by Alveena Salim
Trying to act professional, when parents are ranting has been my biggest challenge this year. I work in one of the most deprived boroughs in London and my training had not prepared me for psychotic parents.
I smile, take on board what they say, promise to pass on the message/see what I can do. At other times, when I wish they’d shut them up I tell them to go and make an official complaint about me to the head teacher …cos 99% of the time, the issues they raise are unnecessary.
I’m not one to give lip back. However, I wish they’d realise themselves how silly their complaints are.
I was seeing off my class at the end of the day and a parent started ranting (I’ve never met her before – usually someone else picks her kid up) – she assumed I was a student on work experience and wanted me to pass on a message to Miss Slim. She was angry cos her kid was dopey enough to come home in someone else’s underwear after swimming the other day (…so does she want me to check children’s underwear after they’ve got changed to make sure they’re wearing the right ones?). I knew I wasn’t going to see her again, so I promised to pass on the message to Ms Slim.
I had another ranting at me over the fact that she had to pay £11 for an upcoming school trip – she told me that I was trying to scam money of poor parents. I had to assure her that trip money doesn’t pay my wages..she wasn’t satisfied with my answer so I told her to make a complaint.
One parent was angry about the fact that her child is never nominated for the Roll of Honour or achievement assembly. She accused me of unfair discrimination on the basis of his colour. Truth is, I really do like her child even though he’s very naughty. I told her to make a complaint about me to the deputy head teacher (my head is an African Caribbean lady and I know that she personally dislikes this particular child)
Another parent accused me of “coming over here and taking his job” – I was naïve enough to ask him if he had also applied for this position.
Another parent was angry over the fact that boys and girls go swimming together…and as I Muslim I should preserve his daughters honour – his daughter is 5 years old.
One parent was angry over the fact that their child doesn’t go to the toilet enough during the day – and what am I supposed to do about that?
Another parent wasn’t happy about the fact that his child didn’t finish her pack lunch – so does he want me to spoon feed her?
Come to think of it, my parents weren’t any different…my dad walked into my school once and yelled at the deputy head for confiscating my jacket. It didn’t matter that I had broken school rules by wearing a denim jacket that was clearly not school uniform.
He also was ready to fight with teachers who had the nerve to put me in detention. Fortunately, I got through high school without getting a detention.
Heck, he still gets angry with senior management when my head teacher expects me to stay in till 7pm a couple of times year for Parents Evening.
I just hope I’m a relatively ‘normal parent’ when I grow up.