THERE’S one lurking in every school playground – THAT parent who marches into the classroom and confronts their child’s teacher when they don’t agree with something they do or say.
You can spot her a mile off. She’s the immaculate mum, a Queen Bee – the one who runs the PTA with an iron rod.
But it isn’t the Bee who causes us teachers the real strife but the interfering underlings who we label the Mum Mafia. The sort who terrify and intimidate other mums who they deem unworthy.
I’ve been a teacher for 27 years and you won’t believe how annoying they are. Here, I reveal their ‘sort’ and how they’re perceived in school.
You’ll know exactly who I mean…
EVERY SCHOOL HAS A QUEEN BEE
On inset days we go through a list of every child in the school – and those with a Mum Mafia parent are marked in red. Every year group has a Queen Bee and she is never a nice mum.
I’m a teacher & mums drive us crazy – each one has been given a secret nickname
I’m a school secretary – it’s hell after half-term, I blame the lazy parents
She’s inevitably grown up in the area and knows everyone from the local shop owner to the headteacher’s sister. She only surrounds herself with mums that she deems worthy and if you’re scruffy and chaotic she won’t look at you let alone talk to you. Teachers are terrified of her.
We’ll hear when Queen Bee has rounded up her mafia troops and warn each other that within hours one of them will be in with some ‘suggestions’.
When Queen Bee is at the school gates we email each other – forewarned is forearmed.
…BUT SHE KNOWS NOTHING
The Queen Bee will spread rumours based on nothing, usually on WhatsApp – which has overtaken social media as a way to whip parents into a frenzy.
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Often she doesn’t know as much as she thinks she does but says it anyway. The worst I’ve ever come across was one who told everyone that she knew someone from Ofsted and the school was going to be rated ‘requires improvement’.
It was rated actually ‘good’…but she made everyone believe it was by a whisker rather than looking stupid.
HER UNDERLINGS SCRUTINISE
It’s not only our teaching methods that are regularly hammered but the Mafia want in on our personal lives too. Dating is a nightmare – I once bumped into one of the Mafia while I was on a date and the next day her son asked me about my ‘new’ man.
Another time I hid in my local Sainsburys when I had a few bottles of wine in my shopping trolley as I knew that the rumour would start that I was an alcoholic. I became so paranoid, I started shopping online…
THEY’RE READY TO POUNCE
If the Mum Mafia decides something needs changing – from the school menu to the uniform policy, then Queen Bee rallies the troops. It’s astonishing how quickly they gather, within hours of a new decision we’re braced for the attack. It’s a coordinated one –they take it in turns as the Queen Bee hates looking like ‘that’ mum. We know their tactics and take bets on who will come in this time.
The Mum Mafia wannabes – those who haven’t made the clique – are tasked with emailing relentlessly until they get their way.
THEY’RE ABOVE THE LAW
Most schools have parking rules, made for rational reasons, such as safety. The Mum Mafia never accept them and will draw up bang outside the gates, blocking the path for the school bus and insisting it’s entirely necessary because they’ve got a baby inside, or they don’t want their car being scratched.
They also refuse to accept that holidays can’t be taken in term time. And will not only book a week away at the start of term, but demand you send them the work so their child doesn’t struggle upon return. My answer is always no…I don’t need more work
THEIR CHILD IS NEVER A RULE BREAKER
The Mafia not only believe they’re above the law but think their child is too. They will come in sweet as pie and say their little darling had a manicure for her 16th birthday and she’s sure that we’ll agree that although there’s a no nail varnish policy in place, just this once it would be ok. If we object, the smile swiftly turns to a scowl, and they’ll go to the head of the year to complain.
Mobile phones are another bone of contention. I’ve had a child go to the loo and send a picture to a classmate of him vaping. When I confiscated the vape and phone, the Mafia mum complained about ME saying my lessons weren’t challenging enough and her poor son was bored.
THEY FIGHT FOR BETTER MARKS
Some mums now research which exam boards are supposedly more lenient with GCSE grades. They then start suggesting we use the ‘easier’ ones. Once the course has started they’ll download the marking schemes and check over returned homework to see if they can find an extra mark – and then write a filthy email explaining why little Johnny actually deserved an A* (he didn’t!).
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AND MICROMANAGE THE SCHOOL DAY
The Mafia will stop at nothing to micro-manage their child’s school day – even suggesting a seating plan for lessons, making sure their child is next to their best friend and far away from the child they’ve taken a dislike to. They’ll also demand that they’re taught by a certain teacher. What they don’t realise is that we also ask for their child NOT to be in our lessons, as we can’t stand the complaints.
Give me the kids of the chaotic mum who doesn’t even know my name any day.
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