Don't do what I did - Near to school but far from an ideal home

12th June 2009 at 01:00

When I started teaching, a colleague took me to one side and asked where I lived. When I said some 15 miles away from the school, he breathed a sigh of relief, broke into a grin and said: "Good lad. Never live on the doorstep."

This was probably the best advice I ever received. Unfortunately I only realised this after I'd ignored it, and brought a house within the catchment area of my school. Smugly, I thought of no more commuting and getting to work within 10 minutes.

At first this was fine. Yes, I'd see pupils and parents in supermarkets, but the pupils often looked through me, as if I didn't or couldn't exist outside of the school.

Then the house next door went on the market. A family moved in, and soon I had the double-whammy: not only the neighbour from hell, but the parent from hell too.

The family was a lively one to say the least. The offspring who joined my class was extremely challenging. At least I know where he got it from; his parents were engaged in a 247 war with just about everyone - council, police and neighbours.

In their eyes, they were more sinned against than sinning. An all-night party at their place was fine, but a gathering of friends who might want to park their cars in the road was "out of order, mate".

Inevitably, any school-related issues generated by junior were the subject of fierce parental involvement as soon as they saw me. Never did such dysfunctional parents exhibit such interest in their offspring's education.

After one year, I gave up and moved. The journey to work was a longer one, but it gave me plenty of time to count my blessings and to remember the golden rule of my colleague, "never live on the doorstep".

Richard Lloyd teaches history at a comprehensive school in Portsmouth. Email your NQT experiences to features@tes.co.uk. Every one we publish will receive Pounds 50 in MS vouchers.

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