HELLERTOWN, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. – What if someone offered you a month off from school?
Sounds really fun, right?
But let me just tell you that you might change your mind when you hear about what happened to me and the rest of the 1,400 students of Saucon Valley school district.
Our teachers went on strike in the middle of October and we’ve all been out of school ever since.
You may have heard about it already. The strike has been on the television news and in the newspaper. Or you could have heard of it from your friend’s cousin’s cousin’s friend, or maybe you’re just hearing about it now.
I bet you have no idea what it’s like.
At first, my friends and I loved the idea of not having school for a month. We thought we were going to have sleepovers and lemonade stands when it was hot outside and hot chocolate stands when the weather got cold.
We thought we were going to go to zoos, go ice skating, go to parks and go rock climbing. We planned trips to Dorney Park, a nearby amusement park and an indoor waterpark, too. I thought my family was going to the beach and to New York City.
We thought it was going to be a very fun month without school.
We thought wrong.
Some people from other schools have asked me if I like the strike and I tell them it’s not as fun as they think it is.
At first, staying home is like the first day of school – exciting and different. But then, it’s really kind of boring.
After a long, busy day in school, I look forward to going home and having a snack, resting and watching TV. But now that we don’t have school, I have nothing to look forward to because that’s all I do.
Actually, I look forward to having school and seeing my friends. My mom and dad are busy, so no one can take me to the places where I want to go. I’m stuck at home, with nothing to do.
The law says the strike can’t last more than 20 days, so we’ll be back in school by the middle of November. But then we’ll be stuck there forever, without our usual holiday breaks.
At Thanksgiving, we won’t be able to travel far away because we only get one day off. The Friday after Thanksgiving, we’ll be stuffed back into our desks, taking tests and studying, while kids in other towns are lying around at home, feeling fat and happy.
On Christmas Eve, we’ll be in school all day and I won’t be able to watch the Christmas movies and have a big dinner that my family enjoys on that day each year. Then, when other kids are sledding and skiing during Christmas break, we’ll be staring out the school windows at the snow.
We won’t have any spring break, either, not even one day.
When summer comes and other kids are out of school, enjoying life on the beach or at the pool, kids in Hellertown will still be sweating over final exams and cleaning out our desks and lockers.
Our classes won’t be over until the end of June – about two weeks longer than usual.
So next time you’re in class and bored out of your mind, just remember what I learned from the teachers’ strike – school isn’t as bad as you think.
Grace Middleton is a Junior Reporter for Youth Journalism International. The union and the school district settled the strike before the legal deadline. Middleton and her fellow students went back to school October 30, after missing 12 days of school.