Correspondence

Trick or Treat?

During my first semester as a graduate teaching assistant, I was fired from my job at a coffee shop for mv inability to act phony. Anyway, this is what I suspected my particularly phony employer meant by a "bad attitude." I quickly found that, despite the incredibly high taxes in Illinois, my state-university stipend was slightly less than adequate. I thought about the three long and tedious years I had spent as an undergraduate and decided that I should perhaps do something that required a bachelor's degree so I wouldn't feel that time had been wasted. I had substitute-taught at my old high school before, but I wanted more steady employment than that institution could offer me.

Readers of Chronicles are familiar with the chaos that prevails in the Rockford public schools, all 48 of which are combined into one district, the infamous 205, whose numerous yellow buses plague early-morning motorists in Rockford. Not having had any personal experience with this monstrosity, thanks to my excellent and very discerning parents, who sent me to a private school, I was interested to see whether all those Rockford Files were really true. I have rarely found the pursuit of knowledge to be so painful.

My first step in the process was to obtain a copy of the 20-page application, complete with criminal-background survey and the requirement of a physical if I had not had one in the last 90 days. I thought...

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