Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Beth Rosenberg, a Brooklyn-born mother of two and founder of Tech Kids Unlimited.
Tell us about your family and your career. Why did you start Tech Kids Unlimited?
I live in lower Manhattan with my husband, daughter, son, and two cats. I have a B.A. and an M.A. in art history and spent the early part of my professional career in the museum education world at the Guggenheim Museum. After my daughter was born, I went to work for the Eyebeam Center for Arts and Technology in NYC. Later I had my son who has various special needs. When my kids got older, I went back to school to get an M.S. in educational technology because I saw the value of using tech to teach and learn.
Inspired by my son’s challenges and his love of technology, I founded Tech Kids Unlimited, a not-for-profit organization that teaches 21st-century technology skills to kids who learn differently. I am concerned that kids with learning and emotional disorders are not given the opportunity to learn technology, as their school days are packed with therapies and remedial tutoring. I also started Tech Kids Unlimited out of my fear that after age 21, kids with disabilities have a difficult time finding employment. I want special needs kids—often consumers of tech—to become the next generation of techies to produce digital culture and find jobs.
What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
I’m always working. When I’m not working, I’m making giant to do lists of what I need to accomplish! I was playing Backgammon with my daughter the other night and she had to take my phone away because I was trying to multitask and reply to emails. I work a lot at night after my kids are set with dinner and homework.
What has been your greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
The greatest reward of being a working mom is showing my kids the value of knowledge as it relates to work. I like my kids to know that work is part of life—it doesn’t stop just because you are an adult. The year my daughter graduated high school was the year I received my second master’s degree, so it was a wonderful year of accomplishment for both of us.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
I wish someone told me to take more pictures and videos when my kids were younger. I wish I wrote down all of their funny sayings in a notebook. I wish I enjoyed it more through the chaos of the everyday minutia.
If you could give your children one piece of advice what would it be?
Have one grand passion. Find what you love to do, and become really skilled at it.
What is your favorite children’s book?
The Harry Potter series. It has the right amount of mystery, narrative, and fantasy.
What has been your favorite kids’ class?
I enjoy being in the Tech Kids Unlimited classes with my son. I’m always watching him from the sidelines and worried that he is not paying attention or focusing. But then last year in a class, he showed me how many lines of code he wrote and I was thrilled.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
I like our weekend shopping trips together, whether it’s for new shoes, snacks, juice, or bathroom essentials. I also enjoy family time at a museum—it may be harder to come by, but I usually get my way on days near my birthday!
What is your favorite rainy day escape?
I like watching movies: old, new, foreign, and independent. I also like binging on a great TV series. Right now I’m watching Friday Night Lights and although it’s about Texas and football—which I know little about—I’m intrigued by the dynamics that take place at the school, with the families, in the community, and more. It’s a slice of contemporary American small town life.