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Become a Tutor

Did you know that over 80% of job-seekers who were tested for literacy in Philadelphia’s workforce development system are not ready to study at the high school level? They want to work and understand that they need to increase their knowledge and skills in order to support themselves and their families.
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Investing your time by helping adults achieve educational and career success helps to build a stronger Philadelphia, one adult learner at a time.

If you are 18 years of age or older with a high school diploma or GED®, attend our free tutor trainings and become an adult literacy tutor.

The Office of Adult Education’s updated trainings now includes digital skills as basic literacy, necessary for work and for all aspects of adult life.

basic training iconBasic (prerequisite)

Basic Tutor Training provides tutors with a foundation of how to tutor adult literacy learners. It is designed to ensure that tutors are not only teaching adult basic education skills (Reading, Writing and Numeracy) but also incorporating fundamental skills needed to succeed in the 21st century workplace such as digital literacy skills.

Participants will learn how to:

The training is designed to meet tutor competencies derived from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Adult Teacher Competencies Project, the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps’ Tutor Competencies, and Pennsylvania Workforce Education standards.

About this training:
This training is completed over a three-week time period, starting with a two-hour face-to-face orientation (Part 1), followed by two-week period during which each participant must complete online coursework (Part 2), and culminating in a Teaching Strategies Workshop (Part 3 and 4) where the cohort will practice tutoring strategies on two consecutive three-hour Wednesday evenings.  The Teaching Strategies workshop is designed to allow the participants to apply what they learned in the first two parts. Completion of all components is required to receive the Office of Adult Educations Certificate of completion. Basic Tutor Training is a prerequisite for both ASE and ESL Tutor Training. 

Learn to successfully support learners in achieving career, civic, and personal goals. Participants will develop a better understanding of the skills, interests, and perspectives of the adults they serve.

By the end of the session, tutors will be prepared to coach learners on the content and expectations of the GED® or HiSET® exams, know how to develop lessons to supplement GED®  or HiSET® materials; and use technology to engage a variety of learning styles.

ESL training iconEnglish as a Second Language (ESL)

Did you know that according to the 2012 Census, Philadelphia’s increased population is because of immigration? There is a growing need to support ESL learners in Philadelphia. With the increase of immigrants and refugees, many new learners are eager to fill the job market.

English as Second Language (ESL) Tutor Training provides adult literacy volunteers with the tools, skills and resources to support adult English language learners. Building on the basic principles of adult teaching and learning introduced in the OAE’s Basic Tutor Training, ESL Tutor Training adds theory and techniques specific to tutoring learners for whom English is not the first language, and whose level of literacy in their native language ranges from non-literate to highly advanced.  Basic Tutor Training is a prerequisite to participating in this training.

The Training is designed to meet competencies derived from:

2008 Standards for ESL/EFL Teachers of Adults, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

2003 Standards for adult education ESL programs, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

About this training:
This training will prepare you to make a difference in someone’s life from the convenience of your home or office. You are expected to read text material, watch and react to videos, submit responses to discussion prompts and quizzes, and provide thoughtful feedback to one another. A tutor trainer will be available to monitor, facilitate the course, and provide feedback as needed. It starts with online coursework the cohort will be required to complete remotely. To successfully complete this training, you should expect to devote 7-8 hours per week on this course.

ASE training iconAdult Secondary Education

Adult Secondary Education Tutor Training provides volunteers with the knowledge, tools, skills and resources to support adult learners who are working at a 9th grade + level. Tutors will learn tactics to help prepare students to take standardized tests like the GED® or HiSET® in order to obtain a Common Wealth Secondary Diploma. ASE Tutor Training builds upon Basic Tutor Training and add theory and techniques specific to learners enrolled in exam prep courses.

Part 1 of the ASE Tutor Training is completed online, where the participants are required to read text material, watch and react to videos, submit blog-entries and give feedback to their peers. The Tutor Trainer monitors the participants’ activities and provides feedback as needed. The online portion is followed by Part 2 of the training, which is a face-to-face, three-hour, Teaching Strategies workshop, offered on a Wednesday evening.

Download the schedule of upcoming trainings. For more information, please contact the Volunteer Programs Manager, at Volunteersadultedu@phila.gov or (215) 686-6079 for more information.

View and register for upcoming volunteer tutor trainings, events, and professional development here.

FAQ

I have an interest in becoming:

  • An adult literacy tutor
  • A teacher or classroom assistant
  • An adult literacy teacher
  • A tutor coordinator
  • A director of an adult literacy program

How would this training help me reach those goals?

The Office of Adult Educations’s tutor training program has been designed to give you the skills, resources and confidence needed to provide any agency, including you own, initial adult educational support. We refer our trained tutors to agencies with the mutual understanding that you will start out providing one-on-one or small group  tutoring services. If you have an interest in expanding your role by gaining more experience within your referred agency, please inform your supervisor. However, be mindful that serving as a classroom teacher needs more specialized skills that the Tutor Training program is not designed to offer.

If you are interested in starting an adult literacy program in your neighborhood, this training provides a useful foundation to build on. Volunteering to tutor for an agency in preparation to start your own is one way to:

  • Gain experience providing adult literacy services
  • Learn the administrative aspects of operating an adult literacy program
  • Formulate ideas on how you want your program to run; and how you don’t
  • Find out what kinds of professional development you may need to improve your abilities

Is a specific agency expecting me to volunteer for them?  Have you shared my contact information with any agency (agencies)? 

How and when will I receive my referral?

I’m having trouble contacting or receiving a call-back from an agency after I’ve left a message; what should I do?

Will Office of Adult Education provide me with continued professional development?

Do I need to commit to a certain number of hours per week or month?

Whom do I tutor?

Is it okay that I am younger/older than most of the learners I will be tutoring?

I am not good at math. Do I still have to tutor it?

Do I need to speak a foreign language to help ESL (English as a Second Language) Learners?

What do tutoring sessions look like?

Where the adult literacy agencies that I would volunteer in are located? And when do they need tutors?

Will the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy provide me with instructional material to use with the learners?

Will I be required to attend additional training once I am matched with an agency?

Will the agency I am referred to have requirements for participation other than the ones The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy have?

Will I receive support from the agency I will be volunteering at? 

Volunteer Tutor Description

Title: Volunteer Tutor

Overall Purpose and Objective of Position:

To offer educational support to adult learners who want to improve their English language, basic literacy, numeracy, and digital skills; and to help learners develop the confidence to pursue their academic, career, family and personal life goals.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have at least High School Diploma or a High School Equivalency Diploma. (For referrals to some providers, a Bachelor’s Degree may be required)
  • Basic Computer and Internet skills.
  • Be able to problem solve when difficulties occur.
  • Demonstrate good reading, writing, listening and communication skills.
  • Be able to relate well to people from diverse backgrounds (cultural, educational, personal).
  • Appreciate learners’ different values and lifestyles.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Be friendly, patient, optimistic and flexible.
  • Be someone who values learning.

Responsibilities:

Duties include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Effectively assist and support individual learners and/or small groups with their academic courses (online and/or face-to-face).
  • Help learner(s) develop confidence and effective learning skills.
  • Involve the learner(s) in decisions about their educational goals.
  • Design participatory and engaging lessons based on the learners’ needs and goals.
  • Select instructional materials and resources based on the learner’s needs and interest.
  • Come to each tutoring session on time and well prepared.
  • Assess and maintain records of each learner’s progress.
  • Periodically, provide the Office of Adult Education with updates on how the tutoring match is going and notify us of any changes to your schedule and availability.
  • Be able to commit 2 to 3 hours per week, usually Monday through Friday in mid-afternoons and early evenings for 6 months or more.

Required Training:

  • Must complete Office of Adult Education tutor training programs (Basic, ASE, ESL and/or Mentor Training), regardless of past tutoring/teaching experience.
  • Must complete any additional orientations/training required by the Office of Adult Education and its partner agencies

For more information, please contact the Volunteer Programs Manager at VolunteersAdultEDU@Phila.gov or 215-686-5250.

FAQ
Volunteer Tutor Job Description

Volunteer Tutor Job Description
Title: Volunteer Tutor
Overall Purpose and Objective of Position:

  • To offer educational support to adult learners who want to improve their basic literacy, numeracy and digital skills in face-to-face, online, and/or blended instructional settings, and thus help these learners get a job, keep a job and advance in their career and personal life
  • Minimum Qualifications:
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have at least a high school diploma or a GED®. However, some college and/or training program experience is a plus.
  • For referrals to some providers, a Bachelor’s Degree may be required.
  • Have basic computer and Internet skills, with access to a reliable computer and Internet
  • Value technology and its ability to enhance learning and teaching
  • Be able to problem solve when difficulties occur online and/or in face-to-face tutoring sessions
  • Demonstrate good reading, writing, listening, communication skills
  • Be willing to share personal contact information with the learner(s) and supervisor
  • Be able to relate well to people from diverse backgrounds ( cultural, educational, personal)
  • Appreciate learners’ different values and lifestyles
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Be friendly, patient, optimistic and flexible

Responsibilities:

Duties include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Effectively assist and support individual learners and/or small groups with their academic courses (online and/or face-to-face)
  • Help learner(s) develop confidence and good learning skills
  • Involve the learner(s) in decisions about their educational/work-related goals
  • Come to each tutoring session on time and well prepared
  • Select adult instructional materials and resources (paper and electronic), based on the learners’ needs and interest
  • Design participatory and engaging lessons that are based on the learner’s needs and work-related goals.
  • Be available to troubleshoot and help students enrolled in online adult literacy courses:

– Help them navigate the learning management system used for online courses
– Answer learners’ questions related to the course content
– Be able and available to meet designated learners and/or conduct synchronous (real-time) tutoring sessions using our learning management system (CANVAS) conferencing system
– Troubleshoot any technical or connectivity issues that may arise
– Reply to online course facilitators’ and/or learners messages (voice and online)

  • Assess and maintain records of each learner’s progress
  • Periodically, provide the Commission with updates on how the tutoring match is going and notify us with any changes to your schedule and availability

Required Training:

  • Must successfully complete all required Mayor’s Commission on Literacy tutor training programs (Basic, and GED/ESL training), regardless of past tutoring/teaching experience
  • Must complete any additional orientations/training required by the Commission and its partner agencies
  • Length of Commitment and Work Hours
  • 4 to 6 months of tutoring commitment
  • 2 to 3 hours per week, usually Monday through Friday in mid-afternoons and early evenings

For more information, please contact Saadia Oulamine, Volunteer Programs Manager, at oulamines@freelibrary.org or 215-686-5252.

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