The First Step - Pitch Your Idea
Tell the students that, soon, they will have the opportunity to apply for classroom jobs. Give them a few examples of the types of jobs that are available and watch their eyes light up as they imagine themselves as the little kings or queens of a certain domain of the classroom. Make it clear that, when they accept a job, they will have to take it very seriously and if they do not meet their commitments, they can and will be "fired" from the job. Make this announcement a few days before your plan to formally introduce the job program so that you can build anticipation and portray the importance of classroom jobs.
Decide on the Duties
There are hundreds of things that need to be done to run a successful and efficient classroom, but only a couple dozen that you can trust the students to handle. Thus, you need to decide how many and which jobs to have available. Ideally, you should have one job for each student in your class. In classes of 20 or fewer, this will be relatively easy. If you have many more students, it will be more challenging and you may decide to have a few students without jobs at any given time. You will be rotating jobs on a regular basis, so every one will have a chance to participate eventually. You also have to consider your own personal comfort level, the maturity level of your class, and other factors when you decide how much responsibility you ready to give your students.
Use the Classroom Jobs List to get ideas for which jobs in particular will work in your classroom.
Design an Application
Using a formal job application is a fun opportunity for you to get each student's commitment in writing that they will perform any job to the best of their abilities. Ask students to list their first, second, and third choice jobs. Here is an example of a Classroom Job Application. It also meet Language Arts standards for filling out forms.
Make the Assignments
Before you assign the jobs in your classroom, hold a class meeting where you announce and describe each job, collect applications, and emphasize the importance of each and every duty. Promise to give each child his or her first or second choice job some time throughout the school year. You will need to decide and announce how often the jobs will be changing. After you assign the jobs, give each student a job description about their assignment. They will use this to learn what they need to do, so be explicit!
Monitor their Job Performance
Just because your students now have jobs doesn't mean you can just sit back and take it easy while they perform their duties. Watch their behavior closely. If a student is not performing the job properly, conference with him or her and tell the student exactly what you need to see in their performance. If things don't improve, it might be time to consider "firing" them. If their job is essential, you will need to find a replacement. Otherwise, simply give the "fired" student another chance during the next cycle of job assignments. Don't forget to schedule a certain time each day for the jobs to be performed; I schedule it for the last 5-10 minutes of the day when we assign homework, pack up, and dismiss for the end of the day.
That's about it! As you can see, classroom jobs are a wonderful way to teach responsibility and build a sense of classroom community. With the use of job applications, you are also giving the students practice at filling out forms, which is an academic standard in many districts.