In one of the schools where we attended the open house this month, the director was very eloquent about the non-intrusive and soothing environment they provide at their school. She also mentioned that they believed in empowering students and letting them share the daily school responsibilities along with the teacher. She said they do not have a school bell. All they had was a whistle that they blew few times a day to indicate recess/lunch on and off times; and that too because kids are far off in the schoolyard or playground during that time. They might not be able to see the clock. But other than that they didn’t ring or even have any other school bells. They didn’t want to startle the students. Also this is one of their methods to teach the kids time management.
This conversation brought back some bittersweet memories from my childhood.
I once studied in a public school that was poorly funded. The money was so scarce that the administration and teachers had to be constantly creative on how they spend without compromising the quality for the students.
When the school had started few years ago they couldn’t afford a new school bell. I am not taking about the shinny brass ones. They didn’t have enough money to buy the plain old cast iron bells. So a staff member rode his bicycle to the nearest railroad yard and brought back a 3-foot broken and abandoned railway line. They hung it at school as a bell. And imagine what did they use as the clapper – A good old hammer.
I visited this school of mine in 2012 December after many decades. Things have changed and improved beyond my imagination. The school has grown multifold in all aspects. Although they use an electric bell now, they still have the railway line bell displayed as memento in the assembly room.
Image courtesy: Google