My worst parent - Know-it-all dad gave me a shock

16th July 2010 at 01:00

It was my first parents' evening in the spring term during my PGCE year. Understandably, I was nervous and excited. I had carefully chosen "the jacket" and it felt good to be given a chance to talk to parents. I was just hoping that they would see me as a real teacher and that none of the parents would think of me as "only practising".

Since it was in the era of Year 9 Sats, lots of parents asked me about the revision run-up. On the whole, I was able to answer their questions and confirm that we were working hard. Towards the end of the evening, a father came to speak to me and asked how James was doing on the physics revision. I answered that revision lessons were proving to be useful and that James was growing in confidence.

This didn't totally satisfy "Dad-of-James". He leaned back, narrowed his eyes and continued: "Are you doing plenty of question practice on electrostatic charge?" I was not so impressed with such detailed interest - irritated would be a better description of my feelings - but I was professional and answered sincerely that I would cover this in the remaining revision time.

I continued: "Of course, past papers have few examples of questions on this specific subject, but I have other sources of good questions."

Dad-of-James rose to leave at this point. He smiled mock-patiently and passed on his words of wisdom: "Sats, May 1996, page 3, question 4. You will find that it's on the build-up of static on handrails in shops. I think that may help you - I wrote that question."

The author is a science teacher in Yorkshire.

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