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Moira Quirk

Moira, who lives in the Los Angeles area, is a graduate of the University of London and Central School of Speech in Drama, with a degree in English and Drama. She is a voice-over artist, comedienne and writer. For Nickelodeon she has been the co-host of the enormously popular Nickelodeon Guts and is the voice of the fashionable, yet nasty Brit Krust in My Life as a Teenage Robot. On the radio she has been heard as a commentator on KPFK and in The Play’s the Thing and Handwritten Theatre on NPR in addition to a number of BBC Radio dramas. As a comedienne, the LA Times said ”her act is a sly, brilliant take on the American perception of British reserve.” She still puts a ’U’ in colour.

Moira Quirk Articles
Moira Quirk |

How the PTA Is Like a Game of Jenga

My term as PTA president will end on June 30th.  My duties will not end entirely though because there will be that transition time and then, come the new school year, I will be the Historian.  I like the idea of historian because it sounds sort of fusty, like I might get to hang out in some old, ill-lit room cataloguing mimeograph machines and film strips and science books written before the moon-landing.

I am envious of our new president.  She will have three vice-presidents and a secretary who won’t bail three weeks in (like mine did) and a treasurer who is an actual, bone fide accountant.  My treasurer had never even kept her own books before or used Quicken or even perhaps a calculator.  She professed this quite openly, “You don’t want me,” she stated.  And so she was voted in.  Our PTA books are good, yet idiosyncratic.

I must admit also, that I sort of checked out back in November.  I have had a trying year.  We took in my ailing father-in-law at the beginning of the school year and he died right after Christmas.  And my husband and I both had to scramble for work as the downturn economy kicked us mightily in the pants.  An opportunity came up for me and I needed to jump on it, so at the beginning of November I wrote this email to the PTA:

Dear All,

A new work project has suddenly come up for me and I need to dedicate myself to it entirely. I still plan to be there for the November meeting, but otherwise my priorities are:  this project, then my family and then PTA. That’s right, I will give short shrift even to my family.  I do not mean to be indifferent to the PTA, but my husband and I are also setting up my father-in-law here and finding that to be a full time job in itself and I simply must prioritize.

Until December 1st (I think),

Moira more
Moira Quirk |

Viva la PTA

I was supposed to have posted already, you know something pithy and on point about the PTA what with being an in-the-know president and all, but, truthfully, it’s beginning to make me all a bit ill… and this is why.  I’ll tell you I’ve pretty much always voted Democrat.  I’m always open to voting for a Republican, I just haven’t yet.  Years and years ago Rolling Stone Magazine had an article “Why I’m a Democrat/Why I’m a Republican” and, let me tell you, P.J. O’Rourke’s Republican argument was far more compelling and amusing and one hundred times less whiny.  Democrats do get whiny.  It’s what happens when earnestness goes a little off.  I will however, take whiny over the current constant Republican complaint of Obama and his elitism.  Besides, I’m a mother; I’m inured to whininess. more
Moira Quirk |

And Happy Holidays to You Too, PTA

December 19th was our last day of school. I brought my children home still delirious from Holiday classroom parties and candy-cane overdosage. Three weeks of idyllic winter holidays lay before us filled with beautiful California weather and making lunch at lunchtime and not at the crack of dawn. Ah.

On our return, more
Moira Quirk |

The PTA and the Arts: Advocating or Placating?

In our large and oft-vilified school district, my two daughters have an Arts Program where they are instructed in Dance, Theatre and Visual Arts. Once, my elder daughter, then a kindergartner, informed me on the way home that something was polychromatic and it was a difficult drive, my eyes were so tear-bedimmed with joy. The Arts Program had been initiated in 1998, had grown and finally, this year, had been implemented in all schools. And the district was rather proud of it.  They should be proud… but within reason as arts is core curriculum. Oh don’t get me started. more
Moira Quirk |

Parent Teacher Adversaries? Part II

In my last post I explained how it was suggested by our elementary school coordinator that because of an unspecified “problem” we return forever the violins we received as part of a music grant.  I found this pretty galling.  Well, it seems my calling the principal, a congenial fellow, and making a civil and compelling argument against this was enough to solve said problem.  Our violin program remains intact.  Reasonable people attain reasonable results… I thought. more
Moira Quirk |

PTA: Parent Teacher Adversaries?

September 9th was the start of school.  It is now September 29, 2009.  I have been in a whirlwind of getting my now 3rd grader to stop grieving the end of the summer and just get on with it, and acclimating my youngest to Kindergarten.  And then all the start-of-the-school-year PTA responsibilities: the orientation meetings (our school is K-12, so there’s three of them-elementary, middle and high); the meet-and-greets; the coffee mornings; Back to School Night and membership drives and bake sales; getting the PTA sponsored Enrichment program scheduled and publicized; the first membership meeting and trying to get a budget passed.  It didn’t.  There hasn’t been much me-time.  Sometimes there hasn’t been very much personal hygiene time.  Honestly, it’s shocking how I turn up to school some mornings, and really rather hypocritical considering how I admonish my children to brush their teeth, brush their hair, wash their faces.  Now. more
Moira Quirk |

I Read the Entire 477-page PTA Toolkit For You. You’re Welcome!

So, last year, as I’ve previously posted, I was unwillingly made PTA president.  This year a keen and competent mother was all ready to take over and got officially voted in and everything… and then she made the decision to put her daughter in a different school.  So I said I would finish my initial two-year term.  I don’t want to be president, but nor do I want to bail.  No, daggummit!   I’ll stick around to do the half-arsed job I know I’m fully capable of. more
Moira Quirk |

Swine Flu and Your Child!

Children are little and yet they can get hugely ill.  Cleaning up vomit at two a.m. is no small task.  Dealing with their ear infections is no small task.  Worrying, worrying, worrying over them is no small task, and so when something like H1N1 or, more romantically, Swine Flu, rears its ugly head, well it’s troubling. more
Moira Quirk |

Shades of the PTA

As PTA president at my daughter’s school, I attend monthly council meetings at our council headquarters nestled comfortably in Southern California suburbia.  The wall is decorated with certificates and banners and posters.  I gave them a cursory glance on my first meeting there, but there was one picture that filled me with utter delight.  It is a photographic portrait that I felt almost rapturous about because it is as I imagined the PTA to be.  Three rows of women of the ’50s sit in their suits, be-gloved and be-hatted, looking, each of them, just a little to the left, smiling beatifically.  They probably auctioned off hand-sewn quilts and baked the cakes for the cake-walks and made lemonade for the children on hot, summer days.

Perhaps the PTA was never like that.  Perhaps I am just projecting on that eighteen-by-twelve black and white framed photograph.  But it does make me feel rather wistful because, quite frankly, I find the PTA to be rather complex.  My daughter’s school is a magnet school.  Other states have their version of the magnet system, but in my city it means that sixty per cent of the students are minorities and the other forty per cent are white.  But white doesn’t mean disenfranchised East Coasters, it means Armenians, Iraqis, Persians/Iranians and all manner of other cultures who might not say “Super!” when Christmas rolls around on the twenty-fifth of December.  My daughter is one of two blue-eyed blondes in her entire grade.  (I’m a black-haired, green-eyed, dirty little Irish girl, so don’t ask me how I pulled that Aryan wonder out of my womb, and then another smaller version to follow.) more
Moira Quirk |

I’m a PTA President: Well, Somebody Has to Do It

I am the PTA president at my daughter’s school.  I wish I could say I ran some kind of strategic campaign, but I didn’t.  I didn’t run a campaign, period.  I was made president under a certain amount of duress.  Outside of her classroom, my daughter’s first grade teacher practically begged for me to do it, and Keith our dad-about-campus and PTA parliamentarian and therefore head of the PTA nominating committee, hunted me down on the playground and via the telephone nearly every day for about three weeks.  I caved.  And so I used the same argument I use for myself when I bitterly clean the toilet after my husband and I have a toilet-cleaning standoff:  “Well somebody has to do it.” more

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