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My Year As a Teacher
Part 1

Sometime in February, it all started caving in on me.

I was scrambling to get my students ready for the district writing test, but many still were having problems just writing a coherent sentence, let alone an essay. And I wasn't sleeping very well, because every night I was having the same nightmare, over and over -- the naked-in-front-of-the-students dream.

Then, around Valentine's Day, the principal called me into her office.

She had a note to show me. One of the janitors had found it in another of the seventh-grade classrooms.

The page, which had been ripped jaggedly from a spiral notebook and viciously crumpled, had one word written on the first five lines: Kill . . . Kill . . . Kill . . . On the next 17 lines, a second word was added: Kill.. . . Slonaker. Kill . . . Slonaker. Kill . . . Slonaker. The same words, over and over.

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