ESL Teachers and Aides

Canal Alliance is looking for volunteers to serve in our ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. We have been running English classes since the 1980's, and currently offer instruction to 600 students per semester in a variety of levels. The classes consist of mostly Latino immigrants, with a few students of other ethnicities. The students, all adults, are a pleasure to work with -- motivated, good-humored, and grateful for your help. The response you get from them is enthusiastic and immediate; new volunteers are often amazed by the energy and good will that come out of each class. The experience is not only fun, but deeply gratifying as you see students make strides in their English proficiency.

We need both teachers and classroom aides. Each teacher designs their own lessons; we provide books, supplementary materials, supplies, and everything else needed to run a class. Aides do a variety of things in the class: they assist students individually and in groups, they help the teacher model dialogues, they check student work and give the students feedback, and so on.

Most of our teachers come with some prior training or classroom experience. For aides, no experience is necessary -- just a desire to engage with students and help them work on their English skills. In both positions, you don't have to speak Spanish.

We run classes in the fall from early September to mid-December; in the spring from late January to early May; and in the summer from late May until mid-July. Volunteers sign up for one term at a time. A typical commitment is to do one class per week, lasting two hours. Most of our classes are in San Rafael's Canal neighborhood, but we also run some classes in Novato and other locations. We have weekday classes starting at 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., plus Saturday classes at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

If you'll be out of town from time to time, that is not a problem; we have a list of subs who can fill in for you while you are away. On the flip side, if you can’t make a regular weekly commitment, we can use you as a sub teacher or aide, coming in a day here and a day there. For being a sub, there is no minimum commitment, and for many people that is a good initial introduction to the program.

Interested? Contact Martin Steinman, ESL Manager, at 415-306-0425 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . In the meantime, Click Here to see more detailed information about our ESL program.


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