Ingrid, mother of 2 (ages 13 and 15)
(Ingrid requested no photo or school names)
What does a good education look like to you?
Teachers and parents need to work together. I am in direct contact with every teacher so I can help my kids at home. At school, my daughter has a counselor who works with her—an advisor—who encourages her and helps her with her goals and classes.
Why is the school counselor’s involvement important to you?
When I was six years old, I was crying a lot in class and the teacher took me to the school counselor. Back then you were not allowed to talk about anything but I found the courage. We suffered a lot because my father was an alcoholic. My father was like an animal, breaking everything around the house. The counselor got help for my father. Teachers need to figure out what is happening at home.
How do you feel about the education your children are receiving?
The teachers are well prepared, on top of the students. They send messages and ask me how everything is going. My daughter has a good GPA— good enough for a scholarship at a private school. But I don’t want her to feel different from her friends. I want her to be involved with kids that struggle the same way her family does.
What else do you look for in a school?
Kids need motivation to get to school. Music and dance can release the anger, the feelings kids have. I was part of a dance group and my life changed completely in junior high. I became the person who wanted to go to school, to finish my classes. During lunch, I used to go dance for a little while. My grades went up.
What are your hopes for your child’s future?
I want a good future for my kids so they can support themselves. My daughter wants to be a writer but she also wants to study technology and science. She keeps changing, but most of all she loves writing. Next year she has to figure it out. Every day I encourage her. I say, “You’re capable of doing whatever you want. Put your mind to it and work hard.”
Parents of New York is an occasional post sharing the stories, ideas and perspectives of parents or caregivers with children in the New York City public schools. It is inspired by the popular Humans of New York website and book but is not connected to it. If you are interested in being interviewed email us at [email protected] and put "Parents of NY" in the subject line.
(Edited from a longer interview by Lydie Raschka)