ESOL Program for MIT Service Employees

The English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) Program for MIT Service Employees on campus helps employees who are not native English speakers improve their English communication skills and advance their careers.

Currently serving campus employees in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Facilities and Housing and Residential Life Services, the program provides the following:

  • Year-round ESL classes for all three working shifts at MIT.
  • Support services for employees seeking to gain U.S. citizenship.
  • Classes for job-specific licensing and certificate exams.
  • Classes and preparation for the General Educational Development (GED) and the Adult Diploma Program (ADP).

How the Program Works

The ESOL program provides one hour of one-on-one tutoring once or twice a week during the day, evening, or night.

The goals of the program are to build students’ confidence, help them become more productive in their jobs, and perhaps open up further opportunities for advancement.

The students work the day, evening, and night shifts. Our students include native speakers of Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, and Tibetan. Student skills and levels vary. 

One-on-one tutoring is offered to employees who work the day, evening, and night shifts. They receive one hour off from work, twice a week, to attend tutoring at the following times:

  • Day shift: Monday-Friday between 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Evening shift:  between 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Night shift:  11:00 pm – 12 midnight

Now Seeking Volunteers

We're looking for volunteers who can tutor employees for one hour per week or to substitute. No experience is required, just a good command of English and an interest in helping individuals whose first language is not English.

The time commitment for a regular tutor is one hour-long session a week. Time spent preparing for tutoring will vary.  We have a list of substitutes and request as much advance notice as possible when you need to miss a session.

If you are a substitute, please consider visiting a class (or classes if possible) before being called to substitute. This is a good way to get to know the students you may potentially tutor.

Although we try to cover basic grammar, reading comprehension, writing, and speaking, these are not academic classes. No homework is expected nor required.  More important is building a relationship with the students to help them develop confidence in their English communication.

In addition to improving speaking, reading, and writing skills, classes may also prepare students for licensing exams related to their jobs, the US Citizenship test, the GED and the ADP.

MIT employees, faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, MIT Women's League members, retirees and friends of MIT all volunteer to participate as tutors in this growing service endeavor, which richly rewards tutors as well as learners.

Resources are provided, though the tutor is encouraged to use any materials they find appropriate. We have books and other teaching materials at various levels and can purchase books for students and teachers as needed. In addition, the ESOL wiki has an abundance of materials.

This is an opportunity to make a real and positive difference. Contact Nancy Kelly at esl-admins@mit.edu or 781-296-7600 with questions or to volunteer. 

Learn More