One of the concerns/complaints I've heard voiced from staff members at my school is that teachers are being held responsible for--to cut to the chase--other people's responsibilities.
It's not enough to send a child to the office for misbehavior anymore. In all but the most extreme circumstances we have to document that we've previously contacted the child's parents before we can send a child to the office.
We cannot just assign detention anymore, and expect that the child will show his/her parent the detention slip and have the parent sign it. Now, parents must be notified before detention can be served.
We are doing more interim progress reports now than in the past, because some parents claim that they didn't have enough warning of baby's impending failure.
Parents claim that they can't ensure their child does homework unless they, the parents, know what that homework is. We teachers now maintain web sites listing homework assignments.
Too many tardies or cuts will earn a student Saturday School. So that students can get close to the line but not go over, we used to hand out attendance records to each student once a week.
And so it goes.
There was a near riot when we teachers were told that we had to notify parents about each detention. Why, the detention form actually states on it that it's the student's responsibility to inform the parents about detention (which is served the day after it is assigned). Detentions, especially for "school" offenses (like tardies) as opposed to "teacher" offenses (like chewing gum in class), dropped off. And then someone figured out that we could make technology work for us. We've long had the capability to "robo-call", and that functionality is used to remind parents about Back To School Night, notify them about a lockdown at school, etc.; now we notify a secretary, and she adds that student's name to the "your kid has detention tomorrow" robo-call each evening. Problem resolved. It's still not putting the responsibility where it belongs, which is on the student, but at least it's not on the teacher as much as it was.
Another situation wherein the teacher has always had the responsibility is notifying students about grades. I always posted grades (by student number, not name) every week or two so students would know exactly where they stood in class. It's their grade, I reasoned, and they should know what it is.
But I'm not going to accept the responsibility of posting grades anymore. Our district uses Zangle, an online comprehensive student data system. Teachers, counselors, and administrators all have their own little corners of Zangle; teachers use it for grading and attendance.
Now, if students want to know what their grade is, they can look it up online themselves, as our students have been given their own Zangle access similar to what their parents have. No computer or internet access at home? We have plenty in the school library--or even the public library. Want to know what tardies and cuts you have? Look it up yourself.
I like this. Our school has approximately 1600 students, so we're saving 1600 sheets of paper a week by no longer handing out the attendance records. I'm saving 5 pieces of paper a week, plus a lot of printing, by no longer having to post grades.
And the students and their parents are reassuming some of the responsibility for monitoring student performance.