Everybody Wants a Job

Children will feel needed, valuable, and responsible when they take on roles while working in teams on classroom jobs.

By Mollie Moore

A valued baker

Even before the age of two, my daughter leapt at any opportunity to help out around the house, and if she missed an opportunity, she created one. She would come running if I announced that I had a job for her. Or if she noticed that I had just finished folding laundry, she would unfold an item or two in order to “refold” it. The desire to have purpose and to be valued is innate in all of humanity. Every person of every age can relate. Our early elementary students are certainly no exception.

Classroom Job Assignments, Revised

There are countless ways in which we can affirm the value and purpose in each of our young learners. One simple option is doable in any classroom, and it is never too late to introduce if you are not already doing it. The idea is classroom job assignments, and it is familiar to most of us. But instead of the traditional take on the individual classroom job system, I would like to suggest a team job system. You may adapt the idea to the needs of you and your classroom, the strengths of your students, and the size of your class.

Typically, children rotate their classroom job assignments once a week, giving everybody a chance to practice carrying a variety of responsibilities in the classroom. When they are working in teams, you may choose to either keep children in the same group for a quarter at a time for consistency and team bonding, or switch the groups every week for more variety and practice with working with different people.

Children learn responsibility and reliability, and gain a taste of that sense of purpose we are all longing for when they are assigned classroom job titles. Additionally, they build community and learn teamwork.

Possible Classroom Work Crews

Consider the following list of group job ideas for primary grade students:

  • Supplies & Organization Crew – Makes sure there are always sharpened pencils, reports to teacher when supplies are running low, organizes classroom bookshelf and other materials
  • Teacher’s Assistants – Passes back and collects papers, changes the day/date on the calendar each morning, reports the weather to the class during calendar time, delivers anything that needs to go the office
  • Clean-up Crew – Wipes desks and counters, stacks chairs, sweeps the floor, clears the whiteboard/chalkboard at the end of the day
  • Computer Tech Crew – Keeps computer area neat and clean, turns monitors on and off when asked, helps teacher set up computers for lessons and activities
  • Scientists – Waters and maintains plants, feeds/takes care of class pets, helps set up for and clean up after science experiments and activities