Want to be a volunteer tutor in Canada?

January 31, 2015

This is a brief look at what qualifications you need, how much of a time commitment is required if you want to be a volunteer tutor in Canada.

Want to be a volunteer tutor in Canada?

One way of giving back to the community is by tutoring. You may be wondering how to be a volunteer tutor in Canada. This is a brief look at what qualifications you need, how much of a time commitment is required, and who you may tutor.


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

Depending on what subjects you're interested in tutoring, you may need a secondary school diploma or knowledge of subjects such as math, english, science and social sciences.

In addition, all volunteer tutors have to submit a recent vulnerable sector criminal background check. The form for this can be obtained from any police station. You may also be required to provide personal reference letters.

Time commitment

Most organizations require volunteers to commit to tutoring for at least six months, and perhaps 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.

Types of tutoring

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 and need extra help.
  • 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.

Other volunteer tutors may work with adults and children with disabilities or learning problems, or with youth who need assistance in preparing for national exams such as the GED. Volunteers are often needed to teach practical skills like computer literacy or preparation for apprenticeship training.

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