Assignment #2 has passed from the rough draft stage to a more complete story. I'm now taking some deep, cleansing breaths.
It always exhilarates me to finish a story that I'm pleased with. This one pleases me because it seems to line up with Aristotle's ideas about fiction, as expressed in his Poetics. He thought the climax should be a reversal for the protagonist, based on "hamartia," which recent scholars have interpreted as "a [metaphorical or literal] mistake in identity." In my story, the 11-year old boy protagonist mistakes a grief- and worry-stricken teacher for an "old meanie," based on her facial expression. At the climax, he sees her for who she really is and learns a valuable lesson. See Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway, for an excellent discussion of "hamartia" in the fairy tale, "Cinderella."