Sept/Oct 2020 • Vol. XLII No. 5 FictionSeptember 1, 2020 |

Bad Faith

In the evenings, Ava Stromm pours herself two glasses of wine, corking the rest right away to avoid temptation, and sits at her low coffee table devising zingy plenaries for Modern American Literature and Writing for the Screen, her two electives this year. She has a reputation now — the cool teacher, the young one who doesn’t mind letting the conversation drift — and though she despises the notion that she might have struggled for it in ways Mr. D’Amico (Luca) never has, everyone knows that being the cool teacher is the privilege of the men. Last week, at the annual teachers’ awards, fourteen men were honored with made-up prizes like “The Bard,” “Mr. AP Prep,” and “Multivariable Mike,” while two grandmother-types, both department heads, were given long hugs by sweaty boys on student council and honored with “Sweetest Lady” and “Mom Away from Mom.” Not that Ms. Stromm wants an award. She just craves a modicum of fairness, which she admits is a

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