Volunteer FAQ

Q.    Why should I become a tutor?

A.  Visits from tutors often will become the highlight of a homeless child’s week. By demonstrating consistency and encouragement, volunteers show that a child’s education is not only important but also possible despite the circumstances. Interested?

Q.    When does tutoring take place?

A.  Tutoring times vary at different sites.  See our Tutoring Schedule here.

Q.    How long does tutoring last and how often will I need to tutor?

A.  Tutoring lasts one hour a week, and we ask all volunteers to commit to a semester at a time (between 15 to 17 weeks). Volunteer tutors are expected to tutor one hour every week, providing consistency and encouragement to students. We will work with your busy schedule to ensure that you will be able to tutor at the same shelter and the same time every week. Please see the descriptions of our Tutoring Positions to decide which volunteer option is best for you.

Q.    How is the tutoring hour structured?

A.  We strive to provide the best learning structure and environment, and our on-site staff facilitates the program. The first 5 minutes are dedicated to writing prompts, followed by 45 minutes for homework, and the last 10 minutes are for reading. Each student has the opportunity to pick out a book and may keep it when he or she has finished reading it. For more information about the tutoring hour and available educational resources, click here.

Q.    What is the student to tutor ratio?

A.  The goal of School on Wheels is to provide one-on-one tutoring to every child. However, due to the transient nature of homelessness, there are occasionally more or less children at any given time. We ask that our volunteers be flexible, as there may be circumstances that cause you to tutor more than one child or share tutoring responsibilities for one child.

Q.    Do I have to be really good at math/writing or be a teacher to be a tutor?

A.  No. Our tutors come from various professions and backgrounds. You do not need to have previous teaching experience to volunteer. The tutor training will help prepare you for your tutoring experience. We encourage an environment of skill sharing among tutors, and provide curriculum-based resources as well.

Q.    How do I become a School on Wheels tutor?

A.  Applying is easy! Click here to get started.

Q.    Can my son or daughter become a School on Wheels tutor?

A.  All tutors must be at least 14 years of age to tutor alone or 11 years of age AND accompanied by a parent.  After that, it’s truly up to the parent and School on Wheels staff to determine if the child is emotionally ready and able to be a successful tutor.

Q.    Can I bring a friend or child with me to tutoring?

A.  No. For safety purposes, all volunteers must go through a training and orientation session and have a criminal background check prior to tutoring at any location. In addition, School on Wheels strives to maintain confidentiality for students and provide constant attention for effective learning. Children or friends that have not gone through training may be a distraction or violate the shelter’s privacy policy.