This morning I was frantically trying to complete my grade entries into our new and improved electronic gradebook program just in time to print hard copies of the student’s online progress reports, when it occurred to me that this never ending, perpetually expanding list of things teachers are responsible for might be reaching critical mass.
For those of you playing the “at home” version, let’s recap a bit, shall we? As we step into RW’s WayBack Machine, we remember those tranquil days of ‘yore when teachers only reported student progress at the end of marking periods. The purpose of the marking periods was to give parents some indication of their child’s success before they finished the course. Parents were able to chart their students progress a few times a year by looking at the report cards. If they had special concerns they could call or drop by the school and ask the teachers.
Then, as parents became increasingly frantic that their Golden Child had a “B”, we added the teacher responsibility of midterm grades (euphemistically called “progress reports”). Of course, parents are still invited to call, email, or visit with teachers if they have concerns, but now they can do so more often.
And now we’re right back up to today. Now our grades are instantly accessible online via password, 24/7. Of course this new, expensive technology renders our “progress reports” and report cards completely obsolete, but teachers are still responsible for them! That’s right, if our parents don’t receive that piece of paper generated from the same computer program available online, then how will we know what our little Lotus Blossom’s grade is?
Of course this isn’t even the half of it. Teachers have also assumed responsibility as Parking Lot Attendants, Hallway Sex Police, Athletic Ticket Scalpers, Fashion Monitors, and (my personal favorite) Self Esteem Coaches!
So what happens when the growing number and intensity of teacher responsibilities reaches critical mass and they crack under the pressure? Can you imagine the complete collapse of our social fabric when teachers start drinking on the weekdays? What on earth will happen if that message from Boy Wonder’s mom gets accidentally deleted because they don’t intend to discuss his 0.04 GPA discrepency anymore?
In short, what happens if teachers start acting like everyone else and are no longer responsible?!