Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about being a volunteer with Friends of Literacy.
If you have any specific questions, please call our office or submit an email through our website here.
1. Where will I be volunteering?
One of the great things about volunteering with Friends of Literacy is that we have so many options for our students-- which results in a lot of options for our volunteers. We currently have GED / HiSET classes at 4 different locations, 1 adult reading class, and multiple locations for working with ESL students. After you complete volunteer training, you can sign up for the opportunity that best fits your life.
2. What is the schedule like?
We offer both daytime and evening class options for our students, and some 1-on-1 tutoring opportunities will allow you and your student to work out a schedule that works for the both of you. After you complete volunteer training, you can sign up for the opportunity that best fits your life.
3. Will I be tutoring on my own, or will I have help?
Most of our volunteers begin by tutoring in a classroom, assisting a teacher and possibly leading small groups or working 1-on-1. You can choose to tutor 1-on-1 outside of class if you feel comfortable, but even then the student will have class work from their teacher for you to assist them with. Some ESL volunteering opportunities need volunteers who can work independently, and from time to time we need volunteers to serve as lead teachers. You will never be asked to volunteer in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
4. I've never been a tutor before. Is that ok?
Absolutely! All it takes to be a good tutor is time and a willingness to help (along with meeting our basic requirements). Our students benefit greatly from the sense that someone is helping them by learning along side them. If you care about people and want to help, then we want you!
5. Will I have to tutor anyone in subject areas in which I do not feel confident?
If you are tutoring in a GED / HiSET class, there may be some cross-over from time to time depending on students needs, but for the most part we try and place you as a "math tutor" or a "language tutor" in a corresponding class as needed. Also, your students will come to trust you and respect you, so they may ask for help in areas other than which you usually tutor them. If you ever feel uncomfortable or out of your depth, let the teacher you're working with know so we can help you be more effective or find a better solution for the student.
6. What is the HiSET?
The HiSET is a more affordable alternative to the GED test, which has undergone significant changes in the past few years. The State of Tennessee grants a High School Equivalency Diploma to students who meet the requirements and pass the GED or the HiSET test, and there is no distinction between the credentials received. For more information, read our guide What Is a High School Equivalency Diploma?
7. Why is there a required donation for the training workshop?
Friends of Literacy is a very small privately-funded non-profit, meaning we get by on private foundation grants, donations, and fundraisers. Each volunteer leaves our training with a notebook of take-home materials and an open door policy for using FOL's curriculum resources in the future. The cost of all of this adds up. In the past, we had issues with volunteers attending the workshop, receiving the materials, and then never following through to become a volunteer. By making a donation when you attend training, you ensure our ability to offer a high-quality volunteer training program well into the future. If you are absolutely unable to pay the training fee but still want to help, please contact the program director, as accommodations can be made.