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Volunteers in Teaching Adults (VITA)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the VITA philosophy?

What is the VITA program?

ESL Tutors

Literacy Tutors

Who are the tutors?

Who are the learners?

When and where are tutors needed?

What are the qualifications?

How are tutors assisted?

What have learners said about the VITA program?

What have tutors said about the VITA program?

How do I volunteer to tutor in the VITA program?



What is the VITA philosophy?
A VITA tutor makes a difference. Tutors enhance learners’ confidence in themselves as their knowledge and skills increase. Tutors enable the professional teachers to be more productive and creative in responding to the special needs and goals of adult learners. VITA means life. VITA gives life to learners, volunteer tutors and the community.

 

What is the VITA program?
We offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adult non-native speakers of English who need to acquire listening, speaking, reading and writing skills necessary to function in their new American culture. We also offer a Learn to Read to Learn (LTRTL) literacy program for adult native speakers and ESL adults who need to improve their reading and writing skills in pursuit of specific life goals.

VITA tutors work with the teachers in both the ESL and LTRTL programs. VITA tutors respond in an individualized way to the educational and personal needs of these adults.

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ESL Tutors
Work with the teachers in the classroom tutor individual adults who have special needs
Teach small groups of adults who learn more easily in a small group setting 

 

Literacy Tutors
Under the guidance of a master instructor/facilitator, teach one-on-one or small groups of adults in a classroom setting.

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Who are the tutors?
Homemakers
Professionals
Business people
Retirees
College students

 

Who are the learners?
Our learners are adults ranging in age from 16 to 75. Both American-born and English as a Second Language (ESL) adults need help learning to read and write. Other ESL adults also need to learn to understand and speak English. They are all enthusiastic learners!

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When and where are tutors needed?
Tutors can volunteer weekdays, evenings or Saturdays. Classes are held at Oakton’s Skokie campus, various schools and businesses, public libraries, churches and synagogues, a YMCA and a shopping mall. Tutors volunteer two to six hours per week each term.

 

What are the qualifications?
Ability to read and write English
Empathy for others
Warmth and enthusiasm
Patience
Acceptance of cultural differences
Sense of humor
Dependability
Flexibility
Willingness to learn
Willingness to listen
Knowledge of a foreign language is NOT necessary.

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How are tutors assisted?
Interview
On-site observation
Pre-service workshops
Guidance of teachers and staff
Peer support
In-service workshops 

 

What have learners said about the VITA program?
“They are our friends as well as our tutors.” —Chinese student

“I appreciate from my heart every VITA teacher who donates precious time to us, listens to our inadequate English patiently and gives us proper advice.” —Japanese student

“My tutor has renewed my trust in my fellow human beings. There is still sharing and kindness in the world.” —Israeli student

“The VITA tutors teach us English with love and devotion.” —Italian student

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What have tutors said about the VITA program?
“Tutoring is one of the most fulfilling things a person can do because it helps people learn. What is more important?”

“Tutoring is a win-win situation. Because I help others learn and grow, I also learn and grow and feel terrific in the process.”

“If I can make a small difference in the lives of a few people by helping them to read, that is my reward.”

“Though the expression is trite, I truly believe that I get far more than I give.”

 

How do I volunteer to tutor in the VITA program? 

  • Contact the office for interview appointment.

    Call 847.635.1426 or
    E-mail Elizabeth Tharp at etharp@oakton.edu or
    Visit the office (Room B111, Skokie campus)
  • Attend the (four) required training workshops at the Ray Hartstein Campus.

    Tuesday, June 17, 6 – 9:45 p.m.
    Thursday, June 19, 6 – 9:45 p.m.
    Wednesday, July 16, 6 – 8:30 p.m.
    Wednesday, July 23, 6 - 9 p.m.

 

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Introduction to Spanish for Health Care Workers Age 50 and Over
Learn how to converse with Spanish-speaking patients and guests in any health care setting.
Wednesdays, Sept. 3 - Nov. 5
Space is limited!
Register by Aug. 22 for the reduced fee of $79.
(After Aug. 22, fee is $100)

Offered through the American Association of Community Colleges Plus 50 Encore Completion Program.

Online Flexible Registration System
Register using our online Flexible Registration system with its shopping cart functionality. The online registration system serves as a convenient method to search, register, and pay for classes. Visit our How to Register page and find out more.