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The Student-Led Classroom Blog - Join me as I explore the creation of self-autonomous, primary school learning environments

Much More Than Milk Monitors

"It's like making the div kid at school milk monitor, no one respects it!" - A favourite quote of mine from the UK version of the office, in relation to the role of team leader. Perhaps, in the past, the handing out of classroom job titles was used in this way; giving the naughty kid something to fill his or her time with, rather than jabbing pencils into their partner’s backs or constantly calling out. But today, at least in the school I work in, there is a growing feeling that jobs can help breed responsibility and leadership skills. We run a break-time tuck shop, manned solely by year five and six pupils; we instate sports leaders who run lunchtime sessions and work with smaller children, setting a great example and modelling confidence and maturity; and we hand those with a thirst for school politics Councillor roles, among other things.

But what about within the classroom? I'm someone who loves their job (most of the time) and I thrive on the responsibility it 'forces' upon me. Wouldn't handing out whole-class roles, at an early age, help develop self-worth and a positive mind-set? Most of us have to work at some point and it is one of our most important roles as a teacher to prepare our cohorts for their working lives. For this reason, and because I’m almost obsessive about creating a work space where the children around me lead the way responsibly, I began handing out jobs around a year ago. My school uses Golden Time as a hook for good behaviour, but I felt that by year five, it should be earned rather than a given. In order to earn their minutes, jobs must be completed on a daily basis, signed off and then checked on Fridays before rewards are cashed in.

I allow the children a snappy five or six minutes on a daily basis to complete their chores. There is a job song that is played and they are all aware that when they hear it, they should quickly get to work. Jobs range from librarians, who order and tidy the book shelves, to a balcony sweeper, who is kitted out with a dustpan and brush to sweep up the cobwebs! Many children are proud that their roles enable the rest of the group to achieve more easily. It's also fantastic for the state of the classroom, which is consistently clean, tidy and well ordered. I wouldn't have it any other way! My favourite role is that of the pep talker, who is tasked with circulating the room during this time, reeling out a never-ending stream of positivity to their classmates!

Do you use a similar system? And in what ways does your workplace encourage children to grasp responsibility? Sign in and leave a comment below if you would like to share.


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