I am the oldest of three siblings and I was raised in East Flatbush Brooklyn. It is certainly not the most glamorous section of New York, but it is not the worst either. I was raised by my mother who was assisted by her parents. My mother was a stay at home mother. She only has a high school diploma and she received public assistance. My father is a college dropout and was employed by IMB as a computer developer. My parents were divorced and I must admit that my father was mostly absent during my formative years. I suppose that divorce was not so common in those days, and for those women who found themselves divorced, life was not easy. To say that my father has had no influence on my education and future goals is an understatement. In sum, I suppose that one would term us as a working class family.
As I noted above, the area in which I was raised was hardly glamorous but it seemed to be home to a myriad of income families. The schools I attended were located in decent urban neighborhoods that consisted of a combination of homes and apartment buildings for low- income families. Life in my household, as in the other working class families in my neighborhood did not revolve around long verbal discussions. We were taught humility and obedience. Conversation with my mother and grandparents revolved around chores and making sure we minded our manners. I took direction well and was charged with the care of my younger siblings. Failure to adhere to the commandments of my family resulted in penalties that sometimes were physical. (Annette Lareau, 2003 Unequal childhoods , Pg. 107).
Despite the lack of cerebral conversation at my dinner table it was always automatically understood that I would excel in my education. My mother and grandparents had high expectations for my siblings and me. I was always expected to complete my homework as soon as I returned home from school, to study and practice hard in preparation for upcoming exams, and to try my level best to receive A's and B's in my course work. I consider myself to be an exceptional student and credit these basic expectations with it.
While attending elementary school 219, the classrooms were fully equipped with what seems to be up to date equipment, and the playgrounds had durable swing sets. There was a mural that represented the children of the school painted on the bricks with a whimsical appearance, and the ground was covered in smooth asphalt and cement space for children to run around, engage in creative drawing, play hop scotch, and to jump rope. Most of my teachers were Caucasian females with the exception of Ms. White and Ms. Murray, my African American first and fourth grade teachers and a small amount of male teachers who taught math and science solely.
Humble and cooperative, I was an exceptional student that received high grades for my efforts.
As adolescent, I found it easy to make new friends and fit into the diversity of my schools. I created my own identity as a student. I was valued a great deal amongst my peers and felt above average. I was very likeable, well mannered, and never was a trouble-making student. The teachers in my school focused on the smart students, or the students who were more engaged in the course work because they either participated more often or knew the answers. The quiet students did not participate often in class and thus, quickly forgotten until report cards are distributed.
"In working class schools, work is following the