Most people want to like their colleagues, whatever their job. In teaching, it is almost vital. I liked most of the staff I worked with and had a great deal of respect for most. But Eleanor and I didn't see eye to eye. Her son, who happened to be in my third-year class, was a spoilt, arrogant brat. He was cheeky and lazy and had a smirk your hand really had an urge to wipe off.
Teaching a colleague's children is always hard. Do you try to be professional and wait for parents' nights? Or do you try to sort out problems early? It turns out that trying to sort out his problems early was a big error of judgment. In criticising her little princeling, I was opening up my entire life to vitriol. She openly attacked my teaching ability and my personal life. Other staff began to look embarrassed when I came into the room, and although they knew what he was like it was obvious that Eleanor had more clout than me.
Before the situation could come to a head, I had to leave school after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. And when I somewhat shakily returned a year later, Eleanor was the first to welcome me back. Her son had been packed off to the fee-paying school up the road. She didn't exactly apologise, but did tell me he had preferred me to the supply teacher who took over.
He hated the new school, made few friends and certainly didn't impress the staff. His exam results were well below our predictions. And me? Being ill had helped put things in perspective. But I think that if a worst parent crops up among my colleagues again, I would try to nip it in the bud from the start.
The writer is a teacher in Angus. Send your worst parent stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could win #163;50 in MS vouchers.