How To Use Classroom Jobs in Middle School
Classroom jobs are pretty commonplace in elementary classrooms – but can they work in middle school when you have multiple classes every day? YES!
I have used jobs in my 6th and 7th grade classes for a few years now, so in this post I will share the 10 jobs I use and the system I use to keep the jobs running smoothly. You can also read posts about the banking system I use and how they are able to spend the money they earn!
Be sure to read to the end to get a FREE classroom economy planning workbook to help you get started!
Why Use Classroom Jobs?
First of all, why should you use jobs in your classroom?
- It teaches students responsibility.
- It helps students take ownership of the classroom and feel like they are an important part of the classroom community.
- It saves you time! You can have them do many of the important but time-consuming small tasks you find yourself doing every day.
The 10 Jobs I Use
I use ten different jobs in my classroom:
1. Teacher’s Assistant: passes out and collects papers, takes things to the office, and does any other special tasks that I need completed
2. Whiteboard Inspector: erases the whiteboards after we are done using them (students love this one!)
3. Pencil Manager: in charge of maintaining the class supply of pencils and making sure they are sharpened (I use this pencil management system)
4. Supply Manager: keeps our community supplies organized, gives out new dry erase markers to students whose markers have dried up
5. Banker: opens the bank once a week – students who have received checks bring them to the banker to deposit them in the bank (read this post to learn more about the bank)
6. Merchant: opens and runs the class store once a week (read this post to learn more about the store)
7. Secretary: fills out absent sheets for any students who are absent
8. Photographer: takes pictures with the class camera (an old iPhone) during class activities
9. Classroom Inspector: makes sure the classroom is cleaned up at the end of class
10. Substitute: fills in for any students with a job who are absent
Each class has its own set of jobs – so there will be 10 students with a job in each class. This is necessary because most of the jobs need to be completed during each class, not just once a day.
Applying For Jobs
In order to get a job, students must fill out a job application. They list their top three choices, explain why they would be a good fit for those jobs, and sign their names at the bottom. I then go through the applications and choose the 10 students from each class who will get a job.
I keep a job tracking chart with the students’ names going down the left side and the job names going across the top. I keep track of which student has had each job and when. I use this as I am going through applications so that I can make sure that every student has a chance to get a job and to try out different jobs.
Since only 10 students can have a job at a time, many students will not get a job each month. I tell them that if they don’t get a job this time, they will be more likely to get a job next time. It also depends on which jobs they apply for – some jobs are a lot more popular than others.
It takes some time to go through all the applications, but I only do it once a month. Once I have chosen the students, they keep their jobs for that entire month. You could even have them keep the job for an entire grading period.
I make the applications available the last week of each month. It is completely optional. I typically give out applications on Tuesday and make them due on Thursday. Then I post the new jobs on the last Friday of the month and try to provide time for job training on that day. The students who had the jobs that month train the new people.
Keeping Students Accountable
After using jobs for a couple of years, I found that there were always a few students who applied and got a job but then didn’t follow through with their job responsibilities. However, this was hard for me to keep track of with so many students.
To address this issue, this past year I introduced the idea of job accountability sheets. I created a sheet for each job that lists exactly what the student should be doing each day of the week. Students check off the tasks as they complete them and turn them in at the end of the week to get their paychecks.
Since implementing this, I only give paychecks to students who have turned in their accountability sheets. This has worked out well and has definitely increased the percentage of students who are taking their jobs seriously!
Despite the work to get the jobs set up, having classroom jobs last year ended up saving me a lot of time in the long run! I used to spend a lot of time just trying to keep track of absent students, and having the secretary take on that duty has been a huge sanity-saver. The best advice I can give for coming up with jobs is think about tasks that you are constantly doing in the classroom – what responsibilities can you pass on to your students?
Are You Ready to Give Jobs a Try?
If you’d like to implement a job system that is easy to maintain, increases student responsibility and ownership in the classroom, and frees up some of your time, I highly recommend giving this system a try!
If you want to use the resources I’ve described in this post to set up your own system, try my Editable Classroom Jobs for Middle School Starter Pack! It includes both editable and ready-to-print versions of the following resources:
- “Help Wanted” display
- Job Application
- Job Tracking Chart
- Job List to post the new jobs
- Job Accountability Sheets
- Employee of the Month Certificate
If you need help planning out your classroom economy, you can download my FREE Classroom Economy Planning Workbook below!
Next up, I’ll be talking about how I compensate my students for doing their jobs and how the bank works, so stay tuned!
More in the classroom economy series:
Part 2: How to Set Up a Bank for Your Classroom Economy
Part 3: How to Set Up a Classroom Store for Your Classroom Economy
I’d like to hear about how your run your store.
Have you used this for rotating classes?
Math With Meaning
I’m not sure exactly what you mean by rotating classes, but I do have multiple classes throughout the day and I have a different set of student employees for each class, if that’s what you mean!
Math With Meaning
Hi Janina! I will be doing posts soon on my banking system and the store, so stay tuned! If you want to be notified when they come out, you can sign up for my email list at the side of the page!
Your materials are so cuuuute! I am also curious about your store… what can the students buy? and how often is the store available?
Can’t wait to hear more!
What do you do if someone with a job is absent? Especially the secretary. If they don’t have a day filled out on their accountability sheet due to an absence, do they still get payed?
Math With Meaning
Hi Reagan! One of my jobs is the substitute, and that person fills in for anyone who is absent! Some days they don’t have to do anything, and some days they have to do three jobs – it just depends! If someone misses a day (or even a few days) during the week but does their job on the other days, I still pay them. If they were gone the whole week, I would not pay them. Hope that helps!
I love this classroom job idea and I can’t wait to implement this in my classroom. More of a logistics question, but what do you pay the students with weeks that are shorter like No School days?
Math With Meaning
Hi Jennifer! I still pay them the full amount during shortened weeks. If it’s a really short week, like 2 days, I might just skip jobs that week or combine it with the following week.
What about students who do not have jobs? Do they receive standard income?
Math With Meaning
No, the only payment I usually give out is for students with jobs! I really stress to them that they won’t be able to have a job every month, but that I will do my best to make sure that everyone gets a chance to get a job several times throughout the year. You could certainly adapt it to give out money for more things, though!
Hi! I can’t wait to use this! I have 80 students and it seems like it would get expensive? Do you find that? I know I can adjust it – I am just curious on average what it roughly costs you monthly as it is set up now? Thanks so much!
Math With Meaning
Hi Catherine! That’s a great question. I haven’t actually kept track, probably because I don’t want to know 😅 but let me say first of all that I think you can make it work with whatever your budget is. I personally never asked parents or local businesses for donations, which is one of the big things I would do differently – so I highly recommend doing that if you feel comfortable doing so and that should help quite a bit. It also depends a lot on what type of items you want to put in your store. Sodas for example get expensive, so you don’t have to include them if you don’t want to. And I usually have at least 10 kids who earn a Blizzard from Dairy Queen, which adds up, too. All of that being said, I would estimate I typically spend around $150-200 over the course of the year on stuff for the store. Again, though, not saying you need to spend that much! I would just decide how much you’re able to/want to spend on it, and then just decide what to put in your store based on that. And again, reach out to parents and local businesses! I really think that will make a big difference. Hope that helps!