“We’re losing a lot of kids and a lot of teachers because we still view challenging kids the wrong way and handle them in ways that don’t address their true difficulties. It’s an exercise in frustration for everyone involves, and it’s time to get off the treadmill.” - Lost At School, Chapter 01

Is "get off the treadmill" a slang? What does treadmill here figuratively mean "monotonous task"?


  • What do you do on a treadmill? Think about it, you slog away but you don't get anywhere. – Spagirl Sep 2 '16 at 6:18

There were treadmills in 19th century Britsh prisons which convicts sentenced to 'hard labour' were forced to work for hours on end. What, perhaps, made this punishment worse was that the mills didn't do any useful work, they just stirred piles of broken stone. I believe that this is the origin of the use of 'treadmill' to mean a disheartening, laborious and apparently pointless experience.

  • 1
    That's an interesting answer. Please post some links to bolster the assertion. – Lawrence Sep 2 '16 at 9:43
  • Mea Culpa, the punitive stone-churning device was "the crank", the treadmills did useful work like grinding corn or pumping water but the treadmill was invented as a punitive device. See these sites: mentalfloss.com/article/12275/treadmill-originated-prisons – BoldBen Sep 2 '16 at 11:58
  • Also see vcp.e2bn.org/justice/… also lincolncastle.com/content/victorian-prison and flickr.com/photos/lincolnian/2732197356 for an example of the effects of the 'Separate System' – BoldBen Sep 2 '16 at 12:14
  • Thanks for the links. Those screws cast the daily grind in a different light. By the way, comments are considered ephemeral on this site, and they are sometimes deleted without notice. Questions and answers are treated with more dignity, so it's encouraged to edit useful information into the post itself. – Lawrence Sep 2 '16 at 14:24
  • With photos, that is so much easier to understand! Thanks y'all for the answers! – Lulu Cai loo Sep 2 '16 at 16:07

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