“Practical Education 2”

By the time we reached seventh grade in our kindergarten through eighth grade elementary school we were seen as pretty mature by our teachers. We were entrusted with a couple of new responsibilities, including using the audio-visual equipment.

In those days the equipment consisted of an overhead projector, a filmstrip machine, and a movie projector. Using the overhead projector didn’t require much instruction, though we frequently put images up in the wrong direction. The teacher usually ran the filmstrip machine since we were inclined to rush through the strip to get it over with. None of us liked filmstrips.

The biggest privilege was being allowed to go next door into the “movie room” and show films to younger classes. We learned to load the reel, run the movie and then rewind the reel to return it to its container. Left alone with the younger kids, we ran the show. Fortunately their teacher stayed too, so there were no added disciplinary requirements.

My one horrifying mishap occurred early on in my training. Failing to firmly secure the upper reel, I watched in horror as it rolled across the floor, the film unspooling as it went. Fortunately the “movie room” was next door to our seventh grade classroom. Hearing the racket, Mrs. McElveny entered and calmly showed me how to restore everything in time for the younger kids to enter the room.

During my own teaching career I frequently showed movies to my classes. I always remembered to carefully attach the reels and to painstakingly thread the film through the machine. Mrs. McElveny would have been proud knowing her practical education had paid off.

24 thoughts on ““Practical Education 2”

    1. I too remember the terrors of teaching with early technology!
      In fact, the terrors of stuff not working never went away!

      I think those of us who grew up before the high-tech era always had expectations that were way too high. We sought perfection. Tech was never going to give us that. And often failed spectacularly. As it still does. It’s the nature of the beast.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. All of this brings back a lot of memories. When I taught sixth grade, one class job was running the movie projector. You can imagine how popular that job was with the kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is a room at our national archives full of old technology with technicians who know how to use it because there is no other way to view some 70s – 90s resources. They are the new Dark Ages.


  3. Does Eighth Grade make you 13 years old at the time? We would not have been allowed to touch any expensive equipment in school at that age. They had a ‘technician’ who set such things up for presentations to the class.
    By the age of 16, we were trusted with stage lighting and sound equipment, but only after careful instruction from the technician.
    Best wishes, Pete.


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