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.
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