Crackpots and Robin

16th November 2007 at 00:00
As a teacher, you encourage individuality and self-expression, but surely there are limits? Not according to parents, learns Kate.Dear Bex,

The hall stinks of sweat, cheap aftershave and fear, which can only mean one thing: it's Year 7 parents' evening. Two hours of insincere grinning and a coffee-induced whiteout later and I'm starting to flag. Then panic strikes. I spot the school weirdo's parents strolling towards me.

"Well what can I say ... " I begin as they sit down. "Robin's a very unique child ... ".

"We try to encourage him to be creative," grins his mum, nodding manically.

"I just wonder if letting him come to school in a bicorn admiral's hat is a step too far - you know how cruel kids can be."

"But he's doing it to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar," pipes his dad, as though this is the most normal thing in the world.

"Then there's his new nickname ... ".

"We thought it would help him fit in."

"The Grand Invincible One ... not exactly catchy is it? And his attitude to work isn't brilliant either."

"But he's so clever."

"That's the problem. The last essay I set him he responded with a single sentence scrawled on a sheet of toilet paper: 'You have a brain the size of a pea and I despise you.' It's original but it's hardly going to impress an examiner. And then there's the bullying ... ".

"But we've always told him to answer back."

"Yes, but the fact he does so in rhyming Latin couplets isn't helping anyone, to be honest."

"Well, I'm not sure what you want us to do."

"I'll tell you what. I'll put him on the gifted and talented register."

The tweed-clad zombies smile madly. Little do they know GT kids have to do special English classes once a week, meaning I'll hardly see the bugger until Easter.

Cunning, aren't I?

Love Kate x.

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