Volunteer


Immediate Volunteer Opening. We are currently interviewing for two new teachers. Interested in hands-on experience teaching ESL? Can you commit to 6-12 months of volunteer teaching once a week in exchange for helping new immigrants and getting some great work experience under your belt? Contact us!

We welcome new volunteers. Our volunteer teachers have college or advanced degrees from accredited schools and a strong commitment to furthering the experience of immigrants and refugees to the United States.

Creativity, a variety of backgrounds or interests, enthusiasm, open-mindedness toward other cultures, knowledge of community or area resources, leadership skills, or effective new ideas are examples of welcome attributes in our volunteer teachers.

All new teaching volunteers must be able to commit to at least six months--or better, a year--of service. They must also be able to attend four of our classes as trainees as a prerequisite to continuing.

New teachers train in a small classroom setting with experienced teachers, helping teach English to speakers of other languages. A sample of opportunities for committed volunteers includes teaching experience in a classroom setting, being a weekly resource and inspiration for recent refugees and immigrants, 1-to-1 tutoring, and more. Qualified teachers may have the ability to participate in planning for the future and also may be notified of occasional outside opportunities for paid tutoring.

Every week our teachers are delighted to learn from the students. We sing, laugh, play games, share cultures, and talk about everything from holidays--such as Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, or holidays specific to our students--to natural or social disasters such as earthquakes, floods, wars in one's home country, or economic hardships, and how to move forward with personal goals, new freedoms, and life in America.

We are proud of the dedicated contributions of our teachers to the local community. Join us, and change someone's life for the better!

Volunteer FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

I am nervous about teaching in front of a class. Am I going to be all alone?

Our classes are taught by teams of two or three teachers who work together. You are not alone in the classroom.

Is there some kind of training?

Absolutely! Successful applicants receive four weeks of in-class training, helping them calibrate with our teaching style and with tricks and techniques we find most helpful to draw students out in our classrooms. Increasing participation and contributions to teaching usually come naturally during that training.

Do I absolutely have to have an ESL-related degree or prior experience specifically in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL or ESOL) to become a volunteer teacher with EAR?

Not necessarily. About a third of our teachers do not have ESL-specific degrees. We do require that you are a college graduate or have a higher degree in some field or that you have work and life experience demonstrating your ability to become a teacher. And, we do require that you have a demonstrable interest in working with immigrants or refugees. Many of our most successful teachers have been primarily trained as entrepreneurs, business managers, workers, trainers, writers, or teachers in other fields, or have life experiences as immigrants themselves. Teachers must be able harness their own experiences to become successful teachers with our program. We require from all our teachers the energy and ability to bring enough prior skill, ability, and training to be able to teach others while enthusiastically learning more all the time to better themselves in their teaching.

I've been a tutor to a student learning English. Can I become a volunteer teacher with EAR?

Yes. Many successful tutors continue on to become successful teachers with EAR. Tutoring 1-on-1 is a great way to get started with teaching more than one student at a time, or teaching in a classroom.

I came to America as a child and I would like to help other immigrants learn English. Can I become a volunteer teacher with EAR?

Yes. We'd be happy to welcome you as a teacher. Some of our most successful teachers came to America as immigrants or refugees themselves as children. If you think you could be a good teacher and you want to pass on your experiences to others, let us know.

Do online ESOL/ESL/TESOL degrees or other related degrees count? Can I become a volunteer teacher with EAR if I'm still in the process of getting a related degree in teaching English as Second Language?

Yes. Getting a secondary degree in ESOL or ESL indicates personal commitment and may contribute toward your being accepted as a volunteer teacher in our program.

I've been accepted into the Peace Corps. Can I become a volunteer teacher with EAR while I'm waiting to be sent overseas?

Sure. So long as you will be able to commit to working with us for 6 months before you leave, we will be happy to work with you. Peace Corps acceptees have typically done very well in our program in the past.

I'm finishing up my college degree in the area and I want to consider a career in teaching ESL. Can I become a volunteer teacher with EAR?

Possibly. Most of our teachers have already finished their college degrees, but if you are close to graduating and you have the drive, energy, and commitment, we will be happy to consider you as a prospective teacher. Recommendations by your college teachers will be required.

I'm a High School student and I want to consider a career in teaching ESL. Can I become a volunteer teacher with EAR?

Unfortunately, no. We encourage your enthusiasm and interest in helping immigrants and refugees learn English. However, even the most talented high school students cannot commit to teaching regularly when they themselves have exams or are on vacation with their families.

Can you help me get placed overseas teaching English?

Many of our teachers do go on to teach throughout the world. While we are not in the business of recommending any specific job placement programs, we do help our teachers connect and network with each other to share their experiences and recommendations. If you want to check into the experiences other teachers have had with different overseas placement programs or degree programs, teaching with us is a great way to meet others who already know the ropes.

Can you help me get paid private tutoring opportunities?

We send our qualified teachers occasional notices about paying opportunities for tutoring students one on one. Some students have special interests or requirements, or simply cannot attend classes at the times we offer. We encourage and are happy when our experienced teachers can work both as volunteers for us and as paid one-on-one tutors.

I'd like to volunteer but I am worried that I don't have the time.

Our teachers each teach only once a week for a two-hour stint. Some additional weekly preparation time is necessary in advance, but you can do that on your own schedule. The weekly time commitment is small, but the energy you have to bring to class is big.

Why do I have to commit to 6 months or more in order to be a volunteer teacher?

Our students do their best when they have regular and committed teachers. A teacher who shows up for a few months and then leaves does not have enough time to create the ongoing rapport or comfort level that most benefits our students.

In addition, we put the first month into personalized, in-class training, bringing teachers up to speed, sharing tips and tricks about how to bring the most out of students in real-life classroom situations. If a teacher leaves only a month or two later, our investment in training doesn't pay back to us what we put into it.

I've been assigned to observe a class for 20 hours as an observer or practicum student. May I attend your classes to satisfy that requirement?

If you would like to attend a class as an observer or participate in class in order to satisfy a course requirement, please contact us in advance. We try to accommodate occasional observers or practicum students when it will benefit our students. We welcome your inquiries. Please keep in mind that our students do not usually benefit from an ever-revolving roster of observers, so opportunities may be limited.

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