My worst parent - I was always 'Geoff' to Mrs S

29th October 2010 at 01:00

The only positive thing I have to say about Mrs Smith is that she was easy to spot from a distance and this sometimes gave me a fair chance at hiding from her in the infant stock cupboard.

From where I stood, on a stool behind a pile of unironed clothing, she looked a bit like veteran DJ Jimmy Savile. This, combined with absolutely no sense of personal space, dubious personal hygiene and her bizarre badgering of staff made her a legend among our teachers.

Mrs Smith wanted a "quick chat" about her son, Jack, every single day. More often than not, these discussions were intense, confrontational and strange.

Once, she accosted me after school wanting to know why I had allowed Jack to lose a button off his shirt. Another time it was apparently my fault that it had rained on the school trip because the destination I had chosen "had a bad karma". Another chat contained the invaluable information that Jack was allergic to squirrels and should not go near one, nor be fed meat from one.

She always called me "Geoff", despite my repeated requests that she use my surname and the fact my name is Michael.

Ultimately, I had to ban Mrs Smith from my classroom unless she had a prior appointment. The final straw had been a lengthy series of discussions as to whether Cambridge University would accept Jack if he continued to bite his nails. Jack was six years old.

After I finished teaching Jack, I was relieved that I had little to do with Mrs Smith. After a very successful time at our primary school, Jack sailed through his secondary education and the last I heard of him was that he was studying psychology at Oxford, not Cambridge.

The writer is a teacher in Bolton. Send your worst parent stories to and you could earn #163;50 in MS vouchers.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today