Monthly Archives: March 2010

Smooth Working School Office.

A resent school I visited also used students to ring the hand bell 5 minutes before end of morning and lunch breaks. Then the office staff operated the manual bell button. There were a few difficulties noticed, the position of the manual bell button was 20 meters down a hallway out of site of the school staff. It must have been a real chore for the Office Staff getting up out of their seat and walking down the hallway 14 times a day to operate the bell, I suppose it’s good exercise. This repeatedly interrupted the staffs consentration each time they needed to operate the bell. Another funny thing was they also got so use to the problem they just put up with it until a teacher temp said why not use an electronic school bell. The light bulb lit up when they googled “school bell system” and found there were automatic bell systems that cured their problems.

The main problem was the Electic Bell Button was manually operated by the staff, because the kids couldn’t be trusted to ring it on time without fail. I hear these issues so often.

They installed a school bell system and now its a Smooth Working School Office, without the stress. Another happy school.

Schools with Hand Bells have the same problems

I interviewed another school that used a hand bell for class change etc. They would get a student to walk around the school swingging the hand bell for about a minute to make sure everyone hears it, about 13 times a day. You know what, they told me the student doesn’t always turn up, then they have to rush around ringing the hand bell themselves. This is a common story I hear, where the Bell Monitor Student eventually gets the sack because they are not reliable, and the staff take back the job because it’s easier than looking after the kid. Then it become a chore, and they look to automate the bell.

School Bell Systems

School Bell Systems

How simple is it to operate a manual bell button, which operates the electric bells placed around the schools of today. Sure easy, you press the button and the bells ring. Now make it your job to ring it 14 times per day, and you cannot miss one or be late. Yeah ok, you say can’t be that bad.  But you didn’t realise they didn’t say for the whole year.  Now after a few weeks it starts geeting hard to keep time etc. Not so simple now.

This is one job that needs to be automated, and it is quite easy to do. The task can be replaced with an electronic timer. There are a few different types and it is worth speading time choosing a good one. The cheap small self contained timers will cause more problems than they are worth. They are fiddly to program, inflexible, small memory, basically junk.  Anything mechanical, it’s past its day, through it out.  Audio based sound systems oddly still play Bell Sounds, the overall cost is high to implement, the schedules seem to be modified 7 day timers. It is best to avoid the 7 day timer format, it dosn’t program ahead far enough. Automatic daylight saving and leap yearmust be automatic, many schedules and many bell operations are needed now. The BellMinder is the one that fits the task exactly.

The Invisible Stress of Bell Ringing at schools

Bell Ringing stress.

You would be amazed what I’m about to say. There is an unforeseen stress in school offices which can be cured in a couple of days.

“Operating a Manual Bell at a school is stressful”, the amount of stress depends on the size of the school and the person incharge of the bell.

Can you imagine a Manual Bell button, you press the button and the bell rings, then the school changes class, a simple task.    Now you are told to press the button 12-15 times per day, and told it’s easy.    But you weren’t told you have to press the button 12-15 times per day for a year.    Actually for as long you are employed there.    You quickly find you cannot leave the office when it is near the time to ring the bell.

A month goes past, it’s a little painful keeping the Bell on time, it’s OK, no one said anything.

Three months go past, the teachers start getting agitated when the bells are late for the start of their classes. They bring it up in the Weekly Staff meetings. You now think you need to please the teachers. Subconsciously you start thinking ringing the bell on time is very important, you don’t want to upset the teachers and put in a more consous effort, because you’ll get the blame. You like working with your colleagues. You find being tied to the office to ring the bell is like prison, but you battle on not complaining, becuase it is a simple task.

Six months goes on, you have a bad day, there was a big run of couriers arriving, new software in the computer, a child was very sick and the parent needed contacting, you miss a bell completely. The teachers go nuts, and think you are an idiot,  “how hard is it press a simple little button anyway”. You feel bad for letting them down, and get stomach cramps and try to block it out of your mind. You battle on, it’s only a simple Bell Button.

The really bad thing is, this keeps going on because the people have got use to it so much they think this is just how it is. They lose site of the long term issue happening right infront of their eyes.

Having a Manual Bell at a school is like eating high cholesterol food, it’s a silent killer. It creates unnecessary stress on the Office staff and Teachers and the running of the school.

School Bells need to be automated for the sake of the Office Ladies Sanity.

The Best School Bell System I’ve found is a BellMinder, most highly recommended, it costs a little more but is well worth it. You can find one at

The BellMonitor Kid

Alot of friends tell me they used to be the Bell Monitor kid, and they liked skipping class, and they felt really special with there friends.

What school staff also tell me is if the Bell Monitor student was away sick, in swinning class or in physical education class, then the bell ringging duty would be completley missed. It was upto the staff again to monitor the Bell, and jump into action when the bell didn’t ring.

What is more stressful.

1/ Having a Bell Monitor student operate the Bell?

2/ Having the School Staff operate the Bell ringging.

It’s #1, because there is two tasks plus an unknown. Monitoring the Time and Bell Monitor. The Bell Monitor arriving is an unknown.

The least stressful option is to have an Automatic Bell. You would not believe the great comments I get after the Bell is automated. If this was analysed scientifically, after an event there was happiness, therefore there is less stress.

Choosing a good Bell Ringer child or Bell Monitor

Here’s a tip for choosing a School Bell Monitor kid.  From listening to a school recently, before they got a School Bell System, actually a BellMinder, they used a student to operate the electric bell.  As with most other schools this was terribly unreliable, by being late and the office staff still had to look after the Bell Monitor kid, so what is the advantage or benifit of a Bell Monitor Kid?.  The staff hate the mundane duty, and the kid takes away the task. Only if you get a good one!!

What made a difference was when they chose an autistic child to be Bell Monitor. The child was precise to the second at operating that bell and never missed a bell. It was bliss and even dreamy they told me. Untill he left school.