Get Rid of the Bells
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The bells add stress to an already-stressful environment. They induce panic in students. They agitate teachers.
Everyday, I hear my teachers complain, "The bell doesn't dismiss you; I do." Once the bells ring, signaling the end of a period, students abruptly pack up and leave, leaving the teachers mid-sentence. Without the bells, teachers would have an additional 30 seconds to finish their speeches.
When students are unable to get to their next class in precisely 4 minutes, the bells mark them late, even when teachers would otherwise not. Those 30 additional seconds might be the difference between being on time and being tardy, especially for those students who have one class in the basement and the next on the 6th floor. In a school with bells, that is; bells turn what should be a subjective matter into an objective one.
Last week, when we didn't have bells, everyone - my peers and teachers - reported feeling just a little more relaxed than usual. The teachers were pleased they could end their classes with a complete thought. The students had a weight lifted off their backs (certainly a relief for those with backpacks the size of Mars).
Other schools have already found success with a no-bells policy. Just look at these examples:
Moving away from this outdated aspect of our factory origins would create an experience for students that is more college- and real-world-like; students would have a newfound sense of autonomy, trust, and responsibility.
If anything, last week showed everyone that our school is able to function normally without bells. I say hold more trials. Perhaps one for another week, then for a month, and eventually for an entire year. I say let’s make Brooklyn Tech more modern.
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