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The Day That the Teachers Took a Field Trip

From now until the end of the school year, Minnetrista will bustle with school tours. Elementary students from throughout East Central Indiana will hunt habitats, discover gardens, and meet the creepy crawlies. School bus drivers will open the doors, and kids will spill out. Teachers will herd them, and a good time will be had by all.

One day many years ago, however, the people who spilled out of the buses were the teachers. On April 26, 1951, more than 380 teachers and administrators took part in an Industry-Education Day hosted by the Muncie Chamber of Commerce and Muncie City Schools. The teachers were divided into thirteen groups with each group visiting at least one industry. The goals for this outing were fourfold:

  1. To enable educators to observe the actual operation of industry.
  2. To permit industry to illustrate the importance of a free American economy.
  3. To help teachers and counselors guide pupils in choosing occupations.
  4. To give teachers information on jobs and working conditions of parents of children attending Muncie schools.

The field trip must have been a success. The committee who put the commemorative booklet together included the school superintendent, members of Central High School’s printing department and teachers of journalism, art, English, and science. Many quotes were included in the booklet, and praise from the participants was effusive:

  • “The entire program was a valuable learning experience. It was a source of great satisfaction to see so many of my former pupils leading useful lives in our community.”
  • “I was especially impressed with the way the employees were eager to give the visitors information concerning the work they were doing.”
  • “The trip through the plant was a very fine experience. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day from the standpoint of personal relations with plant managers and as a learning process for me.”

John M. Faris, president of the Muncie Chamber of Commerce said, “As a result of the many fine compliments paid to this program, the Chamber of Commerce is hoping to make it an annual event.” Did it become an annual event? I don’t know. I haven’t yet found any information about other Industry-Education Days. Anyone have a booklet from a subsequent year?

My other question–if all of the junior high and high school teachers were visiting industries, did the students get the day off? Hmmm.