Parents are sometimes a little too keen to show their appreciation of your efforts. While it is very nice for any parent to show you gratitude for helping their little darlings through the minefield of school, usually a bottle of wine or box of chocolates hits the spot. Not so with one parent of a particularly difficult Year 8 lad in my English class.
It began one parents' evening, although I didn't really pay a great deal of attention to it at the time. After explaining to one set of parents that I thought their son could do with improving his concentration, not disturbing the class as much and so on, they stood up to thank me for my time.
I offered my hand, which the mother shook, and turned towards the father. A firm handshake distracted me from his other hand which was now not just patting me on the shoulder but rubbing my upper back. I wasn't sure what to do but thankfully it was over as quickly as it had begun.
The next time I saw him was at a ski trip parents' meeting. Even though the father agreed that his son was not the best behaved pupil, he was pleased that I would be accompanying him on the ski trip. This time when he greeted me, the pat on the back was there again but much lower, uncomfortably lower.
In the end, I told the story to my head of department who, after laughing for an entire free period, decided I wouldn't have the son in my class next year to avoid the problem. In fact I'm pretty sure he moved into his class. Thankfully it was never mentioned again and the following parents' evening a wave in the father's direction sufficed.
The writer works as a supply teacher in Greater Manchester.