Frequently Asked Questions – Prospective Tutors
The only requirements for becoming a tutor with LVCC are that you have a high school diploma or a GED and that you successfully complete our tutor training workshop. You need no prior teaching or tutoring experience, nor do you need knowledge of other languages.
LVCC is looking for people who have the time and desire to help others improve and/or develop English language skills such as speaking, pronunciation, reading, writing, conversation, comprehension, spelling, and so forth. If you can spare a few hours a week (usually between 2 to 3 hours including tutoring and preparation time) and have the compassion and patience to work with motivated people who are striving to improve their lives and become more productive members of our community, then you are likely a qualified candidate.
We hold several tutor training workshops throughout the year. The workshops are held at the LVCC offices at 8833 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, Florida 34113. A workshop consists of an orientation session and three half day sessions . A tutor trainee is required to attend all four sessions in order to receive a tutor certificate and be assigned a student.
Tutor workshops are held at various times of day throughout the year. We try to accommodate everyone who might be interested in tutoring by holding some workshops in the morning, some in the afternoon or evening, and some on Saturdays. Please call 262-4448 ext 304 to get a list of upcoming workshops.
The workshop sessions involve instructor lectures and inter-active discussion with and between the trainees. Tutor handbooks with session agendas, reading materials, tutoring hints and recommendations, resource materials, and so forth are provided to each participant. Text books and other materials are also handed out during classes. While some “homework” is required, it is minimal, but helpful.
There are no set requirements for when tutoring sessions are held. It depends on both you and your student’s personal schedules and what you can work out between you. We attempt to pair tutors and students based on the information given us about the preferred days, timeframes, and locations for both parties. We recommend that you try to meet at least twice a week for a total of 2-3 hours per week. We have found that sessions lasting more than 2 hours often are tiring to the student as well as the tutor and can be counterproductive. Likewise, sessions lasting less than an hour often produce few positive results . Also, because continuity is extremely important to successful tutoring, we ask that you be prepared to tutor for at least a year.
The tutoring experience actually has two parts. “Tutoring” is time you spend with the student in the actual tutoring sessions. In essence, it is the time spent teaching and working directly with the student. However, there is a preliminary part – something done before tutoring is accomplished. That is “preparation.” That is the time a tutor spends getting ready for the tutoring session. As in most learning environments, it is usually desirable that the teacher spend some time prior to the actual “classroom” experience in planning what is to be covered during the session, what the desired objectives of the session will be, and what learning materials and aides will be used. This need not be an onerous or major chore, however, it pays major dividends. A little preparation makes the tutoring session much easier and more productive.
I understand most, if not all, of your students are speakers of other languages. I have little or no foreign language experience. Is that a problem?
Not at all. The purpose of LVCC is to help students learn English. “Total emersion” is a good way to achieve this. In fact, it is our experience that if a tutor is familiar with the student’s native language and incorporates it into the tutoring process, human nature tends to lead the student to gravitate toward his/her native language at the expense of learning English. So lack of experience in the student’s native language is not an issue.
How would I know what to include in the tutoring sessions? Is there a specific curriculum that LVCC uses?
LVCC’s tutoring program is focused on meeting the individual student’s goals and objectives. Therefore, each student presents a unique challenge and requires an individual approach to helping him or her achieve their desired results. There is no “cookie cutter” curriculum, “one-size-fits-all” teaching plan, or all-encompassing lesson template for tutors to follow. One of the tutor’s first responsibilities is to meet with their student to discuss and determine what the student’s goals and objectives are. Some students have very clear goals – they want to speak better English in order to get a promotion, they want to read stories in English to their children, they want to pass the citizenship test, they want to get their GED, they want to be able to communicate with their doctor, etc. Others, however, may be more general and “want to learn better English.” Helping to better define their objectives will help determine how you will tutor them and on what areas you need to focus your efforts. The tutor training you receive in the workshop will help guide you in this area.
Unless you had some specific request or requirement for a student, you would be paired with someone on our student waiting list based primarily on how long they have been waiting (we try to place students on a “first come, first served” basis) and their compatibility with your preferred days, times, and location for tutoring.
The vast majority of our students are of Hispanic background with Spanish being their native language. However, we have a diverse clientele with people from Haiti, Asia (China, Vietnam, Korea), East Europe (Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Serbia), the Middle East, and Western Europe. Our students are adults, with the majority between the ages of 25 and 45. About 75% are female. English skills range from extremely basic to advanced, with the majority in the basic to low-intermediate levels. Many have been educated in their native countries; some with college and advanced degrees. Others have had little education and may not be literate in their native language.
This is a question best answered by your tax adviser. The IRS does allow a deduction for mileage when a vehicle is used for charitable purposes (i.e., traveling to and from tutoring sessions or to and from the LVCC offices), but you should get professional advice concerning expenses/costs you may incur.
I'm a part-time resident, only in the Naples area during the winter months. What tutoring opportunities are available for me?
The vast majority of our tutoring is done one-on-one, one student with one tutor, and most of our students have limited English skills. This means that the tutoring process could be lengthy. (That is why we ask that tutors plan to commit at least one year to their effort.) We find that placing a student in a tutoring experience where the learning process will be interrupted after four to six months with a hiatus of several months before learning starts again is frustrating and unproductive for the student. Therefore, we look for full-time residents to fill the majority of these needs.
However, there definitely are tutoring opportunities for part-time residents. Some students have very narrowly focused or short-term goals and objectives that fit into the schedule of a part-time resident, even on a one-on-one basis. Also, there are small group classes that may need short-term tutoring assistance or that could be set up during your time in Naples. Contact the office to see what opportunities may be available.
That is something that is worked out between the student and the tutor. We recommend that it be a location convenient and accessible to both of you and, at least initially, a public place, like a library, a community building, a mall, and so forth. Ideally, it should be a place where you can interact with your student and be heard without too many distractions or potentially bothering others. A list of possible tutoring locations is provided in the Tutor Training Workshop Handbook and discussed during the training sessions. The LVCC offices also offer rooms for tutoring; however, space is very limited and should be reserved ahead of time. Holding sessions in your or your student’s home is not recommended to preclude any hint of impropriety, but location is something that should be mutually agreeable to both of you . Many of our students have limited financial resources and may have to rely on public transportation, bicycle, walking, or a ride from others to get to the tutoring location. This should be kept in mind when determining where to meet.