Photo by Lincoln Aftergood, LT
You’ve probably noticed that the infamous ringing of the bells that signal the beginning and end of every class has disappeared. Now it is harder to recognize when classes begin or end, and the schedule is more confusing because of it.
The bells were a staple in my day. They allowed me to know when each class began and when each class ended. Having five minutes to get to each class is reasonable, but when the teachers aren’t alerted when the classes end, the passing time is shortened and arriving to class on time becomes more of a challenge.
Also, each teacher’s system for signaling the end of class is different. Some teachers set alarms, write the time on the board, or don’t have a system in place at all, which regularly causes chaos in the classroom and the hallways.
Furthermore, nobody knows when classes end, so most students rely on the schedules on their phones and computers. The constant use of devices creates a big distraction, which defeats the purpose of the bells being removed in the first place.
The lack of bells not only makes me feel more disorganized but results in students being unaware of the start and stop times of each class. There is no way to distinguish between being late to a class or simply being held back because nobody knew when the class ended.This becomes problematic as CESJDS holds the rule that if you receive five or more tardies in a quarter, your grade is reduced by one percentage point.
I understand that bells were removed because they were viewed as distracting since middle and high school periods end at different times. But there is a simple fix to the problem that everybody is complaining about: bring back the bells. I suggest resuming the bell schedule for a week and seeing how people react.
However, there are other viable solutions as well. Certain bells could ring in certain parts of the school to let middle or high schoolers know when to leave class. Teachers could have in-class bells that ring inside the class so as not to disturb other nearby classes that aren’t being let out.
Or we could just synchronize the middle and high school class end times. I know that they are staggered so as to prevent hall crowding, but in reality middle school doesn’t really have classes in high school areas and vice versa, so I don’t believe it would really become a problem.
This solution was created when Montgomery County was experiencing high rates of COVID-19 transmission, but now that we have such a high vaccination rate, we should be fine synchronizing the schedule. This would make it easier for teachers that teach both middle school and high school as well.
Having bells in our schedules helps us stay organized and punctual for our classes, which is an important life skill. Also, the extra music between classes would be an added bonus, at least for me.