Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Hell Hath No Fury like a Mum in a Faux Fur Hood

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Hell Hath No Fury like a Mum in a Faux Fur Hood

Article excerpt

As a teacher-parent consultation, it was a nightmare - but for some people, fighting is the only way they know

Bang! bang! It's cold outside but I'm not letting her in. She's early and I need to do my breathing exercises first. In through the nose then slowly out through the mouth ... and repeat. Bang! Bang! She can wait out there until my heart rate slows, and the frenzied clamour of the day gives way to calmness. I just need two minutes to find and release the inner airbag of tranquillity that will absorb all fear ... BANG! BANG! BANG! On second thoughts, I'll let her in early.

They say it's the size of the fight in the dog that counts. Tiffany's mum might be small but she embodies the predatory aggression of a pack of urban hyenas roaming a rundown shopping centre after dark.

Everything about her is a threat. Her thin frame sheathed in a metallic-blue hooded coat with a faux fur trim is a threat. Her chapped hands and her pinched face studded with piercings are a threat. She wears the tattoos on her neck like old battle scars.

I flash her my most disarming smile. It's the one I used on Mrs Eddison after I forgot to mention that I was going to the Steel City Beer and Cider Festival. It didn't work then and it's not working now. The face glowering back at me reminds me of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I'm seeing Tiffany's future and it's showing significant signs of wear and tear.

Experience tells me that it's best to begin a difficult parent-teacher consultation by hiding some of the negatives under a carpet of positives. …

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