As form teacher to a band of unruly and unmotivated Year 10 boys, all condemned to C-band since arriving at the school in Year 7, I was always complaining about the lack of parental support. But one particular parents' evening completely changed my outlook.
There was usually a low turn-out and the parents who showed up usually left while loudly condemning the school as hopelessly ineffective at dealing with boys with "a bit of character". However, on meeting Jason's dad that night, marching into the school hall with Jason head down and pale as he followed several paces behind, I immediately recognised a different sort of parent.
As I launched into my list of moans about Jason, the very large and imposing father clouted his son for every complaint. As a young teacher, I squirmed at first with embarrassment at seeing a 14-year-old being whacked by his bullying father, but this soon turned to real alarm as the type of parent I had longed for began punching his son in full view of other students, parents and teachers, and would not stop until restrained.
A community police officer who had nipped in to school about another matter was called to sort out the luckily superficial injuries to Jason. The evening ended with ambulance sirens and a damning report in the local newspaper about the school that allowed parents to assault children in the school hall.
For me and my colleagues, reflection showed us instantly that this was the worst type of parent: someone who bullied and beat the self-confidence and enjoyment for life out of a teenager whose life chances were poor to begin with.
The writer is a secondary teacher in Derbyshire. Send your parent stories to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.