"They took our fingerprints before the meeting began.
"We handed over our name, rank and education-level forms, submitted to the why-do-I-feel-like-a-criminal process of being fingerprinted, and then sat down to await training.
"In three hours we knew all they were going to tell us. We were given name tags with photo IDs, handbooks and parking stickers, and released.
"We were substitute teachers.
"Nobody interviewed us to see if we could speak English or liked kids or could find a classroom using a map of the school.
"Nobody asked us why we wanted to put ourselves through what was generally and accurately understood to be an ordeal.
"Nobody made little notations on a personnel page about our grooming, our enthusiasm, or how capable or resilient we appeared to be.
"Nobody even asked us what they asked my son when he applied to bag groceries: What are your short- and long-term goals? When were you disappointed in yourself? What do you do when you get angry? What compliment have you received recently?
"If we didn't have a criminal record and did have a high school diploma, we were in.
"Good enough to cover for a sick or vacationing certified teacher. Good enough to face a classroom of 30-plus seventh graders six times in one day. Good enough to teach calculus one day and German the next. Good enough to spend six weeks with behaviorally challenged kids or two weeks teaching cooking skills to guys who thinks parsley looks a lot like weed."