I was a newly appointed teacher in a nice village school. I came from a tough inner-city institution where you had to get in the habit of looking over your shoulder. When I looked at the bucolic charms of my new place I thought I was in heaven.
Appearances, of course, can be deceptive. My class seemed a nice bunch, the staff seemed very friendly and the environment was lovely. Everything was set fair for an enjoyable stay. But I hadn't reckoned on the PFH (parent from hell).
Villages can be very small places, especially when there are big egos to fit in it, and egos didn't come much bigger than his. A self-made businessman who worshipped his maker, Mr PFH made it his business to be in everyone else's business. As he basically bankrolled the PTA, was a local councillor and also, most crucially, the parent governor, he had a lot of leverage. And I was the lucky person who had his child in my class.
He took exception to my dress code, accent, motorbike and teaching style. His lad would go home every day and report my crimes against humanity (probably under duress) and these would be relayed to the head, who would then ask for a "chat". These chats became as much a daily ritual as brushing my teeth. I felt that I was under a magnifying glass. It didn't take long for me to lose confidence and my inadequacy soon became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
After two terms, I moved on, deciding to return to the relative comfort of the high crime, socially deprived and gloriously anonymous inner city. The grass (or concrete, in this case) really is greener on the other side.
The writer is a teacher in Portsmouth. Send in your worst parent stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.