Frequently asked questions by potential volunteer ESL teachers:
How long/frequent are the classes I would be teaching?
The classes are each 2 hours long and held twice a week.
What is the program duration?
Our “ESL for Parents” program is a 10-week program (Fall semester: mid-Sept. – mid-Nov.; Spring semester: mid-Jan. – end of Mar.).
Our “ESL for Adults” program is a 15-week program (Fall semester: Sept. – mid-Dec.; Spring semester: Feb. – mid-May).
Volunteer ESL teachers are asked to commit to teaching one semester.
How many days/hours would I be teaching each week?
You can choose to teach one or two days a week.
If you choose once a week, you would teach the 2-hour class one day and your co-teacher would teach the 2-hour class the other day.
If you choose twice a week, you would teach both 2-hour classes each week, or 4 hours a week.
What are my options for when to teach?
We offer daytime classes at participating RISD elementary schools and local public libraries beginning as early as 8:00 am and finishing by 3:00 pm.
We offer evening classes ONLY on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These classes are from 6:00-8:00 pm and are held at Richardson High School.
Do you have classes on the weekend?
We have a conversation class on Saturdays. Being a volunteer teacher for this class is an opportunity. You can teach each Saturday or every other Saturday. Classes are from February 4 to May 20.
I’d love to volunteer, but I have a few dates I’ll be traveling. Does this work?
Yes, while it’s important that you’re available to teach a majority of the time, we also have a substitute list of volunteer ESL teachers who have taught in the past and are available to fill-in on occasion. Contact Sara Bramlett, RALC’s volunteer coordinator, to discuss your specific situation.
Is it a problem that I don’t speak another language?
No, the majority of our teachers do not speak a language other than English. All classes are taught in English, so you don’t need other language skills to be an effective ESL teacher. Our students represent 25+ different languages so even if you speak a second language, your students may represent 3 or more languages.
What if I don’t have any teaching experience?
Some of our best teachers come from backgrounds other than teaching. We will provide the training that you need to be effective. Coming prepared for class, engaging your students and showing kindness and consideration are the keys to being successful in this role.
Do you provide class materials and curriculum?
Yes, RALC provides everything you need to teach and be successful, including teaching materials (teacher’s guide, workbook, pacing guide), classroom materials (CD player, class audio CDs, class supplies), a student roster and monthly attendance sheets.
How long will it take to prepare for class?
As you begin the process, it may take a little longer, but the goal is that your preparation will be about 60 minutes per class.
Is it required to have email to teach?
Yes it is. Much of our information each semester is sent through email, so to participate you need a working email that you check regularly.
When is the next teacher training workshop?
Teacher training workshops are held in August, in preparation for our fall semester, and January, in preparation for our spring semester. For specific dates and times, please visit our Volunteer Sign-Up page.
Is lunch served at the workshop?
Yes, it is, but if you have dietary restrictions please plan to bring you own lunch.
Is there another option if I cannot attend the teacher training workshop?
We do have a self-paced option that requires a 1½ hour wrap up session in the RALC office. We encourage you to attend the teacher training workshop if possible.
Are there any additional trainings?
Yes, you will have a Kick-Off meeting 1-3 weeks after the teacher training workshop. Here you will pick up your materials, meet your co-teachers and learn more teaching tools.
How do I get started?
The first step in becoming a volunteer ESL teacher is to sign up on our Sign Up page. This information is sent to our Volunteer Coordinator, Sara Bramlett, who will contact you to finalize your training and answer any other questions you have.
Is there any support provided once I begin teaching?
Absolutely! New volunteer ESL teachers are matched with a volunteer mentor who has significant, formal teaching experience. This person is there to support you throughout your teaching experience. Additionally, RALC holds monthly teacher roundtables and sends out a monthly Teacher eNews, filled with reminders, information and additional teaching resources.