My worst parent - Doting dad in thrall to his girl
It's like choosing your worst blind date. Is my worst parent Mr B, who accuses me of grabbing his son by the shoulder and digging my nails into his flesh through his shirt and winter-weight blazer?
"Nails?" I laugh down the phone as I look at my unmanicured hands. If only I had some nails, the allegation might have some substance. Then there is Mrs B (no relation) who, when I phone to complain about her son's disruptive behaviour, retorts that little Bobby (little "B") has complained that I constantly bully the (out of control) boys. But no, it is another Mr B who must qualify as the bete noire of parents.
Picture it: I am sitting, armed with written ammunition about his daughter's behaviour in class, when this Mr B sweeps into the chair opposite me, jumping a queue of waiting parents who are then treated to a loud diatribe: "It just won't do. Mollie-Jayne has not enjoyed English since primary school."
Hang on, Mr B, I try to say. I have only been teaching Mollie-Jayne for a term, and she has been in the school for more than three years. Left to her own devices, Mollie-Jayne would spend half the lesson preening in the mirror that lives in her school bag, and the other half casting furtive glances at the responsive boys in the class - and that is most of them. I suspect that when Daddy opened the letter I sent home about her behaviour in class, Mollie batted her eyelids at him. Poetry is not her first priority.
I try to explain this delicately to Mr B, but he chooses not to hear me. "She came into womanhood very young," he says quietly. Honey, you don't know the half of it, I think (gleefully), imagining the angst that his young Moll will cause him in the next few years as her "womanhood" becomes full blown.
The writer is a secondary English teacher.