We are a group of ESL-ers in Cleveland Ohio who are trying to teach refugees and immigrants basic survival English.

We invite you to join us with your posts.
We will try to put articles of interest to those of you who share your talents and time with the newly arrived in our cities.

Some of our students learning.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Recruiting Volunteers

Having trouble getting people to commit to teaching ESL. Heres some tips for getting those volunteers.

Have job descriptions for each position you want to fill.
People want to know exactly what they are commiting to. What are their duties? How long of a time commitment? What type of support might they expect? What is the teaching environment like?

List time opportunities that you want to fill.
Have a list of the possible time frames you wish to conduct the classes. If there is a choice it is usually easier for volunteers to choose the best fit.

Set dates for information workshops and training workshops.
Have workshop times available when you are recruiting so the volunteers can immediately respond and enroll in a workshop.

Ask local churches to review their members and recommend possible talents and interests.
Try to talk with someone who works with volunteers; Give them the requirements of the type of person you need. Giving personality characteristics, and personal skills needed help to find people who fit. Just saying you need a "volunteer ESL teacher" really limits the selection.

Advertise in local papers, church newsletters, the web and handouts and flyers.
Use whatever methods you can find to get the word out for what you are looking for. Make use of whatever free mailings and postings you can find. Having a blog or a facebook page can help as well in todays world.

Give potential volunteers an email address to make it easy for them to respond.
Giving people an immediate way to contact someone is the best thing. It establishes a relationship and also helps them to feel like they have support. It also gives them a place to ask questions. NOTE: Someone needs to be checking that email daily and answering. There is nothing worse than volunteering and having no one contact you.

Make sure you state that it is NOT necessary to be a certified teacher or to speak a foreign language.
Most people are afraid that they are not skilled enough to teach English. Make sure it is understood that if you can speak it, you can teach or help with basic survival English.

Make your advertising simple and appealing.

Instead of saying we need teacher assistants…say

Are you friendly? Do you like to help people? or for resource gatherers:
Do you love to google? or Do you go to garage sales and look for bargains?
There are many ways people can help with ESL classes other than just teaching.

Include pictures of classes and the immigrants or refugees.
Pictures of smiling immigrants are sure to catch the eye and maybe the heart of your volunteers.