Jobs – 1

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5 thoughts on “Jobs – 1”

  1. You know Ben, this sounds great, and I have always wanted to give out jobs, and I try to start to; however, things start to get crazy, and I forgot to follow through. Anyone else have this problem? and if so, HOW do you stay focused long enough to assign the jobs and keep it going?

    Maybe it’s because I always felt under the gun time-wise, only having the kids for one semester per class, and having to “cover” x,y, and z. Hopefully it will be easier this coming year, as we move to a full year of A/B days scheduling (70 min blocks)

  2. It’s funny because I was just now adding job #60 to the list. That article will post as a reminder about the jobs here at the start of school in a few weeks.

    I don’t think that you can really get the jobs going in one semester. It IS very difficult to accomplish with all the other things going on. A point I have made, however, is that student jobs emerge organically, are never forced on a student, and the way jobs happen is that I find myself, in the organic unfolding of class that marks the way we approach this kind of teaching, saying, “I need a ” _______” whenever the need job comes up in class. I just react to the need when it arises, to respond to your question of how this works for me.

    Another point to make about the jobs, besides the key point that jobs are never assigned but rather are chosen by a student when I ask for that job to be done, is that I rarely get to more than ten really solid jobs in a year myself. Past fifteen and it is too hard to even remember who is doing what. (Sometimes I write the key jobs on the board with the employed students’ names on there to help everybody remember.)

    The reason there are so many jobs is that there are potentially so many different kinds of jobs needed by so many teachers with so many different personalities at so many KI-12 levels in so many different ways that what one teacher thinks is an important job may not be shared by another teacher. At the high school level, I could not live without my:

    1. PQA Counters
    2. Story Writer
    3. Quiz Writer
    4. Artist/Educreationist

    There are a few others that I feel are really important. Many are a bit frivolous. It’s all up to the teacher.

  3. I have the Student Jobs I always use on a poster on the wall. I will take 1-2 minutes every day to ask “Who wants to be ____?” I offer to a different person every class – everyone gets a turn before you can have the job again (fairness is really important to younger kids).

    If it’s a non-essential job and no one volunteers, then no job that day. If I really need someone and no one volunteers, like a Quiz Writer, then I tell the class I’ll make the quiz and they can be sure my version will be harder. Hands then raise. Some jobs like the Where Person and When Person just happen in response to the first person to say the word after whenever I say the L2 equivalent. I’ve never had a Story Writer, but my kids are beginners. I have only a few students who could be story writers, but I prefer to have those students more involved – actors! I have used Story Writer to shut up the more advanced student in my adult class.

    I owe a lot of the student engagement to Student Jobs.

  4. Totally agree re: student engagement. I start out with a chart, ask for volunteers, rotate weekly. When I forget for whatever reason, the kids remind me: “Hey what about the jobs?” “Can I be the artist this week, I have never gotten to be the artist?” etc. If you establish at the very beginning that everyone has a role, then it definitely feels like something is missing when you forget and the kids will be all over it. Because I am super scattered I always have a “professeur” or “co-president” or “administrative guru” or “power ninja” ??? some other creative name for the student who loves to organize and keep things on track. I also tell kids that we may employ others as a job is needed that we can’t anticipate at the beginning.

    All that said, it is a process. I am the biggest offender of trying to “do” too much in too little time, so the jobs are critical for shifting the energy back to focusing on the kids and being present instead of trying too hard to “cover something” or even “get the story going.” Two years ago I had some great feedback from a student about this. She told me “sometimes it feels like you are rushing to get through the story.” Yes indeed. I can’t remember the rest of her comment but it was something to the effect of “the best classes are when we are not rushing so more of what happens comes from us.” Again, not verbatim, but that is the spirit of what she said. Bingo!

    When the thought pops into my head “oh we’ll skip the jobs today we have too much to do,” that is a HUGE RED FLAG to slow down… the truth is we don’t have time NOT to do the jobs!

  5. I usually let the kids pick jobs at the beginning of each quarter. If more than one person volunteers, they each have to try to convince us why they would be the best one and then the class votes. There are also substitutes for most jobs (in case someone is out). I use a google doc that is linked to their Haiku accounts (that’s the learning management system we use in our district). I also put a copy of the document on the bulletin board in the room. Of course, anybody can get fired nod replaced anytime during their tenure if they they don’t do their job, but that rarely happens.

    The one thing I have to start doing is to add more jobs this coming year. So far, I have stuck with the basics, such as structure counters, story and quiz writers, artist ….
    I agree, jobs are absolutely essential to a democratic classroom environment.

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