Passing my colleague's classroom I could see that his lesson was being disrupted by a difficult student. As his subject leader I suggested that he let the Year 7 boy sit in my office for a few minutes in order for him to reflect on his behaviour. Door wedged open, I sat in with the terror called Sean.
I decided to let him cool down before any discussion and continued to mark my books. However, Sean forgot that teachers have eyes in the back of their heads, and in my peripheral vision I saw him put a mini stapler and two fancy erasers into his pocket.
Fast forward to his dad, my worst parent. After my confrontation with Sean, his dad was duly invited to meet me.
"Let me make some notes," he suggested, and asked to borrow my classic sterling silver pen with which I had been presented for 25 years of teaching. Quite impressed at an unusual request, I readily obliged. You've guessed it: distracted by his cool chat I forgot to request the return of my precious pen and off it went in his trouser pocket.
Maddened by the event, I was ready for Sean's dad at the next Year 7 parents' evening. Biro ready for his notes, I beamed a welcome that came from my lips but not my eyes. "Sit down, please," I tried to disguise my bark.
I told him about more of Sean's misdemeanours, trying to be educationally correct by peppering them with some good points. How could I professionally phrase, "Well he hasn't nicked much lately"? "Things seem to be going well then," his dad said nonchalantly.
Raising himself up to leave he winked at me just before he helped himself to the two chocolate digestives which a prefect had just placed on my desk for me with a welcome brew. The steam wasn't just coming from my mug of tea.
The writer is a secondary school teacher.