"Character Building" by Rachel Bentham
Melinda’s dad didn’t usually attend parents’ evening, so she was pleased when he said he would. When he turned up straight from work, still wearing his plumber’s overalls, Melinda knew better than to remonstrate. Together, they entered the main hall, and approached one of the many teachers seated behind a table.
‘Where can I find Mrs Ravenscroft, please?’
The teacher took in his dirty overalls without a flicker.
‘Over there,’ he waved his hand, ‘in the large half of the hall.’
Melinda’s dad looked perturbed. He leaned forward – never a good sign, in Melinda’s experience.
‘Excuse me, but what subject do you teach?’
‘Maths.’ The teacher smiled. He did look the tiniest bit smug.
‘Large – half?’ Melinda’s dad looked around the hall. ‘Large. Half.’ His meaty hands described a line and bisected it. ‘Large? Half?’
‘Large – HALF?’
The hall grew quieter. He just kept going.
Melinda compressed into a small, inanimate object made of flint.