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I read a story this week about a woman who was the only English teacher in a small rural school. She described what she called “the mixed pleasure of teaching my own three sons.” They begged her not to call on them in class, use them as examples, or tell any family stories— rules to which their mom agreed.

On the first day of class, they would choose a seat in the far corner and refuse to make eye contact.

But she was a popular teacher, and the other students were eager to participate. As her sons began to see their mom through the eyes of others, they struggled to put together the image of their mom as, well – THEIR MOM!! – and their mom as a teacher who was well-liked and respected by their peers.

One day the oldest asked in puzzlement,...

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