Organizations like the International Institute of New England constantly adjust their programming to best meet the needs of current students -- and that means that volunteers have to adjust, too. For me, that means no more computer lab. Now, I'm tutoring, which means doing similar work, without the laptops.
After months of English classes during the winter, many students are now finding their first jobs (we even practice job interviewing at IINE), and the incoming students often have no English, either reading or speaking. For these new students, one-to-one tutoring can really help augment and reinforce their classroom lessons.
Volunteer tutors work with as many as four students at a time, though most often it's one or two students per tutor. First, at the request of the teachers, we review the lessons the students did in class that morning, and sometimes we also review the lessons from the day before. Then, we're free to roam through any subjects. I've been working with a man from Sudan, and we have been talking about the countries of Africa, job interview skills, working as a prep cook, and the difference between cities in the United States (is Boston bigger than Texas?). We talk about the difference between area and population. We talk about the weather. We review counting money. There's even a great packet of material with photographs of cleaning products, and we talk about how to use each one. Every week is a little bit different, and every week we tutors get to encourage, and praise, and teach, and give our students one more tool to use on their journey in this new world.