ELC Volunteer Opportunities

You make a difference

Volunteers are the foundation of the ELC.

All of our classes are taught by dedicated volunteer teachers who come from many different professional and educational backgrounds. In one year, nearly 200 amazing individuals contribute over 6,000 hours of their time, energy, and talent. Join us, and you will share your students’ joy as they meet goals and pursue dreams.

“I like to volunteer because I think the U.S. can be a hard place to learn about, and I want people to feel that it’s a positive experience to be here. The students are so kind and eager to learn…even when I make mistakes!”

– Mary, ELC Volunteer

“I like to volunteer because I think the U.S. can be a hard place to learn about, and I want people to feel that it’s a positive experience to be here. The students are so kind and eager to learn…even when I make mistakes!”

– Mary, ELC Volunteer

Basic Info

Why become an ELC volunteer?

People just like you volunteer at the ELC for many different reasons:

  • Desire to make a real impact in the lives of adult English language learners who came to the United States as immigrants or refugees
  • Passion to learn about diversity of cultures in your neighborhood
  • Interest in language learning and education
  • Opportunity to gain experience for a future career or to just try something new
  • New friends and a fun, vibrant community

The list could go on and on, but don’t take our word for it. We’re happy to put you in contact with one of our current volunteers to give you the inside scoop on volunteering at the ELC!

What do you look for in an ELC volunteer?

ELC volunteers come with diverse gifts, backgrounds, and experiences. However, we have found that certain qualities help to ensure a good fit and positive experience for everyone:

  • Ability to build relationships with people from an exceptionally diverse range of backgrounds
  • Strong verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills
  • Self-motivated with a high degree of initiative and flexibility
  • Understanding of or interest in immigration issues, the U.S. citizenship process, and/or adult basic education and language learning
What are the time commitments and other requirements?

To provide stability for our students, we do ask for a regular time commitment from our teachers and tutors—once a week for 3-4 months (fall, spring, or summer term). Exact dates and class times may be found here.

In order to lead in a classroom, volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Individuals ages 16-18 are welcome to serve as assistant teachers.

Volunteers must also pass a background check. Prior criminal offenses, however, do not automatically disqualify you from participating at the ELC.

Once an application is reviewed, we ask for two non-family member references.

Do I need to have teaching experience?

No experience or background in education required. Staff provides the orientation and ongoing training and support that you need to be successful in your volunteer role. Our English classes use a customized curriculum that provides both support and flexibility for varying levels of experience. If you prefer, you may also choose to co-teach with another volunteer teacher.

All volunteers must attend a 1-2 hour ELC orientation, depending upon volunteer role, as well as a 12-hour training with the Minnesota Literacy Council.

Are there training exemptions from the 12-hour MLC training?

The MLC training is required within 90 days of starting with us. It ensures that volunteers are better prepared to work with their students and results in greater levels of success and overall satisfaction for students and volunteers alike. Only those volunteers who meet one of the following conditions are exempt:

  • Any volunteer tutor who began volunteering prior to July 1, 2006
  • TEFL/TESL certification
  • College degree in ESL or linguistics
  • Current Minnesota K-12 license (Note: Must be a non-expired license, which implies the need for renewal credits to keep current.)
  • Over 400 hours of documented ESL instruction (volunteer or paid teacher) in a program or programs comparable to the Minnesota system ESL programs.
How do I become a volunteer?
3 easy steps to begin volunteering:

  1. Review volunteer opportunities—find the right fit for you.
  2. Complete our online application to begin the process, or email our volunteer coordinators with your availability and interests.
  3. One of our volunteer coordinators will contact you to set up an in person tour and meeting.

Volunteer Opportunities

AM Immediate Openings
  • Beginning English Teacher, Mondays (9:30am – 11:45am)
  • Level 3 English Teacher, Mondays (9:30am – 11:45am)
  • Level 5 English Teacher, Wednesdays OR Thursdays (9:30am – 11:45am)
  • Math 1 and 2 Teacher, Wednesdays (12pm-1pm)
  • Literacy Tutors for all levels, Mondays-Thursdays (9:30am – 11:45am)
PM Immediate Openings
    • English 1 Teacher, Tuesdays OR Thursdays (6:45-8:30pm)
    • English 2A Teacher, Mondays OR Wednesdays OR Thursdays (6:45-8:30pm)
    • English 2B Teacher, Mondays OR Thursdays (6:45-8:30pm)
    • English 3 Teacher, Thursdays (6:45-8:30pm)
    • English 5 Teacher, Tuesdays (6:45-8:30pm)
    • Math 1 Teacher, Wednesdays (5:30-6:30pm)
    • Math 2 Teacher, Tuesdays (5:30-6:30pm)
    • Math 3 Teacher, Thursdays (5:30-6:30pm)
    • Math 4A Teacher, Mondays OR Thursdays (5:30-6:30pm)
    • Math 4B Teacher, Thursdays (5:30-6:30pm)
    English Teacher
    • Lead one class of 8-12 adult students (pre-literate to advanced ESL)
    • Work with the ELC life and work skills-based curriculum
    • Communicate with other teachers of your level
    • Evaluate students’ skills at end of term
    • Assess and record students’ progress
    Math Teacher
    • Lead one class of 6-12 adult students (pre-literate to advanced ESL)
    • Work with the ELC life and work skills-based curriculum
    • Communicate with other teachers of your level
    • Teach to students’ individual needs and learning paces
    • Assess and record students’ progress
    Citizenship Teacher
    • Lead one class of 8-12 adult students (pre-literate to advanced ESL)
    • Work with ELC citizenship curriculum
    • Communicate with other citizenship teachers
    • Provide multilevel instruction for students
    Conversation Circle or Reading Circle Teacher
    • Lead reading or conversation-focused group of 3-5 adults with similar English levels
    • Create weekly 1-hour lessons or supplement provided curriculum as appropriate for individual students
    • Assess and record students’ progress and report back to staff
    Distance Learning Teacher
    • Assist students one-on-one, or in small groups, with class assignments, projects, and personal computer use
    • Determine students’ computer-related goals and find interactive and creative ways to meet those goals together
    Literacy Tutor
    • Work one-on-one with students during English class to provide focused, individualized instruction
    • Create 20-30 minute mini-lessons focused on developing reading skills
    • Assist with test prep and classroom activities as needed
    • Document and communicate student progress with fellow tutors and ELC staff
    Group Opportunities

    If you are seeking a group opportunity, please contact our Volunteer Coordinators.

    We also have a number of group volunteer activities with our sister program in Our Saviour’s Community Services, Our Saviour’s Housing, so please check us out there!

    Non-teaching Opportunities

    Want to help but not teach? Don’t see what you’re looking for?

    Fear not! Contact our Volunteer Coordinators for additional options. Also consider supporting the ELC with a financial gift or material donation.

    Ready to Volunteer?

    Thank you for choosing to make a difference through education. We can’t wait to meet you and get started!
    For questions or further information:

    Hayat Mohamed (AM) &
    Hannah Smith (PM)
    Volunteer Coordinators
    volunteer@englishlc.org
    612.874.9963×2

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    2315 Chicago Ave. So.
    Minneapolis, MN 55404

    Phone | 612.871.5900
    Fax | 612.871.0017

    communications@oscs-mn.org

    Our Saviour's Housing

    2219 Chicago Ave. So.
    Minneapolis, MN 55404

    Phone | 612.872.4193
    Fax | 612.872.4442

    English Learning Center

    2315 Chicago Ave. So.
    Minneapolis, MN 55404

    Phone | 612.874.9963
    Fax | 612.871.0017