An Interview with Mr. Alcoba, A Friend of International Students

by Lentz Acosta

Mr. John Alcoba is an instructional assistant at Blair who has done many things for international students. Besides helping many students with school work, he also has sponsored sports, clubs and parties for ESOL students.

One of the things that Mr. Alcoba has done for ESOL students and non-ESOL is the indoor soccer tournament. A lot of students who participated in this tournament feel exited about it.

Where are you from and how long have you being here?

I am from Bolivia and I have been here in the U.S. for 28 years.

When did you start working in the schools?

This is my eleventh year. I spent four years at the Edison Career Center and seven at Blair.

What have you experienced with the ESOL students here at Montgomery Blair?

ESOL students need a role model, a person who is more than a teacher. They want a friend, a brother or sister, a father or mother, a person who can listen to their problems. The reason may be that they miss their countries, their families, and their friends. They are looking for security.

You have done many things for ESOL students at Blair. Why do you do all these things?

I do them because I'd like the students to have the same opportunities as everybody else here at school. I want all the students to join together for a common goal.

What are you concerns about the education of the ESOL students?

There are two important points. About high school education, my concern is that since all the students come from different levels of education there is not a proper screening that addresses this. For that reason some students are placed in a classroom not adequate to their level. About college education and other post secondary education, many ESOL students are misinformed or get no information at all about ways to go to college.

Would you like to be a teacher of ESOL students?


Yes I would like to be a teacher, a math teacher or an English teacher, even better a bilingual teacher.

"I think that Mr. Alcoba should receive an award for all the things that he has done beside sponsoring clubs and helping students with personal problems," junior Marvin Rodriquez said. "In my personal opinion I thank him for all the times that he has helped me in school and tried to keep me out of trouble here."

Junior Wendy Martinez said, " We all feel proud to have an excellent friend that we always can count on for advice or to help us in any kind of homework. Keep it up, Mr. Alcoba, all the way!"

Copyright Silver International Newspaper 2000 (This page was created by Rosina Speranza.)