Deluded parents bound for Room 101

WHAT do teachers want banished to Room 101, the room which contains the worst thing in the world?

It is not targets, planning or marking which the hard-pressed profession loathes most, it is the novelty pen.

Room 101, a form of torture in George Orwell's novel 1984 and now a gameshow, has seen its share of controversial items. Anne Robinson nominated the Welsh, provoking outrage and a police investigation under the Race Relations Act.

But contributors to The TES website have far more prosaic concerns: scented and gel pens, jammed photocopiers, or the beep of a mobile phone receiving a text message when they are trying to teach.

Parents also figure high on the list, particularly the "blinkered, complacent and deluded" type. One wrote: "Parents who think they own you, who are rudeabusivetrust stupid lies their offspring tell."

One writer said: "Photocopiers are the bane of my life. I finally work out how to make two-sided copies and then the things don't work."

Pupils and the things they say are another source of irritation, from the fashionably bored "Whatever", "What's the point?" or "Don't stress" to the constant interest in whether their teachers are married.

Several teachers nominate colleagues who spend their lunchtimes "slagging off" pupils in the staffroom - along with those who talk about soft furnishings, football or BBC Radio 4's The Archers.

But there is at least one contribution that will ring true for teachers and children alike: Back to School signs displayed in shops on the first week of the summer holidays.

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