Mar 11

Saving our Teachers

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Teachers who ille...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Things are dire in LAUSD and being a parent at a lower-income school, it’s even worse. Six highly trained and credentialed teachers were given pink slips. In a world of budget cuts and people losing their jobs, this may be ho-hum to most, but these 6 are extraordinary individuals. Our school has a great Dual Language Program (Spanish) and one of the teachers who received an RIF (Reduction in Force) was the one who started the program at the school. In fact, three of the teachers who were notified teach in the Dual Language Program. Our school is also, along with the middle and high school, in it’s preliminary years of becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Over the past 2 years, all 6 of these teachers have gone through the IB training to ensure the goals of the program are being followed.

With the District proposing an increase in class sizes (We currently have 1:20 in grades K-3, the District wants 1:29), this means that in addition to losing the 6 teachers, the school will have to buy 7 more teachers who may or may not be qualified to replace the lost teachers. As it stands, LAUSD does not have any extra teachers who have already gone through IB training and often, teachers who are credentialed to teach Dual Language, aren’t necessarily interested in doing so. The lack of trained IB instructors puts the schools upcoming approval in jeopardy.

The best thing, is that the school is being proactive about keeping these teachers. For our students and for the approval of becoming an IB school, it’s paramount that these teachers remain. On Tuesday, signs were posted alerting parents to what was happening and six chairs are outside, so that students can write words of support or their names on the paper provided. Next Thursday, the school is holding an emergency meeting to inform parents and the community what is happening. I hope more parents show up and more write letters to the District urging them to retain these teachers for next year, no matter the final budget outcome. We need these teachers!

Apr 10

Is this who LAUSD wants representing them?

Today, I had the most bizarre experience with a completely unprofessional teacher representing the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) School Readiness Language Development Program (SRLDP). This mandatory program began this week and runs until June 8th. Parents of Pre-K students must attend the classes or risk having their child removed from Pre-K.


As you can see, the flyer we received gave us 3 days of the week that classes are offered with 4 different 2.5 hours blocks of time to take these classes. I chose today since it was the one day I knew I would be able to come.

Once I arrived at the school, I learned that the class had been moved to another room. Other parents and an interpreter all showed up to Room 1 for the class, I walked them over to the correct room. When we got there, there was one other parent inside the classroom with the instructor.  The instructor looked up, looked at the interpreter and said, “I don’t need you today. I needed you yesterday. Wednesday.”

“They told me to come today”, he replied as taken aback as I was by her tone of voice and lack of niceties.

She snapped back, “They told me I wasn’t even going to have an interpreter. Sit over there for 5 minutes, maybe some random person would need Cantonese today.”

My eyebrows were in my hairline, but I thought that maybe they had a history. I was soon to learn that she was just a bitch.

She turned to me, “What is he doing here? Why isn’t he in class?” indicating my son.


I’m thinking this woman has clearly lost her mind because nobody speaks to me like that.  I explained that he is in the afternoon classes that start at 11:15, fifteen minutes after the time the SRLDP is supposed to end. She said, “I’m trying to teach a class here. You couldn’t leave him at home?”

“Well, yes, I could hav e left him at home, but he would still need to be at school by 11:15. So…I…brought…him.” While I’m saying this, I’m taking my netbook out of my bag, so that I could set up a game for him to play while the class is going.

The instructor had turned away while I was talking and said something to another parent. Then turned back to me. “What is that?! Why are you taking that out?” I looked at my netbook, baffled.

“It’s a computer. I going to let him use it so that he’s quiet during the class. If that’s a problem, please let me know”, I told her, looking directly in her eye.

She sighed, rolled her eyes and said, “I’m trying to teach a class here. Today’s class is in Spanish.”

Surprised, I responded, “I didn’t know that, the flyer didn’t state that Thursdays was Spanish Day.”

“Your teacher should have told you”, she interrupted.

“But she didn’t and you’re assuming I don’t understand Spanish. Is this a problem? Do you need me to leave?”

She started stammering and sighing, “I just don’t know why you have him here and that is out.”

Fine. If I had to listen to this woman say one more thing, she might have to have my netbook surgically removed from her ass. So, I started packing it up.

“Where are you going?!” she yelled.

I looked at her like she was mad, “Clearly, you are aggravated by my presence, I’ll make it easy. I’m out.”

She said she wanted to talk to me. I told her that I don’t want to hear her. She said that she’ll follow me out and I shrugged and said, “Don’t bother. I don’t want to waste any more of my time with you.”

She followed me out anyway and started making noises. I interrupted her, “First of all, you don’t speak to me like that. You don’t know me. Secondly, if this only a Spanish class, then the flyer should have indicated that. And last, your attitude is rude. It’s crap that you expect me to listen to you.”

Her clever response? “What’s crap is your attitude!” Thumbs up. Way. To. Go.

I spoke to the School Coordinator and Principal about this woman. They said they’ve had complaints about her too and that she’s rude to them too. I just can not believe that anyone with that shitty attitude would even be allowed to speak to people, let alone get paid for it.

Dec 09

Circular logic hurts my brain

The kids want a Christmas tree. I tell them that we can’t afford a tree, so we won’t have one. The girl says, “Then we won’t get presents.” To which I reply, “Well, we can’t afford presents anyway, so yeah…there’ll be no presents.” Her response? “Get a tree and then there will be presents!”


Then I wonder how we got here.

We’ve only had a tree twice. And only last year, did we put gifts under them. In other words, Christmas just isn’t done here. I’ll assume that school and TV have filled their heads with this idea.

Dec 09

Top 5 questions people say when they hear you don’t want to have more kids

I stumbled across this article titled: 9 Silly Things People Say When They Hear You Don’t Want Kids (And Ways to Counter Them). Just from that you know that the author is one of those so-in-love-with-their-own-cleverness sorts. Not that’s bad, but you know…you can come off like a jackass. I should know. I’m that sort.

That being said, the author has been kind enough to give unreasonably stupid responses to the unreasonably stupid questions nosy people ask or unreasonably stupid statements they make when they find you don’t want children.

The only one that was rather amusing was:

5. “But they’re so cute!”

This is a topping good reason to buy a Hello Kitty “vibrator,” but to bring a whole new person into existence?

We hadn’t planned on having kids. Even though I was asked these questions (which I do think is extremely rude), I was never a jackass like the author and most childless-by-choice people I see online. People did tell us that we’d change our minds and clearly we did. Otherwise, my stock answer to strangers asking “Do you plan on having children?” was “Not at the moment.” Pushers got ruder responses. To my friends, I typically responded, “The day after never!”

Having kids does NOT stop these rude questions. I have a girl and a boy and people still push us to procreate. When I get the questions below, I just, smile and say, “Yeah…we’re done.” (Hey! Who says I lack tact?)

1. “Well, I was raised in a large family. I loved the chaos. “

That’s great. For you. But I have to raise that chaos. My two already create enough chaos for me.

2. “But don’t you think your daughter should have a sister/son should have a brother?”

I have one of each and my husband has no siblings. We turned out just fine.

3. “But you make such cute babies.”

Your point?

4. “But what if something happens to one of them?”

My. Aren’t you just a ray of sunshine?

5. “You’ll change your mind.”

Just because celebrities have babies in their 50s doesn’t mean I want to join them. As it is, having these two in my 30s have wiped out all of my energy reserves.

Also note, the ones who push you to procreate are NEVER around when you need a sitter.

Oct 09

Pre-K Literacy Parade

Here’s some photos from today’s Literacy Parade (read: Halloween parade) for Pre-K.

Oct 09

The parent who doesn’t care

Yeah…that would be me. I found enough pieces of the old doctor costume (meaning the top and the pants) to put on Alton. There’s a jacket, hat, face mask and medicine bag, but they’re all broken, dirty or missing. If I had tried, I could have made him new ones, but really that’s just expending way too much energy.

When we arrived at the school, he pointed out all his friends, “Oh, Mama! They’re wearing costumes!”, he exclaimed.

I replied, “You’re wearing one too!” 

He looked down at his top with the medical cross on it, “Oh. Yeah…Right.”

The other kids had accessories and some had their faces painted. Too much work considering you’d have to do all over again in a couple of days. So, I’m lazy. Shoot me.

Oct 09

How do 9 – 5 parents do it?

I think my kid’s school is out to make life difficult to for working parents. Last year, I complained about the lack of timely information. This year is no different.

Today, the boy was sent home with a slip of paper informing me that the “Literacy Parade” (read: idiotic name for Halloween Parade) for Pre-K is going to be…tomorrow. The kids, even the ones who normally start school at 11:45am, are to be at school by 8:30am. The Literacy Parade doesn’t even start until 10:30am! This is information that could have been sent home on Monday, though last week would have been better.

Then I notice the other paper, informing me that the Literacy Parade for the K-5 classes is on Friday at 1:15pm. Working parents with a kid in Pre-K and another in the upper grades would have two work days disrupted if they choose to attend.

The school makes a big deal about parent participation, but with poor communication like this, it’s no wonder the parents are unable to attend various school functions.

Oct 09

How about a $50 check?

I’m not going to be subtle about this at all. I HATE school fundraisers. One of my biggest joys at leaving behind elementary and middle school was not feeling forced into fundraising for the school. We had to sell chocolate bars for $1. My mother wouldn’t allow us to go door-to-door and she wouldn’t take the bars to work because it was our fundraiser, not hers. That did not stop her, however, from eating the candy bars, tossing a $5 bill into the envelope and leaving us to cover the rest of with our allowance.

Inside the brochure

Inside the brochure

Needless to say, I dread my kid’s school fundraisers even more. The paperwork says: “No door-to-door! Only sell to friends, family and coworkers.” Obviously, the onus of selling these items is put on parents. That really doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve worked at so many places with pushy parents who actually try to cajole, chide or guilt you into buying things for their kid’s fundraisers. “You bought so-and-so chocolate, so why not buy my calendar?” or “I know you make more money than I do, so why not get the gift wrap?” It shouldn’t come as no surprise that I think those people are on top of my Crappiest Coworkers List.

The ouside of the brochure

The ouside of the brochure

But I’d take $1 chocolate bars over the stuff my kid’s school is selling. As you can see, it’s all sweets. Now, keep in mind, the school is all about healthy eating. The kids aren’t really allowed to bring cookies or junk food to school. So, it seems at cross purposes that they have to sell this stuff.

Also, I can not come to grips with paying $14 for a frozen cheesecake when I can make one fresh or go to a local bakery and get one, for cheaper. And today. These desserts won’t arrive for another 6 weeks.  The thought of trying to talk people into buying this no matter this cause is unconciousnable to me.

Which brings me to last issue with this fundraiser: Fools is broke. Our friends couldn’t afford a $14, my family is way too cheap to even consider and we work at home, so we are our own coworkers. Just who am I supposed to sell this to?

I have no objection to the school raising money, I wish they’d consider a bake sale or considering the low-income status of so many of the children, at least something more affordable. I do object to feeling forced into this situation. I do not like having to tell my daughter she can not participate in this because of the financial limitations. What is even more troublesome that this fundraiser is occurring because last year’s fundraiser not only did the PTA president get a lot of negative feedback from parents, but the company messed up the orders and never returned the money.

I vote next year, they do a car wash or a 5K walk.

Aug 09

She’s a swimmer now

I’m a hands-off sort of parent. I don’t believe in doing things for my kids, preferring they figure it out themselves. It makes for frustrating times, but the payoff when it clicks is well worth it. Ilia’s been in swim class for 6 weeks now. The first couple of weeks, was her just getting used to being wet. She’s a stubborn one and doesn’t pay attention to my directions at all. So, there were a lot of tears and frustrations on both our parts. Eventually, it clicked and she was willing to explore more. The brightest day was when she learned the backstroke. She’s a natural at it, even her instructor was impressed by the form and quickness. Still, she was wearing the swim belt.

As we walked toward the building, on Tuesday, Ilia turned to me said, “I’m going to swim without the swim belt today.” I smiled, “That would be wonderful”, I replied. To my shock, once we got to the pool, she jumped into the water and started doing something she had been unable or unwilling to do before: She swam. She kicked her feet, face in the water, and moved. WOW! I can not even begin to explain how proud of this stubborn yet scared little girl just getting it. She wants to continue. She wants to learn to dive. She wants to compete.

Jul 09

Ilia wants to be Indian

Compagnie Dansez Masala - Bollywood Dance   -10

Image by pixiduc via Flickr

We watched some Bollywood movies the other day. My daughter, dancing on my bed, turned to me and said, “I need to be Indian. Because then you can wear pretty clothes, have a dangly thing on your head and get henna on your hands…when you get boobs, you get a dot on your forehead. Oh, and dance around the mountains in the rain. When I grow up, I’m totally going to be Indian.”

She is also convinced that she can now speak Hindi, because she was repeating the movie lines.

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