What To Expect
Can you smile and speak English? You’re qualified!
You will sit shoulder to shoulder with an adult refugee student as they work on English lessons on the computer. You will celebrate their progress and assist in moving the computer program forward. Although we call you an Encourager, you will be the one encouraged as you experience the tenacity of our students as they learn. They are not learning English as a hobby, but because their lives and their families’ lives depend on it. It truly is inspiring.
When you arrive for the first time, we will let you observe other Encouragers as they partner with an adult student during an English lesson taught by the computer. After a few minutes, we will introduce you to a student. We will help facilitate a simple greeting and friendly connection and then you begin the English lesson by following the prompts on the computer screen. In just a few minutes, you will go from being unfamiliar with each other to a team working on a project together.
Yes. After 30 minutes of computer lessons, we will take a short break and do a group learning activity. The group time is led by one of our staff and there is no preparation needed from your side. The lessons taught during this group time usually include discussion on a specific focus topic or a citizenship question and answer and sometimes a game or competition. After 15 minutes or so, you will return to the computer to finish the planned lesson for another 30 minutes.
No. Each student is at a different level of learning. Some are true beginners and don’t know how to read or write in their own language and they may have spent their whole life in a refugee camp before coming to the United States. Others have a basic command of spoken English but cannot read or write.
We are not looking for good teachers, but good friends. We will never ask you to explain what a noun or verb is. We won’t ask you to teach the class. We will do everything we can to help you connect relationally to your new friend. Don’t be surprised if after 3 or 4 times of volunteering, you are invited to their home for a child’s birthday party or similar celebration. After all, in the living room is where real friendships happen.
Start by clicking on the Volunteer Tab and give us your information. Our staff will contact you and give you specific instructions about where to go and what time to show up. We don’t expect you to commit to volunteering on a regular basis without trying it out first, so join for one session and see what you think.
If you can smile, speak English and are at least 17 years of age, you are qualified.
Yes. Ideally, we would like for all of our volunteers to attend a Discovery Day before volunteering, although it is not required. Discovery Day is our one-day orientation to GoTEN that will give you a better understanding of GoTEN’s vision, mission and ministry.