3 things you need to be a volunteer tutor

November 3, 2015

Tutoring is a way to give back to your community and give people the skills they need to succeed. Here's a brief guide on what you need to be a successful, qualified tutor in Canada.

3 things you need to be a volunteer tutor

1. Get Qualified

Every organization looking for volunteer tutors has a list of requirements, but generally the following apply:

  • Good communication skills.
  • Enthusiasm for imparting knowledge.
  • Reliable.
  • Willing to make a serious commitment.
  • Interested in other cultures and individuals.
  • Respectful of others.
  • You may need a secondary school diploma or knowledge of subjects such as Math, English, Science and Social Sciences.
  • All volunteer tutors have to submit a recent vulnerable sector criminal background check.
  • You may also be required to provide personal reference letters.

2. Have the time

  • Most organizations require volunteers to commit to tutoring for at least six months or even an entire school year.
  • Training is mandatory and can take from 14 to 16 hours, which is usually divided up into sessions of two to three hours at a time.
  • Once training has been completed, most volunteers do two to four hours of tutoring a week, usually before or after school hours.
  • In addition to actual tutoring time, a certain number of hours are devoted to drawing up lesson plans and keeping records of students' progress.

3. Pick the right type for your skill set

Different organizations offer different types of tutoring, so it's best to apply where your skills can be put to good use. Volunteer tutors may be used in the following areas:

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring for adult newcomers to Canada who may have tertiary qualifications but need to learn English to integrate into the workplace.
  • Secondary school teaching for students who are falling behind in certain subjects at school.
  • Homework clubs for children who need supervised homework periods because conditions at home are not conducive to learning.
  • Early learning programs for children ages four to six whose first language is not English. This involves teaching math and literacy skills.
  • Working with adults and children with disabilities or learning problems, or with youth who need assistance in preparing for national exams such as GED.
  • Teaching practical skills like computer literacy or preparation for apprenticeship training.

Becoming an excellent tutor is more than simply showing up. It requires dedication, the right skills and, in many instances, a background of helping others. But if you want to help people learn necessary skills, it can be a very rewarding experience and a way to give back to your own community.

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