Working and Going to School: Living in Two Worlds

by Claudia Cabrera

Working and going to school can be difficult for any student, but it seems like it can be especially hard for ESOL students.

Maria Alvarez is a 12th grade ESOL student who works after school as a waitress 23 hours per week. Doing both things at the same time, going to school and to work is very hard. "It's difficult because sometimes I don't have time to do my homework and when I get home I feel tired," Maria said. But for Maria, she doesn't have much choice about it. "I work after school because I need the money," she said.

Another student who has problems at school because of the job is Rafael Moreno. He is in 9th grade and he works after school. For him staying in school and keeping a job is difficult, too.

But not all the students have a problem. One student said, "It's not difficult for me because when I started working I knew that the school must be always first, so when I get home after my work I do my homework."

Silver International did a survey about students who work after school. According to the survey, 30% of the ESOL students have a regular job after school. Another 30% want a job.

Some students when they start working, like the money and they drop out of school. Some of them drop out of school when they are near graduation. One student who dropped out of school in his last year of high school said, "I was tired of working and studying, so I prefered to leave the school. The school doesn't give any money," he said.

Mr. Bellino, the ESOL Resource Teacher, has been at Blair a long time and has seen some students do this. "One of my students dropped out at the beginning of her last semester in high school," he said. "She was working a lot and could not do her schoolwork, so she decided to quit school." When Mr. Bellino saw her a few years ago, the former student was a housekeeper in a hospital and was not very happy. "She told me it was the biggest mistake she ever made," Mr. Bellino said.

Copyright © 1999, Silver International, Montgomery Blair H.S., Silver Spring, MD USA (This page was created by BG.)