Diary - My worst parent - What you want to do is... go to hell

18th December 2009 at 00:00

There should be a yardstick for measuring the extent to which any given parent is your "worst"; a robust formula with valid weightings (for example 15 per cent for aggression, 3.2 per cent for bad breath), which you could apply to the shortlisted candidates for this dubious accolade.

But, alas, it's all far more subjective than that, and one teacher's worst parent might be others' OK parent. And that was certainly the case with one of my contenders, as most of my colleagues had no trouble with him.

He was a well-intentioned person in the sense that the phrase "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" could have been coined for him. He just got my goat in a way that my goat didn't like to be got.

You certainly couldn't fault him for effort either. He was always first to man the tombola and the positively Bransonesque when it came to selling tickets. But he would quite simply drive me mad. His stock phrase was "What you want to do is... " followed by some ludicrously impractical suggestion which I would have to douse with gallons of cold water. What I really wanted to do was something that I really couldn't share with him.

I came to dread any event for which he volunteered, which was, of course, all of them. I was never free from the "What you want to do is" phrase ringing in my ears.

It came to a head when I was feeling frazzled after producing the Christmas carol service. I was knackered, exhausted and spent. But it was a great success to just about everyone, other than guess who?

He loitered at the end and caught me. "It was quite good," he admitted reluctantly, "but what you should have done was... "

The sentence was never finished as, to my eternal shame, I cut him off mid-constructive criticism, and headed for the mulled wine and mince pies.

The writer is a retired teacher in West Sussex. Send your worst parent stories to features@tes.co.uk and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.

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