Tutor Job Description

Your primary goal as a tutor is to help an adult improve their literacy skills. For Basic Literacy tutors the primary focus is on improving reading and writing skills, and sometimes basic math and numeracy skills. For ESL tutors the primary focus is on improving their students’ skills in reading, writing, and speaking English. Both categories of tutors will need to build a ladder of successful learning experiences, as success builds the self-confidence needed by the learner to tackle challenging material, to be willing to try something new, to risk failure, and to understand that mistakes are a part of the learning process.

Before getting started, think carefully. Tutoring is challenging work. Are you prepared to follow through on this program? Your respect for and commitment to the adult learner are essential ingredients in the success-building process.


  • For Basic Literacy, the primary purpose is to help adults in the Santa Fe area acquire basic reading and writing skills and to use those skills to meet self-identified goals, such as job advancement, further academic study, or improved parenting skills.
  • For ESL, the primary purpose is to help adults in the Santa Fe area acquire or improve their conversational English skills and to use those skills to meet self-identified goals, such as job advancement, citizenship, or improved parenting skills.


The literacy tutor training workshop, specific to whichever specialization you have chosen, Basic Literacy or ESL, is required; participation in periodic in-service training sessions is voluntary but encouraged.

Place of Work:

One-to-one and/or small-group tutoring will occur in a location agreeable to both parties, such as Santa Fe Community College, libraries, and worksites.


Volunteer tutors and students should meet once or twice weekly for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  This will easily be a 4 to 6 hour commitment each week, considering lesson preparation and travel time.

Duration of Work:

Minimum of 9 to 12 months.


  • Prepare for all scheduled meetings by planning lessons designed specifically for the student, selecting materials and approaches that are suitable to the student’s skill level and needs.
  • Meeting regularly and punctually.
  • Provide encouragement and support by:
    • Helping the student develop confidence and a positive attitude toward learning by affirming their progress.
    • Showing respect by listening to the student’s decisions about the learning process.
    • Giving praise whenever the student is successful and being supportive rather than critical of mistakes.
    • Seeking to understand the psychological, emotional and physical problems that may cause a student to have difficulty learning.
    • Keeping staff informed of situations in which referral to an outside agency is appropriate.
  • Keep careful records of your tutoring hours, preparation hours and your student’s progress and report these on a monthly basis to the office.
  • Have fun!

“Tutoring has given me a sense of purpose that has redefined my life. The more that I put into it, the more that I get out.”

Mark Alexander

Volunteer Qualifications:

  1. Literate (but professional training is unnecessary).  ESL tutors are NOT required to be bilingual.
  2. Dependable and prompt.
  3. Friendly and enjoys relating to a variety of people in a non-judgmental and accepting way.
  4. Patient and optimistic.
  5. Respectful of confidentiality of lessons.
  6. Pass the SFCC background check required of all tutors and other volunteers.
  7. Good humored.

Fringe Benefits:

  1. Heightened perception of the world.
  2. Increased understanding and appreciation of different values and lifestyles.
  3. Increased skill in creative problem solving.

Program Responsibilities:

Literacy Volunteers of Santa Fe, in conjunction with Santa Fe Community College, will provide training, teaching materials, support and supervision of volunteer tutors.