November 23, 2005
I teach high school and have more helpers (I call them “Bosses”) than some elementary teachers. I learned about this system from a motivational speaker seven years ago, and it's one of the best presentations I have seen in 35 years of teaching!
The first day of school I have the students in each class choose a Time Boss to remind me 2 minutes before the bell or any other time we need to know. If we do timed activities, the Time Boss is in charge of a timer. I know immediately whom the other students see as the classroom leader.
The Time Boss chooses all the other bosses, including replacements. The other bosses include:
- Paper Boss – collects and distributes papers;
- Homework Boss – so I don't get asked the assignment a zillion times;
- Excuse Boss (for serious but private excuses) – s/he gets an envelope, the other student writes it down, and the Excuse Boss puts the envelope inside my desk;
- Door Boss – gets to leave first, which is very important for high school socialites;
- Attendance Boss – the toughest classroom job; and
- Substitute Helper Boss – should be helpful and know everything!
Some of these helpers are never needed, but this spreads the ownership of the classroom around and allows students to be shown respect by their peers.