“Not mine, not mine, not mine, but Mrs. Price is already turning to page thirty-two, and math problem number four.”

Mrs. Price seems incapable of imagining that she could be wrong in this situation. She seems to believe that she has solved the problem of the abandoned sweater, and she has moved on. By taking one student’s word over another, and ignoring the obvious upset she has caused, she has forgotten that children are impressionable, constantly learning from their interactions, and need to be treated with respect and care. Her failure to remember or imagine what it must be like for an eleven-year-old is actively harming Rachel.

“Except when math period ends Mrs. Price says loud and in front of everybody, ‘Now Rachel, that’s enough,’ because she sees I’ve shoved the red sweater to the tippy-tip corner of my desk...”

Instead of considering that Rachel is fighting back against the sweater because it is not hers, Mrs. Price doubles down on her insistence that Rachel wear the sweater. At this point, Mrs. Price cannot imagine that she is wrong, and the sweater is now a symbol of her authority and inherent correctness. She is irritated that Rachel is being insubordinate and refusing to submit to her instruction. Rather than absorbing further information about the state of her classroom, she has made up her mind and Rachel has become the problem.