The GUTS Conversational English Program (CE) is an opportunity for members of the UW community to come together and practice their English skills in a relaxed and fun environment. Tutors are volunteers and tutor a group of three (3) students. Groups will meet for two (2) hours a week to work on English conversational skills. This program is ideal for those who have a passion for learning about language, culture, and international issues from their peers. Take this opportunity to get to know peers from all over the world and gain new insights and perspectives.
The world is your classroom and you are your own teachers!
As a CE tutor, you will be meeting with a group of up to three (3) tutees each week throughout the semester. At these sessions, you should focus mainly on English conversational skills and should be fostering a comfortable and open atmosphere in which your tutees can practice with ease and confidence.
Your sessions and how you conduct them are entirely up to you. We will not be giving you detailed lesson plans to follow, so you should prepare in whatever way you find most effective for your sessions. Because this tutoring program is more so about conversational English than English used for other purposes (academic writing, interviewing, etc.) we do not expect you to be leading detailed and complex ESL lessons. We want you to be a friend and a resource for your tutees, so simply preparing some topics to discuss and maybe fun activities (such as role-playing scenarios) are great ways to prepare for you tutoring sessions.
Upon registering to be a tutor, you will choose time blocks of two (2) hours that you will be able to commit to throughout the entire semester. The CE coordinators will look at your selections and choose what days and times to assign to you. Each group meets for two (2) hours a week. If you wish to tutor for more than the minimal two (2) hours a week, this means that you will be assigned more than one group of tutees. For example, if you wish to tutor for four (4) hours a week, you will have two (2) separate groups of tutees that you will meet on different days and times in the week.
How to Be a Tutor
Step 1: Sign up. Fill out the registration form found on this page. Be sure to read through everything carefully!
Step 2: Attend a training session. Before we can put your name on the calendar (found on the “Get a Tutor” → “Conversational English” page) you must attend a mandatory training session. You will sign up for a session in the registration form, or set up a meeting with us if none of the offered times work. We will send you a reminder three (3) days before the training session, but it is your responsibility to make sure that you are in attendance.
Step 3: Confirm you tutoring times. After you have been trained, we will send you an email with your assigned times for tutoring. If these no longer work for you, this will be your only opportunity to change it. After you have confirmed your hours, tutees can begin signing up for you group.
Step 4: Wait for contact from your tutees. When your tutees come in to sign up for a tutoring group, we will provide them with the email address that you have noted on the registration form (so be sure to make sure that everything is spelled correctly before submitting!). They will then be instructed to contact you and notify you that they will be at your next session.
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As a tutor, you are allowed only one (1) unexcused absence for the semester. By unexcused, we mean a sudden cancellation without notice in advance to your group. Without you, your tutoring sessions cannot proceed, so we are holding you to a higher standard.
If your absence is excused, then it will not count against you. Here is what we define as excused:
- Emergency situations (hospitalization, death in the family, etc.)
- Pre-planned events (work meetings, club activities/outings, etc.)
- Religious holidays / observations
In cases excluding emergency situations and illness, you should notify your group and the CE coordinators two (2) weeks in advance of your absence.
It will also be your responsibility to take attendance each week and report this to the CE coordinators. After we have confirmed your hours and given you a group number, we will be sharing a Google Doc with all of the CE tutors where you can note attendance for each week under your specific group number. If a tutee is absent, you must also note this and if the absence was excused or unexcused. Tutees are allowed two (2) unexcused absences throughout the semester. After this, they will be dropped from your group and someone else can sign up to take their place. Therefore, it is imperative that you correctly notate whether their absence was excused or not.
If you ever have questions about what constitutes an excused absence versus an unexcused absence, please feel free to email us!
Other CE Events
These events provide a space for CE participants to come together and discuss a topic prepared by the CE coordinators. This is a great opportunity not only to use your language skills but also learn something new and learn from your peers.
Some past topics:
- Language learning and what it means in your life
- Good methods for studying English
- Idioms / metaphors / proverbs of English
- Relationships in the US
If you have any suggestions for Open Chat topics, please suggest them here.
These are informal and fun gatherings where you can meet members of the CE program and participate in fun activities.
Some of our past events include:
- Late night pizza and skating
- Sushi making night
- Board game night
- Pumpkin painting (for Halloween)
- Coffee and a trip to the Dane County Farmers Market
If you have any suggestions for future Social Hour events, please suggest them here.