My worst parent - My dad's the scariest by far

11th March 2011 at 00:00

In almost every teacher's career, a point will come when a recalcitrant pupil will hurl the threat: "I'll get my dad on to you." This has happened to me on two or three occasions and each time I have dealt with it in a similar fashion.

When the pupil makes the threat, I burst into brittle, mirthless laughter. This of course evokes the response: "What you laughing at?" I express, in tones that could cut glass and freeze rivers, my incredulity at the thought of their father "getting on" to me, which I think means either intimidate me with their bulk or actually hit me. I remind them that although I'm a schoolteacher, I was born in the normal manner to two parents - one of which happens to be my dad.

A small aside here, my father is just the scariest dad any teacher is likely to meet. In his line of work, he regularly consulted with a fleet of lawyers and is well used to confrontation. He is a bit like Che Guevara, but less cuddly and less asthmatic.

I remember him going into my school - a 1960s girls' grammar full of wannabe Jean Brodies. We never had to stay long at parents' evenings as all my teachers went into sharp reverse at the sight of him - terrified that he might hunt them down, force them to chant the government's education policy off by heart and fix them with a metaphorical poison dart if they got it wrong.

So when I'm threatened this way by pupils, I simply state that my father is just about the scariest dad anyone is likely to meet and refer darkly to the fact that he is capable of responding unconventionally to threats to his children.

So far this has proved sufficient to deter belligerent fathers from seeking me out. My father's powers of emotional unarmed combat remain undimmed but I'm afraid he is not available for hire as he is now 100 years old.

The writer works in a school in Scotland.

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