September 19, 2012
The Chicago Teachers Union voted Tuesday evening to suspend the city’s first teacher strike in 25 years, returning more than 350,000 students to the classroom on Wednesday.
Three Mash reporters who attend CPS schools and are headed back to class weighed in below with their feelings about the strike being over.
Ah, school… though it’s a relief to get back to being educated, this past week and a half has allowed me to search the depths of my soul for sources of entertainment after clearing my DVR and finishing my common application for college. I can now say I’ve successfully applied for 17 college scholarships and had one failed attempt to turn my hair navy blue with a mixture of vinegar, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade Kool-Aid and hair conditioner. The strike did not turn out to be as detrimental to my college application process as I feared. As a result of the amazing support of the Boeing Scholars Program, through which I applied for four colleges for a Chicago Scholars admissions forum and college workshops offered by the University of Chicago for CPS students, I’m feeling ready to get back to my last year of high school and go have lunch with my counselor.
This past week and a half have been some of the most meaningful and enriching experiences I’ve had. While some of my friends wasted their days off with rather frivolous activities, I was picketing and marching with my teachers. I did this because I supported their message—that students are more than test scores, that a longer day should mean more pay, and that there’s only so much teachers can do for students with large classes and without proper resources. While the teachers accomplished some of their goals in striking, some necessary educational reforms were left out for the sake of compromise. However, this agreement is a step in the right direction to improve Chicago’s public schools and hopefully the long-term results will be well-worth these days of absence from the classroom. The strike has been a small part of a larger movement to fix public education—a movement I’m glad I took part in.
STRIKE OVER. HAVE TO DO HOMEWORK. HURRY! HOW DO YOU DO THIS MATH? WHAT WAS THE ENGLISH ESSAY PROMPT? PANIC. PANIC. PANIC. These are the frantic thoughts dashing through every CPS student’s mind after it was announced the strike was over. After more than a week off of school due to the strike, many have still not completed their homework and have even forgotten how to do it! I am no exception. But with the hyperventilating also comes intense relief. We finally get to go back to school! We can see our new teachers! We can meet up with our old friends! We can at last get back on track for college! YES! Even though I have to write an essay due tomorrow, I’m still extraordinarily excited for the second first day of school.
>> How do you feel now that the strike is over? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @mashchicago to let us know.
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