Monday, November 23, 2009


*** Tongue in Cheek Alert: Take the following VERY lightly!

My school finally has a working Public Address system. It's circa 1930 ... but it's working. We do not, however, have working bells.

That means, that our teachers are dependent on their watches and the occasional classroom clock to determine when to dismiss their classes.

This also means that when a teacher gets fed up with a class ... they sometimes dismiss them a little early.

We used to have a jury rigged bell system but someone cut the speaker wire, somewhere, and we have never been able to figure out how to rework it. Besides, it was the most annoying claxon I've ever had the displeasure to hear.

While researching the bell problem, I called my dear, darling husband for advice. After all, he does tinker in electronics.

He did not, however, have an electronic answer to my problem. He did, though, suggest an old time solution. One ala' Notre Dame.

Not the school, the cathedral.

He suggested a hunchback*.

The theory was, that we could hire a hunchback to roam the halls, ringing a bell at the start and end of each period. Hunchbacks are probably a title that is very much in excess** and so we should be easily able to get one.

And, in addition to being great bell ringers, hunchbacks can also, often, double as lab assistants, something else that we desperately need but cannot afford.

Sadly, the last hunchback retired from the New York City school system back when they retired bell towers, sometime in the early 2000s (which is also when they got rid of the last coal burning furnace).

It's so sad when something so classic is gone for good.

The topic re-arose this evening as I bragged about how well the public address system worked today (I literally jumped for joy when the other schools did not call to complain -- which means we really did isolate just our rooms).

Mike is still convinced that a hunchback is our best solution. He could even make the daily announcements!

* No offense meant to those with spinal problems, this is being written with my tongue firmly in my cheek!

** Title In Excess: a staffing line (a specific job like: teacher or aide or hunchback) that has more people than the school can afford. Those with least seniority in the line are placed into "excess" and hopefully picked up by another school.

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