Growing up as a stuttering child , sometimes normal schooling activities have a way of coming back to haunt you for a long time. This is one of my school stories.

When I was in 4th form in New Zealand (Year 11 I think), I had one of the worst / best days of my life. Our class was reading Shakespeare, and each person was randomly chosen by the teacher to read a part out of the book for 15-30 minutes. As a stutterer with an agonizing fear of public speaking , I simply died each and every time the teacher was choosing someone new for a part. All I could think about was how painful and long these 30 minutes of hell would be for someone like me that would struggle with each and every word when put in front of a crowd. I could not picture anything more painful. This slow torture went on for a grueling 3 1-hour periods of English over 3 days. It was all I could think about, even during other subjects and at home. I had to take hot baths just to tie the tension building up in my shoulders and neck. There seemed to be no escaping it.

Slowly we were getting through the class one by one, each time knowing that my turn was drawing nearer. Then something strange happened. The teacher stood up and asked if everyone had read. Nobody replied, so we moved on to a new English topic. My dreaded nightmare was over. I could not believe it. For days / weeks / months afterwards I could feel myself getting torn apart by the most powerful yet mixed emotions I had ever felt. I had such euphoria that I did not have to embarrass myself with the longest 30 minutes of my life, and at the same time I have never felt so excluded and abnormal at the same time. Was it so painful to watch me struggle that the teacher would rather leave me out? If it was an intentional decision on his part, I'm sure he did it to protect me, but was sacrificing my education and school experiences the answer. I know I am more than probably over-reading ever aspect of the situation, but when emotions are so high, logic very rarely plays a part. It is now well over 20 years later, and I still remember that week like it was yesterday.

I know there is a million different lessons I could learn from it, but the part that sticks with me is the powerful mixed emotions. Sometimes you are harmed if you do and damaged if you do not. Please from this what you wish. I just wanted to share my story.