The parents' evening was not looking good from the start. Clearly unimpressed with the tiny reception class chairs they had to sit on, or with having to wait, these parents were graven faced.
Before anything other than a small smile could be exchanged, the serious conversation (it was clearly never going to be light-hearted) began. Progress, achievement, targets, social skills and problems that their child was having were all thrashed out among the kiddy-sized cardboard village in the role-play corner.
That was when the parental demeanour (motionless until then) shifted slightly. There was a small grunt of acknowledgement and questions and comments of their own began flowing. What progress was their child making? No, not relative to the rest of the class but compared with expected national attainment levels?
If there were problems recognising and naming 3-D shapes, why hadn't they been involved in a single-conversation approach to school and parental communication? Why had the homework not been marked for the past three weeks? Don't think about using the snow as an excuse because that was six weeks ago.
The atmosphere was tense and there was not much that could be done other than to agree that communication would be improved and problems would be expressed clearly to avoid surprises, even if in written form.
These parents were the type who knew little about the classroom but clearly thought they knew a lot. Better to be a partner with them in improving learning and progress rather than defend our corner too much.
Oh dear. Parents who are teachers, too - they are the worst type. All I can say is, 'Sorry, Miss Smith, we will try not to be so difficult next time'.
The writer is an advanced skills teacher in Leicestershire. Send your worst parent stories to email@example.com and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.