On the iFLT/CI/NTPRS Facebook page, many teachers are interested in how other teachers implement their class jobs. Just as with everything else we do in our classroom, these decisions are affected by our students’ abilities, needs and dispositions, our personal teaching philosophies, our organizational preferences, our comfort level, and so much more.
My jobs system was created for the middle school learner and is currently being adapted as I transition to high school.
Here’s how my system generally looks:
First quarter, I add several jobs every day/week. I train the whole class on how that job works. I then ask if anyone would like that job. If no one volunteers, I tell them: “I’m going to pick someone who I think is going to be really great at it. Try it out for a week, if you don’t like it, let me know and we’ll find someone else for it.”
With a spreadsheet on a clipboard (classroom jobs spreadsheet), I have a secretary take note of who has what job. Whenever we forget, I say “Secretario… ¿Quién tiene __?”
How we change jobs:
1. If a student is complaining about their job or just looks uncomfortable with it or says “I don’t want this job anymore”: we have an immediate change. I say “No hay problema.. ¿Quién quiere __?” (No problem. Who wants __?)
2. New this year: El Jefe/La Jefe (the boss), borrowed from my mentor Bryce Hedstrom. (I don’t know if he knows it, but he is my mentor.) The boss playfully fires students “who fail to do their job well repeatedly”All of Bryce’s jobs and more info here! I will also have the boss find someone new for the job.
3. Quarterly clean-out: All jobs are changed every quarter. Students first evaluate themselves on Bryce’s participation scale (they can get a 10/10 if they volunteer for a do class jobs well.) Then, on the other side of the paper, they submit a job request using the job request form. I choose the students for the jobs, based on their request, and write it into the spreadsheet.
4. Relinquishing some control: The Jefe/Jefa and Secretario can have as much or as little control over jobs as you want them to. If you are not into delegating jobs, give that responsibility to the Jefe/Jefa.
The game-changing jobs:
El Culpable – The Guilty One (credit to Rob Wilber): If ANYTHING goes wrong in class, we blame it on the Guilty One. This creates a real buzz in the class. Kids get a huge kick out of blaming someone else for something that goes wrong. Kids are instantly re-engaged. We laugh, we diffuse the tension or frustration of whatever went wrong. There is always SOMEONE who wants this job.
Timer: Keeps a timer running for Target Language time. Students get points toward a party every time they stay in Spanish for 8 consecutive minutes. Every time I hear English, I tell the timer to reset the clock back to zero. They have a sense of competition that drives them to monitor each others’ English use.
Photographer: It takes a moment to make sure the camera (or old iPhone) is ready, but it always pays off. Having pictures of the class can be used for compelling input the next class. It can be used for retells, sequencing activities, caption activities, or just an end-of-the-year slideshow. I highly recommend ALWAYS using a photographer.
Writer / Artist / Quiz-Writer: These three jobs are among the first jobs I give out every year. I have been impressed with how well my high schoolers have been doing this job. I have the writer type the story or special person facts into an Evernote document so I can access it from anywhere. The artist serves a similar purpose as the photographer.
“Wait, how do I do my job, again?”
Students who need more training on their job, or a quick reminder, can refer to the Job Description Posters hanging on the wall. It saves me explanation and allows them to feel confident in their ability to do the job.