The Academic Pressures in a Hispanic Household

Uprooting a family and moving houses or states is a difficult enough decision for a parent to make, let alone the decision to move to a different country.

For the parents of Snider students senior Hector Salamanca and junior Anishleidy Fuerte-Ramirez, this was the decision that they had to make. Salamanca came to the United States from El Salvador when he was 14 years old.

Academics can be challenging, especially with trying to balance out-of-school activities, like a job. Salamanca works often and has to balance his job with his school work and his parents expectations for his grades there.

If he receives a bad grade “they will get mad at me,” said Salamanca, but on the other hand, if he receives a good grade “they will be happy.” 

Fuerte-Ramirez, who is also an immigrant, moved to the United States from Mexico when she was eight to build a better life. From her arrival here in third grade to now in her junior year of high school, Fuerte-Ramirez has remembered her parents’ expectations. 

The words: “All you have to do is do good in school. That’s all you have to focus on,” are what she was told and what she still strives for.

This year has been one of the most challenging years for students amidst the Covid-19 pandemic with the struggles of online learning and less social interactions. 

“At the same time,” says Fuerte Ramirez, “when something happens, like the pandemic, they still expect the same they expected from me during regular school.”

For some students, having their parents receive their report card isn’t that big of a deal, but that isn’t how it happens in every household. 

“Once they get the report card and they see the final grades, they ask why something is a B and not an A,”  Fuerte-Ramirez said.

For her, AP and honors classes are expected. These classes can put pressure on students and can cause stress. 

Even with her parents’ academic expectations, if a class got to be too much she says that “they would be okay [with dropping the class] but only because of the stress.”

The same is true for her brother who is four years younger. 

“He knows the expectations already,” she says. “He has to be there to be a good learner. He’s been getting stressed with the work lately and at first my parents were pressuring him but lately they’ve seen him stress out more. They talked to him and told him it was okay if his grades went down.” 

Fuerte-Ramirez says that her parents are “really open minded” in terms of her career opportunities when she graduates from high school. 

When reflecting on the expectations her parents have for her and her brother, Fuerte-Ramirez says “Honestly, I think heritage made a huge impact on their expectations for me. Due to the fact that there is so much poverty over there. For example, my mom only finished elementary school, which in Mexico goes up to 6th grade. She didn’t have much of an education and had to start working right afterwards which is why they want me and expect me to take advantage and do good in school. Because I have a ‘better opportunity’ here than I would back home.”

Leave a Reply