My worst parent - All action, no attention

8th May 2009 at 01:00

I rang the bell of a detached house with two smart cars on the driveway. An attractive, blonde-haired woman answered. I introduced myself as the tutor and she invited me in.

She told me that Jamie was an intelligent boy, but rather lazy, "a bit like his father". I heard how he was good at mathematics, but not too hot on English. Apparently he finds it boring and doesn't see the point. Jamie's mum asked me to make him work hard and give him lots of homework.

I was then introduced to Adam, "the better half". "Hi mate, how you doing? You going to help my son?" asked Adam. "What are your qualifications? You sound expensive. I suppose you'll want paying - how much do you charge an hour? I trust you are going to declare it."

Why did I have a bad feeling about all this? Then the dog came in. "Timmy, get down, she won't bite you. Timmy! Get down now, leave Joshua alone. Timmy! I hope those aren't new trousers. I'm so sorry. I'll wash them for you."

Ten minutes later and I still hadn't met Jamie. The iron was steaming over, the TV was blaring, the mutt had been muzzled and the mother had disappeared. I was left alone.

"Hi, I'm Jamie. I hate English, but I love maths," piped up a little voice. "That's funny," I replied: "I hate maths and love English."

"Did you meet my folks?" he asked. I smiled. Something told me this was the most attention he'd received in a long time.

The writer is a study skills adviser.

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