Thursday, September 25, 2014

Alternative School Parents Are The Worst

...but most other parents are also brutal.  You can't convince me otherwise.  Last week we had curriculum night at our school, which is basically an opportunity for the parents to come with the kids and check out their kid's classroom and find out what the overall objectives are for the year.

Our school shares a space with this alternative school, which is filled with 99% entitled white kids who think they are special stars (that's not me being racist, that's a legit observation - lack of diversity in the alternative school has been identified by all parties and they're trying to step up their "recruitment" as a result).  The schools share a principal, who takes great pains at every opportunity to tell you that he's the principal of two very busy, very active schools, the subtext of which is: "don't bother me."  This all means that during his presentation at curriculum night, the alternative school kids were running amok and being loud and he didn't try to have the room in control before starting his short presentation, so you couldn't hear anything and the audience was bananas.  It was a gong-show.  The alternative school is tiny, like maybe a hundred kids, max in total, but their parents are apparently very demanding.  As the Dotytron has astutely noted, why is funding going towards that?!  Why don't we have an autism school, or something equivalent that is desperately needed in the province?  Instead, our alternative school has the kids call their teachers by their first names, and they sit outside a bunch and it's supposed to teach the "whole child" (as opposed to regular school, where they only teach the kid's armpits?)

This is what you learn when you become a parent of a school-aged chld in downtown Toronto: OTHER PARENTS ARE CRAY.  The investment, outrage, and entitlement that people feel engaging with a public system is laughable, almost.  It's where a failure of the imagination, ego, misunderstanding of redistribution and community, and the zero-sum game that is modern, urban, educated elite parenting swirl together in a seething mass of bristling ignorance.  The same women who would stop me during my maternity leave and marvel at the fact that I had the guts to leave the house with a 3 year old and twin infants in tow, are the SAME PEOPLE who expect a teacher to personally shepherd their child to the bathroom, each time they have to go pee, in a class of TWENTY FOUR other students!  Mom who is wigging that the FREE SNACK provided was a yoghurt tube and not whatever the f**k tasteless brick of coconut oil and flax flour you wanted to make, here's a pro tip: ABSTAIN FROM THE FREE SNACK.  Or, better yet, JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN IS OPTIONAL, PULL YOUR KID OUT!  People basically just want to create little private schools without paying a single extra cent.  It's mind-boggling, really.

Here's the seedy underside of this: IT MAKES YOU CRAY, TOO.  Or it does me at any rate.  When you're caught up in a nattering maelstrom of helicopter, attachment-parenting types it's easy to lose your centre and get swept up in madness.  The Dotytron is really good at staying above the fray and putting things in perspective.  Last night after curriculum night he said look, at the end of the day, does the Big Yam feel safe?  Does he feel supported and comfortable?  If those requirements are being met we are lucky in that we can fill the other potential gaps in his education on our own, if need be.  The Big Yam has made a little friend and they are super-cute together:


Also, we have a new principal who is making classic new principal mistakes and kow-towing to the demands of the crazy parents.  I emailed the principal about them losing the Big Yam, because I thought the communication (mainly from the administration) wasn't great.  So I went early late last week to meet with him and the the Big Yam's teacher and he TOTALLY THREW THE TEACHER UNDER THE BUS!  He turned to her during the meeting and was like, "What are YOU going to do so that this doesn't happen again?"  and I was like, "wait, whaaaat?  That s**t ain't right, son."  To me, that's crappy management.  I was there with the express purpose of working WITH them to figure out what we might need to change from an operational standpoint so that you don't lose a kid on the first day, maybe.  I've talked to some teacher friends, and the consensus is that usually what happens in these meetings, is the teacher and the principal work together BEFORE the parent shows up, come up with a plan, and then the principal says during the meeting, "we are going to do x, y, z" and the teacher says, "uh huh" and then boom, it's done.  The way he handled this seriously made me think he was a giant a-hole.  Then, he threw her under the bus AGAIN, privately, when he pulled me into the office and assured me that what she did was unacceptable, and he took it seriously.  I intellectually know what happened.  He thought I was one of those cray helicopter parents and was going to like, sue the school or something.  Uh, no.  I get that it can happen, no biggie.  What I'm less impressed with is you undermining your staff member in front of me and hanging them out to dry.

Is our kindergarten teacher the greatest?  No.  I'm not like, stoked to have her and I don't think I would want the Big Yam in her class next year, if we decide to stay.  But, she hasn't done anything so far that makes me outraged.  She seems kind of checked out, but she's 24 years into her career.  I don't blame her.  I'm certainly not wigging the way one of the other parents is, because her daughter had an accident at recess and so the teacher sent her daughter in with an SK buddy to go get changed in the cubby area, and at the end of the day, her daughter's dirty clothes were strewn in the cubby area.  Mom is all like, "where was the follow through?  Isn't that a safety issue?"  And I'm like, uh, why don't you talk to your kid about putting their dirty clothes back in their bag after?  Do you expect teacher to personally shepherd your kid to get changed?  And what, leave the other 13 kids out front during recess by themselves?  How does that make sense?  Of course, mom felt the need to take that to the principal (?!?)

Anyway, I can't handle that shiz.  When I can, I do the drop off and pick-up (like on my days off, or even on days like today, when I'm home sick), because cray-cray parents would have you believe that that's when you get the "scoop" and "gossip."  But to me, it's not worth it.  My friends who dump their kids at daycare in the morning and then pickup from daycare are blissfully removed from the s**tstorm of crazy and I'd rather be in with them.

In the interests of transparency, I feel like I owe it to you to be truthful and say that after touting the systems we've developed to ease our transition, week 2 was a bit rough.  The Big Yam was crying every day wanting me to take him to school and not understanding that I have to go to work.  Last week I got stuck on public transit for an hour coming home and wasn't prepared and by the time I came home they had all eaten dinner without me.   Last Friday, our nanny called in sick so the Dotytron and I had to do the whole 6am/staredown/decide who is going to bite the bullet thing.  Thankfully, things seem to have settled this week.  I think the Big Yam gets that this is his new reality and seems to be adjusting fine.  He's such a laid back kid.  We are lucky, although I will say that based purely on anecdotal evidence, laid back parents tend to have laid back kids.  One mom of a classmate of the Big Yam's keeps sending histrionic texts about how her anxiety is at "through the roof" levels because teacher has been off sick for the past few days and they've had a couple of different supply teachers in.  Really?  There are some people who have real problems.  Remember that.

I feel like they finally seem like real babies.  The Quincess has bulked up like whoa.

Quincess pose - LOL!

Weeknight dinners: a smoke gouda, potato, bacon, and kale quiche

Shrimp and salmon corn chowder with cheddar sage biscuits

Pot roast & root vegetable mash

Breaded tilapia, homemade tartar sauce, salted heirlooms, and buffalo fried cauliflower, which is AMAZING.

Fin.






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