My worst parent - More homework, please

5th June 2009 at 01:00

One of the hardest type of parents to deal with is one you work with. As a newly qualified teacher, I had the privilege to teach a delightful Year 9 girl in my mixed-ability English class. She never uttered a wrong word, her work was excellent and her contribution spot on. Only her mother didn't agree.

A few weeks into term, I was approached by my head of department to ask if I had been setting enough homework. Apparently the girl's mother, a science technician at the school, wasn't convinced her daughter was getting enough. But my records showed I had been following the homework timetable set by the school and the pupil's own exercise book bore this out. I thought I'd hear no more about it.

A few weeks later, however, I was collared again. The mother demanded that her daughter be moved to another class where she would receive more homework. I checked her homework diary to make sure she had been writing it down. I even set her extra homework. But when the same complaint came again, my head of department decided - probably to ease his own earache - that the pupil should move up a set.

Throughout all the complaints, and for the rest of my time in the school, the mother never again acknowledged me. I later learnt she had also complained about the amount of work her daughter was set in maths - only this time it was apparently too much.

The writer is a supply teacher in Greater Manchester.

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