My worst parent - Angry dad was well stitched up

23rd April 2010 at 01:00

If this happened to me now I would refuse, but when you are an NQT on a one-year contract that you hope will be extended, there are times when you grit your teeth and say, "OK!"

Although I am a history teacher, I was teaching textiles at the time - not a subject I had much knowledge of or confidence in, but I was learning very rapidly on the job. On this occasion, I was in the midst of a textiles practical, struggling to re-thread the overlocker and hoping that Philip was not going to try to cut through the cord of the iron that Stephen was using, as he had the week before.

Into the melee came the school secretary with Mr Jackson, the father of a Year 7 pupil. The previous night, he had attended parents' evening and had to wait 20 minutes to see me, despite the appointment system. Most parents take such delays in their stride, but not Mr Jackson. He had been unable to contain himself, opening our discussion about his son with a tirade about the useless procedure and inefficiency in the school.

My first thought on seeing him again so soon was that perhaps he had come to offer an apology. I was wrong. The secretary explained that Mr Jackson had come to do some work on the school's heating system and had managed to split his trousers. Since I was the textiles teacher, perhaps I could repair them. She steered Mr Jackson to the walk-in store cupboard, where he removed his trousers. She then handed them to me and I set about mending them as speedily and discreetly as possible.

There was no apology for his behaviour the evening before, but he said thanks and seemed humbled by my generosity. I only wish I had seen his face when he realised that I had sewn up his pockets.

The writer is a secondary teacher.

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