Andrew would have been proud

“I can’t hear you!” the teacher boomed.

The little voice tried again but was barely a whisper.

“Speak up child!” At six-foot-six, 4c class tutor Peter Clarke towered over Matthew Long and the poor boy opened and closed his mouth like a goldfish struggling for air.

206 school boy 672205Matt was built like a twig and Peter Clarke thought it amazing how he had the strength to stand as he clearly didn’t have the strength to speak. “Confidence, child! Shoulders back, head up and project your voice.”

The little boy looked lost. Matt was only seven and had always been terrified of speaking out in class, although less nervous with his previous teacher, Mrs Strickland, who had taken him under her wing. Mr Clarke reminded him of the giant in Jack & The Beanstalk.

Matt’s dad never listened to him as he built his model planes, and his mum was too busy with baby Beth. Emma, his 16-year-old stepsister was ‘in love’ so on the rare occasion that she was at home, she’d be chatting on her mobile to, or about, Simon at every opportunity.

Matt spent a lot of his free time writing about wild adventures, through the eyes of a boy called Andrew. He remembered a story he’d written a long time ago about Andrew overcoming his shyness and becoming Prime Minister!

Shaking a little, Matt stood up. Doing as Mr Clarke said, he slowly lifted his chin, pulled his shoulders blades together and in a loud clear voice, read out the adventures he’d had ‘on my summer holidays’ (very little of which was actually true as he hadn’t done much at all).

Part-way through, he looked over at Mr Clarke and saw that he did actually know how to smile.

When Matt finished reading out his story, a fellow student started clapping, followed by another, until the whole class was cheering.

Matt dropped his head in embarrassment, hiding a huge smile and shining blue eyes. Andrew would have been proud!


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