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My worst parent - A lesson in survival at sea

At last, the long-awaited summer holidays have arrived. The turquoise sea and the white beaches promised to us for so long by the glossy pages of the holiday brochure were about to become reality. I was leaving behind all the burdens of the exam term as our cruise ship set sail. Peace at last!

"Hiya Miss." I froze. My worst nightmare. It must have happened to other teachers, but to be trapped at sea with one of the most annoying Year 9s seemed intolerable.

Thankfully, Lisa seemed to be of like mind after her initial cheery greeting. I could read embarrassment all over her face.

Sadly, her mother had other ideas. She saw it as a chance to get in with a teacher, so she tottered after us wherever we went.

"Would you mind if we joined you?" she said, at the first evening meal. "I've saved you a sun bed by the pool," she called out on the first day at sea. "Do you want to challenge us at table tennis?" she asked, after I had spent three hours sitting next to her, planning my excuses for anything else she could suggest.

Suddenly my cabin seemed very appealing - thankfully we had splashed out on a balcony. The service desk were very understanding, and let me know which excursions Lisa's family were on. I soon became a bit of a Sherlock Holmes - dodging lifts she was in, finding a pool in which she wasn't bathing. My favourite Gloria Gaynor song, I Will Survive, suddenly took on a whole new meaning.

Thirteen days later, when we disembarked, I think the message had finally got through her incredibly thick skin. I overheard her complaining to Lisa: "Are all your teachers as stuck up as her?"

The writer is a secondary school teacher in North Yorkshire. Send your worst parent stories to and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.

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