"I wish the teachers (would) come back to work. The black children in the Washington area need the education to get a job."

Alphonso Harris, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Paul Junior High, wrote this essay yesterday in the only classroom that was using pencil and paper at his school. The Paul school is at Eighth and Oglethorpe streets NW, near the Silver Spring border.

Christine Moore, a parent who volunteered to help at the school, asked Alphonso and 25 other seventh-graders to write essays about their feelings of the teacher's strike.

"The D.C. Teachers have been striking for two days and that is two days of D.C. students' education gone. Instead of learning, we were playing all day which could have been done on our own time," 12-year-old Sylvia Davis wrote.

Lawrence Horne, 13, echoed that sentiment. He told Moore, "I'm not learning anything today." She responded by telling him he needed to work on writing essays.

While Lawrence thought about this, Darlene Davis handed in her essay. It read, "I think that the teachers are stricking for their shells and not for us... when there is a strick get in scool and do nothing. I wont to go home."

Mrs. Moore read one student's work out loud, turned, shook her head and said, "Now you see why we need teachers."