My worst parent - Row over head's son was bad call

28th May 2010 at 01:00

As an eager new teacher I was determined to deal with any problem pupils straight away, using what I was led to believe was the number one tool: parental support. So when a relatively hardworking pupil called Neil came without a pen for the second lesson in a row, I thought I had better nip the problem in the bud before it got any worse.

My thinking was that if I dealt with the fairly minor issues in a tough way, this would then prevent any major issues occurring in the future. Here was my chance to show that I meant business.

I phoned the number on our system for Neil's parents, which turned out to be a school where his mother worked. I asked to speak to her, but the receptionist was very reluctant to put me through. It was only when I explained that it was with regard to her son that she put me on hold to check with another colleague. Eventually she agreed to bring Neil's mother to the phone.

Using my most professional voice, I explained who I was and said that Neil had not been bringing writing equipment to school. I was halfway through explaining why being equipped for learning is important at our school when Neil's mum interrupted me.

She was the headteacher at her school and I had called her out of a meeting with the Ofsted inspectors. She really couldn't speak to me about such trivial issues. Then she hung up.

Some people say that doctors make the worst patients and I have heard others say teachers make the worst parents as far as schools are concerned. But this was an exception and I was prepared to let Neil's mother off.

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

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