Student Jobs – A Truly Engaging & Useful Tool

My students love the jobs that help me with TPRS/TCI and are very disapponted when none are needed. The variety of jobs and what they entail is constantly evolving as we fine tune what works and what supports student learning. For each job there is a laminated card with the title of the job and a matching picture. At the start of each lesson, I  ensure that each job card that will be needed is blue-tacked  to the white board. This sounds more complicated than it actually is because so far, only the middle and upper primary classes do jobs and as the MP & UP classes are mostly all covering exactly the same story, it only needs a tweak here and there. I have a display folder now for each class and they all are stacked on a small table near the white board. In the first page of  each folder is a sheet which on one side has the year and teacher name for that class and on the back is a class list. All students who are nominated to do a job for the lesson also have the choice of sitting in first class (kelas satu) in the larger chairs along the back wall or with everyone else in kelas dua (normal sized chairs) atau ekonomi (on the floor).

IIf you are interested in reading more about student jobs, Ben Slavic has a very comprehensive list on his website that I highly recommend.

Here are the jobs that I have tried so far:

  1. Sekretaris – At the start of each lesson, I nominate the sekretaris by looking at the notes made on the class list by previous sekretaris’ to see who has not yet been sekretaris or who has not done as many jobs as everyone else. The job of the sekretaris is to write a student name against each of the jobs on the board (with a few exceptions), again choosing students who have yet to complete the same number of jobs as everyone else.  (I used to do all this, but it was so time consuming and led to a lot of unnecessary blurting in English) Once this has been completed, the sekretaris sits in kelas satu (sekretaris has the most luxurious chair) and then completes the checklist by writing against the students name the jobs that they were allocated to do. The sekretaris is also responsible for collecting any student work (quizzes, freee writes ect) fromm the lesson and putting it neatly in the class folder.
  2. Penghitung Waktu –  The person who does this job uses the timer on an ipad and records how long the class can stay in Indonesian. The timer is stopped each time a class member (or Bu Cathy) uses English. This job is awesome  because it lends itself to so many student repetitions of – ‘Boleh saya pakai Bahasa Ingriss?’ (to which the other students invariably shout out “Tidak boleh!”) and also the asking of the time keeper, “Berapa minut?” and then listening for the answer which must be given in Indonesian. 
  3. Polisi – This student sits next to the penhitung waktu and every time someone uses English, they squeeze a plastic pig dog toy (not the most appropriate object for oh so many reasons….) to inform the penghitung waktu to stop and reset the timer.This job lends itself to the questions, “Siapa pakai Bahasa Ingris?” and then “Harry pakai Bahasa Indonesia atau Bahasa Indonesia?” to which the student generally asssures us all that it was in fact Indonesian!! Yeah right! These two jobs complement each other and in particular because it keeps the penghitung honest!
  4. Twitter – The twitterer has to move to the PC 5 minutes before the end of the lesson and then write a 140 character (or less) sentence about something significant/memorable we covered in our lesson. While we get the hang of the job, I am accepting English, but next term I will be insisting that all tweets are written in Indonesian. 
  5. Penulis – The penulis has to keep track of the class story for me!! The story I receive from the penulis invariably isn’t complete for many reasons, but it’s usually enough for me to remember by the end of the day the gist of their story. This person usually focuses so intently and acquires so much more than anyone else!!
  6. Penghitung kata – This  job counts the number of times I say the target structure we are focusing on during that lesson. It is a very popular job as they get to use a hand held counter (or if more than one, they tally on a piece of paper but this is nowhere as accurate) and I love it because it helps to keep me focused on what I should be repeating. I will check in with the penghitung kata by asking ,”Berapa?” and from their answer I know whether I have covered the structure enough or not. It is fascinating how quickly the count skyrockets when a class gets hooked on the discussion!
  7. Mendistribusi pensil dan kertas – Responsible for distributing pencils and paper for quizzes. Two names go against this job and then I ask each of them, “Harry mau mendistribusi pensil atau Harry mau mendistribusi kertas?” while miming handing out things to the students sitting in economy. There job is to check that the pensils are sharp and that there is enough A5 paper for each student ready for the quiz.
  8. Pembaca – This is my reader leader. Their job is to use the microphone and lead the class in the reading of the story. 
  9. Pembantu – This job was only introduced recently and is still being honed but so far it has been a huge hit. The job of the pembantu is to echo me each time I say a specific TPR phrase. At the moment we are focusing on ‘angkat tangan’ so I bought a hulk hand at Savers especially for this. Every time I say ‘angkat tangan’ the pembantu has to echo me loudly (silly voice encouraged) and thrust the hulk hand up into the air. It is hilarious and has been very successful for sneaking in extra repititions. I also incorporated the concept of auditions after reading about them on Ben Slavic’s website. The person auditioning is given the microphone and the hulk hand and we get some reps in while students audition for the job! Ingenious isn’t it!  Now that students understand  the job, I think it will work better and smoother without the microphone.  
  10. Mengabsen – This job is chosen by the random option on class dojo. This student has to call the roll using class  dojo while I time them.  I introduced the timing aspect to keep the roll call succinct and also for the added spice of interclass competition. The current chamapion, Cambell (year 6/7 Turley) called the roll in 33 seconds last week. Calling the roll provides me with useful data and for students it provides them with a comfortable routine that helps them transition into Indonesian.
  11. Penulis Quiz – The quiz writers job is to choose 7 or 12 sentences from the story that the class is currently working on. The number is 7 if the quiz is out of 5 or 12 if the  quiz is out of 10, with a couple of spares  in case one or two of the sentences are not suitable. The quiz is a true/false quiz (benar/salah) and thus the sentences written by the penulis ujian can be either taken directly from the story (benar) or tweaked (salah).  

Here are a few quizzes some of the penulis ujian’s wrote this week based on our current story:


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