Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Giving Children Responsibility

students When my children were growing up, they had certain responsibilities. They had to make up their bed, fold their clothes, keep their rooms neat and whatever was appropriate for their age.

I believe that giving children responsibilities not only teaches them to be independent but it is also a way to show them that you trust them. You trust that they can do what is asked and do it to the best of their ability.

I have talked with many parents and I’m always surprised when they tell me that their child does not have any responsibilities at home. By not having any, I think the child is getting the wrong message. Even if a child has a disability, many are capable of small responsibilities. In fact, if they are capable, it can go a long way to improving their self esteem. Of course, they may fuss and protest about having these responsibilities, but I think later in life they will appreciate this learning experience.

I feel the same thing applies in the classroom. Students should have certain responsibilities in my classroom. This shows that I trust them to help me as well.

Each student was assigned duties that lasted the whole week. I had one student designated with taking attendance and letting me know who was absent. Another student would collect homework and let me know who did not have it. One student was responsible for answering the phone if it rang so I was not interrupted during teaching unless it was necessary. This student had a script to follow which was near the phone to help them. I even had one student who was responsible for letting me know 5 minutes before the end of class so that we could finish up and do what was necessary before they left.

All of these things were minor to me but it really freed me up to be a more effective teacher. Plus the students enjoyed having these responsibilities. The tasks can be different according to the age that you teach but all students on all levels need these responsibilities.

Here are some other articles I have found on this subject:

Classroom Jobs for Elementary School Students

A Classroom Job for Every Child

Classroom Jobs

Classroom Jobs for All Your Student Helpers

I believe that by assigning duties to students, I will be helping them be more successful during the school year and in the future.

Do you have your students do certain things in your classroom like this? If so, please share. I might find a new job assignment that I had not thought of before.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: '9:15 AM-Students Reading and Working on Seatwork' by: Judy Baxter


ksquirkyteacher said...

I have always been a big fan of students taking over as many responsibilities as possible. I have had students whose job was to go down and help kindergarteners get coats and gloves on in the winter, turn computers on, sharpen pencils, keep books in order, run certain programs on my SMARTboard, keep track of missing work for absent students, make sure floors are clean, sorting the boxes of homework we get from the district, reading to younger students... and many of the basic classroom jobs. I have found it to be a godsend for my behavior problems. Kids that previous teachers gave horrific reports about were suddenly well behaved in my room, thanks to being given a responsibility to do that made them feel worthwhile and important. I was a child who had no chores to do at home... and I felt like something was missing growing up. I realized as I got older how much I craved that sense of responsibility and importance and eventually asked to have a chore to do. I think it is an important part of growing up. I knew I had to feed the calves or they'd go hungry. I've always liked the scene in Little Women where the mother refuses to pick up the slack of the girls and they realize just how much of an impact those little chores made.

loonyhiker said...

Thanks for sharing other duties for students. I love the thought of going to another class and helping younger students. You also mentioned some things that I didn't think of and would be great responsibilities. The story Little Women had so many great lessons in it!