Tutor Qualifications & Responsibilities

ESL tutors help adult immigrants learn to speak, understand, read, and write English to meet self-identified goals and become linguistically self-reliant. They help newcomers to access the information and services they need to live safe and productive lives, to raise healthy families, and to become full participants in the community.

Applications are available online. Contact our ESL Coordinator at ESL@joneslibrary.org or 413-259-3093 for more information.


  • Fluency in English
  • Good listening skills
  • Interest in other cultures and sensitivity to cultural differences

Start-Up Responsibilities

  • Complete a 7-hour online training
  • Meet with coordinator to choose a student
  • Meet student to arrange weekly schedule and begin assessing needs/interests of student
  • "Check in" with coordinator after first 2 tutoring sessions to discuss progress

Tutoring Schedule

  • Meet twice weekly for 45-90 minutes
  • Be clear and consistent in agreeing upon/communicating about tutoring schedule. (Make sure both you and your student have it in writing.)
  • Meet regularly and punctually at agreed-upon meeting times. Contact student if you are unable to meet at regular time or if student does not show up (to find out why). Contact ESL Coordinator if this happens more than twice in row or if student tells you he/she does not want to continue with tutoring sessions.
Note: It's fine to skip a session or two because of a vacation, health problem, or other commitment, just make sure that the next meeting time is clearly agreed upon.

Tutoring Responsibilities

  • Prepare individualized lessons based on the needs and interests of student.  (Most tutors will be using an ESL curriculum series that provides step-by-step instructions.)
  • Encourage student by praising him/her for his/her efforts, expressing confidence in the student's ability to learn, and displaying a positive attitude about learning.
  • Respect student and involve him/her in decisions about the learning process.
  • Guide student in understanding American culture (and in making decisions on how to adapt to it if requested). When requested, help student to navigate through U.S. systems and institutions that may be unfamiliar.
  • Check in with the ESL Coordinator every 3 months (for the first year) to discuss your progress and/or any problems you're having.
  • Notify the ESL Coordinator if:
    • You would like suggestions on selecting/adapting materials, finding a different teaching strategy, advising your student on educational/employment options, etc.
    • Your student is in need of services unrelated to ESL tutoring and you want a referral.
    • Your student is not attending regular sessions anymore.
    • There is something going on that you do not understand and that makes you uncomfortable.
    • You think you would be more effective in a different tutoring situation.
    • You need a reference.
    • You must end your volunteer service.