One of the problems of working in international schools is that your clientele will include parents who simply do not want to be there - they will have been posted on a no or little-option basis by their companies.
Mrs X's dislike of her husband's latest posting was plain from the start. This was her second move in six months and nothing was right. "Maids" were appointed and sacked with breathtaking speed and the school was, of course, a disaster. Her children were late every morning because nobody had told her what time school started, and they were frequently on the end of loud and humiliating public tongue-lashings that upset and embarrassed our staff.
The children, I should point out, were both under seven. There were minor disputes over missing books, swimming arrangements and school visits.
But matters really came to a head when one day she berated a classroom assistant in front of the children and capped off the performance by shouting: "But it's not you I should be telling off, it's the class teacher." In Sir Galahad mode I swept to the defence of the classroom assistant and asked to see Mrs X in my office. It was a mistake. It was the last morning of term and the last thing I needed was a vicious tirade, but that is what I got. I barely got a word in for the next half hour as everything and everyone, especially the school, was the cause of her misfortunes.
It was a full-volume affair and was heard by most of the staff. After that there was only one place she could go. So, in the absence of other contenders, she got straight on to the governing body, where she continued to whinge for a further two years before mercifully moving on elsewhere.
The writer is a teacher in an international school.