Spoon River College’s Adult Education Office is seeking volunteer tutors for students in their GED®, ESL (English as a Second Language), and Adult Literacy classes. The classes are offered at all four SRC locations—Canton, Havana, Macomb, and Rushville, and volunteers are needed at each location.

In the ESL classes, tutors will help students improve their reading, writing, speaking, listening skills, and in learning about American culture.

“There are so many things my students don’t understand. Idioms such as ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ make no sense to them. Customs we take for granted are very unfamiliar to those from other countries,” said Cyndi Johnston, adult education program coordinator and ESL teacher. “English is taught in almost every country in the world and most of our students can read and write English at varying levels but have trouble actually speaking it, which impacts their ability to communicate in social and business situations.”

Johnston’s students are from all over the world. Some have already earned degrees in their homelands, but they aren’t recognized in the US. “All of my students are fascinating, intelligent, and hard-working.  They are far from home and struggling to communicate in an unfamiliar land.”

Former student Ava Aoyagi of Japan took advantage of the ESL classes during her three-year stay in America and said she “discovered much more than how to speak, write, and read English.” She learned how to sell her car, how to open a bank account, and “just exactly what a garage sale really is.”

The GED® program is open to those who are 17 years or older and withdrawn from high school, providing a second chance for them to earn their high school equivalency.

“When you’re 17 and making bad decisions it’s hard to understand how much they will affect your future, your whole life,” said a former GED graduate.  “I want others to know that the GED program at Spoon River College is completely doable, and the support they will get from the tutors, teachers, and all the staff will be 100%.”

Former GED® volunteer Jasper Brown said “I like working with students, watching them develop the skills and life strategies they need to be successful. Everyone deserves the same chance to learn and to succeed, and to be treated with respect.”

The Literacy Program offers services to adults in the district that are centered on improving the reading, writing, and math level of each individual while understanding their unique needs and goals.

Johnston said that training is provided to the volunteers and no special degree is needed. “Volunteers are a vital part of student success. The need for tutors is great, the time commitment is minimal, and both tutors and students benefit greatly from the interaction.”

For more information about being a volunteer tutor, contact Johnston at (309) 833-6038 or email cyndi.johnston@src.edu.

For more information about the Adult Education programs offered at Spoon River College, visit https://www.src.edu/academics.