students encourages them to take ownership over their learning environment, while also providing teachers with a reliable source of help in the classroom. A classroom that essentially runs itself is every teacher’s dream, right? But how can you set up a system of student jobs in your classroom that are successful and not one more thing you have to manage? Let’s explore three key components that will make student jobs successful in the classroom. 

Apply for the Job

student writing at a table
Student buy-in for the classroom job system increasing when they get the chance to fill out an application for the job they want.

Having students apply for a job that interests them is an excellent way to increase their overall buy-in for the classroom job system itself, as well as build classroom community. When rolling out the job system, it’s important to take the time to thoroughly explain the responsibilities of each role. Once students understand the expectations of each job, they’ll feel more confident in choosing a job that interests them and excited to take on those responsibilities. Students should then be given time during class to fill out applications for their desired job position (or positions). Teachers may choose to use an application form (stick around to the end of this blog post for a freebie to help with this part of the process) or could be as simple as students writing about why they are interested in the job and what skills they have that would make them a good fit. You can then review these applications, hold one on one interviews (talk about real word life skills!) and then select the most qualified candidates for each job. Students love this part of the process!

Rotate Jobs Regularly

student shelving books in the library
Rotating student jobs regularly keeps students engaged and excited about jobs in the classroom.

Rotating student jobs at predetermined times throughout the school year is key to keeping students engaged with the classroom jobs system. For younger students, consider rotating often. Older students can likely remain engaged with their job for longer and will appreciate having enough time to sufficiently learn and get into a comfortable routine of performing those tasks each day or week. In my fifth grade classroom, my students took on new jobs at the beginning of each grading period. Rotating jobs regularly ensures that each student has the opportunity to take on different tasks or responsibilities. You may even find that by the second or third rotation of jobs, students are more likely to apply for jobs they were too nervous to apply for at the beginning of the year. This helps create a well-rounded learning environment where all members of the class take ownership over their environment and are contributing equally to running the classroom.

Training Replacements

student handing bag to another student
When students are responsible for training their replacement, teachers only teach how to perform the job once. Students do the rest!

Once new jobs have been assigned, it’s important for each student to train his/her replacement so that there are no gaps in those roles and responsibilities when one student leaves that job and another takes over. This not only provides leadership opportunities for students but also takes the responsibility of training the new job holders off of the teacher. If done correctly, the teacher only teaches how to perform each job once at the beginning of the school year and the students take over from there! In addition to saving the teacher time, this important step furthers the feelings of community among students. They will begin to see the importance of working together to take care of the classroom and will be more likely to support their peers in accomplishing those tasks because they are invested in the classroom job system.

Getting Started With Student Jobs

students putting toys away
Using student jobs in the classroom is an easy way to increase student independence.

Student jobs can be an invaluable tool for increasing student independence and fostering a sense of community in any elementary classroom. By having students apply for positions that interest them, rotating jobs throughout the year, and training their replacements once new positions have been assigned, teachers can ensure that student jobs remain successful while also giving their students valuable opportunities for personal growth and development along the way!

So how can a teacher get started with a classroom jobs system? Here are some resources to help you get started (including a freebie!):

Student Job Application Freebie

Student Job Systems

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