I was a newly appointed teacher in a nice village school. I had gone there 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 were 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 them, 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, a parent governor, he had one hell of a lot of leverage. And I was the lucky person who had his child in my class.
He took exception to my dress code, my 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 back 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 feelings of inadequacy soon became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Colleagues tried to cheer me up, but the atmosphere was hardly conducive to peer support because everyone seemed to know which side their bread was buttered.
After two terms of this 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 your worst parent stories to email@example.com and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.