I erased the whiteboard after class, mortified but grateful I could at least turn my reddened face away. I didn’t even want to face the now empty chairs. Had I really just shown my 18-year-old students a photograph of me in my bathing suit? I was in first grade in the photo and it was a one piece and I was telling them a story about taking a reading class at—oh, never mind. I had only twenty minutes to change hues before a student conference.

She sat down next to me on my office’s couch and said, “My [peer response] group couldn’t believe it,” seeming to confirm my horror. “It was magical—the way you tied your story together like that. We were all like, ‘Wow, how did she do that?’”

I then helped her dig through her memories to find her literacy story—one that began with a very hungry caterpillar who made a magical transformation.

No longer red, I left the office sanguine.


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