I am not currently involved with regular ESL teaching, but I do know of a couple of options. I used to teach full-time at a local university and really enjoyed the students and the teaching, but making a living in ESL is really hard, especially in my local area My training was a B.A. in Linguistics and French with some teaching part-time along the way. My real training came on the job as is usually the case with ESL. I think for volunteering, the only real training needed to a willingness to

Most university ESL programs and community classes need classroom volunteers, often for 1 hour 1 day a week to do small group activities, role plays, discussions with students as well as conversation partners to meet 1-on-1 with students at a time that works for both of you. This was a great experience all around for me (fun, getting to know the students, relaxed, no prep), the only con was the drive & the unfortunate fact that meeting with my kids didn’t work out (too crazy especially with their kids) and I couldn’t find regular childcare so I’m not volunteering right now, but probably will in the future.

I’ve also volunteered with the Arab-American Friendship Center, which is a local missions organization trying to build bridges to reach Arabs with God’s love. They offer free English and citizenship classes to women during the day and free classes in computers and business English in the evenings. The classes are M-Th for 2 hours and usually a teacher volunteers for one day per week. With the commute it was about a pretty big commitment, plus prep time. They do have childcare at the center for the women in the class and I used that a couple of times, but had a friend who watched my kids for free while I volunteered (as my kids didn’t do well at the center and they had tons of kids in the room there, so I didn’t want to add more kids for them.)

One thing that I liked about the AAFC was that my kids were able to see me helping others and share me with others, which was good in some ways. I want my children to develop a heart for helping and caring for others and giving to others, even sacrificially. In my opinion, volunteering is difficult, but worthwhile in the the long-term as well as short-term benefits. Right now, my volunteering is with a MOPS group, which I love, and my kids love MOPPETS, so the only sacrifice is the time I spend preparing and making it all work. One day, I’ll return to ESL, because I love that too!

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