Frequently Asked Questions
What does LVSF stand for (yes, we get that all the time)? LVSF stands for Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe. We have been in operation for 27 years!
How do I become an LVSF tutor? All potential tutors receive an interest packet which includes: a cover letter, volunteer tutor job descriptions for BL and ESL tutors, and a tutor application. You should review this packet in detail to determine if you want to apply as a volunteer with us; applicants must send in their application via e-mail or online application, link here below (resumes appreciated). Your application will be reviewed by a literacy coordinator and an interview will be set. If you are accepted to volunteer with LVSF, you then register for a 20 hour tutor training workshop. You may begin tutoring after the first 18 hours of training is completed. The final two hours of training happens after you are matched (ideally) with your student or group. This is our follow up training where you are also granted official certification as a Literacy Volunteer of Santa Fe! Tutor Application Form
What is the difference between English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring and a Basic Literacy (BL) tutoring?
ESL Tutoring: ESL tutoring serves students from all over the world in learning to speak, read and write in English. ESL students range from those who cannot read or write in any language due to lack of schooling, to those with gaps in their native language and education, to those with advanced degrees in their home countries. We have students from nearly every continent, but the majority of our ESL students are Spanish-speakers from Mexico. ESL students are usually served in similarly-leveled groups of 2-10 students. There are three ESL programs: community ESL (for students working toward various language goals), citizenship ESL (for students seeking to pass the U.S. citizenship exam), and workplace ESL (takes place at request of employer or employees for work-based language goals).
BL Tutoring: Basic Literacy tutoring serves students who are native English speakers or proficient English speakers, but who are reading AT OR BELOW the 6th grade level. BL tutoring usually happens in a one-to-one setting so tutors and students are matched in pairs and tutor throughout the community. BL tutoring also happens within Adult Basic Education (ABE) pre-GED classrooms or the ABE computer lab where many BL students attend class. BL tutors in this setting may end up working with different students. Pre-GED classes occur at Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), Hopewell Community Center, and SER Jobs for Progress.
Do I need to speak a second language in order to become an ESL tutor? No. It is not necessary to speak a second language to teach someone English. You will learn techniques and tricks of the trade in your training. If you speak a second language it can be helpful depending upon how it is used. The primary goal is to teach English using English and other creative techniques.
How do I become an LVSF student? All potential students need to make an orientation appointment or attend an orientation session with a literacy coordinator. This orientation includes: filling out an application, having an interview, reviewing student guidelines, setting goals, taking a test, and deciding upon a schedule. If no tutors are immediately available you will be placed on a waiting list. Contact LVSF at (505) 428-1353
How long is the commitment for tutors? All new tutors must commit to tutoring for 9-12 months. Sometimes this is not consecutive if the tutor has set plans or interferences. Some tutors choose to wait to start tutoring for a few weeks or months after the training. This is fine with us since we have limited training dates and a continual influx of students. We can always match you later! We do however depend upon you fulfilling your 9-12 month commitment to help us meet our growing needs. Many of our tutors end up tutoring with us year after year! Also, you must be prepared to tutor for a minimum of 2 hours per week plus lesson preparation and travel time. This may be a total of 4-6 hours of volunteer time per week. Remember, the more time you give to your students, the sooner they will reach their goals!
How long of a commitment is required of students? All students are asked to make a commitment of 6 months to one year in order to acheive their personal goals. Students must commit to tutoring at least 2 hours per week. If you cannot attend a tutoring session or you will arrive late, you must call your tutor just as you would call an employer at a job. Three unexcused absences may result in being dismissed by your tutor.
Where does tutoring take place? Tutoring takes place in a variety of public places, and with exception, in homes:
Community ESL tutoring happens at Santa Fe Community College, at all Santa Fe Public Libraries, at Santa Fe Public Schools, at other colleges, at various churches, at coffee shops, at community centers and at any public place where both the tutor and student(s) are comfortable.
Workplace ESL tutoring happens on-site at a student’s workplace. This type of tutoring usually comes at the request of the employer and an agreement is made with a workplace supervisor as to the time and location of the tutoring group. We also try to negotiate for employee release time for the students to be fully or partially compensated for attending ESL lessons.
NOTE: Neighborhood Tutoring: We do not allow tutoring in student or tutor homes unless a waiver is requested and approved by the executive director based on transportation issues or a verifiable disability.
How long will it be before I am matched with a student/tutor? The matching process for the tutor usually takes 2-6 weeks after the tutor training. It can take longer if the tutor has requested to start later. The student may wait for 1 week up to a few months to be matched with a tutor who fits their schedule and needs.
Do I have to provide my own tutoring materials? No, LVSF will provide you with books and materials to begin tutoring that are based on your students’ levels. We have a lending library in our office and you are welcome to peruse and borrow any of those materials as well. We do ask that you and your students refrain from writing in materials so they can be reused. We have a limited materials budget.
Will I be with the same student or group for my entire 9-12 months of tutoring? Maybe! Sometimes tutors and students continue together year after year and sometimes they make a short term commitment to one another. Students are required to spend from one semester up to a 6 month minimum tutoring with us. The length of the mutual commitment depends on the students’ goals and how long it takes them to complete those goals. If you cannot fulfill your commitment to your student(s) you must give us two weeks’ notice so that we may find a replacement tutor for you.
What if I don’t feel comfortable with the student or tutor I’m matched with? If a student or a tutor do not feel comfortable together, they have the right to be asked to be re-matched. This is no problem, but it may mean you will be placed on a waiting list before you receive another tutor or student.
What paperwork or reporting is required to be an LVSF tutor? Thanks for asking! We MUST receive your tutoring hours with student initials at the end of each month. Our funding depends on this! We also need you to complete goals worksheets with your students when you first begin tutoring them and before June 30 of each year. Lastly, we depend on your support in helping to test students.
What if I’m going on vacation or need to leave town? If you are a tutor and you are going to miss a class or series of classes, we prefer you to find a substitute tutor whenever possible. However, you and your students may also agree to take a break if that works best. If you are a student, you should notify your tutor in advance if you will be going on vacation or leaving town.