Get Engaged: TESOL Opportunities This Semester

by Julia Gardner

Looking for a way to get locally and globally engaged while gaining skills in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)? There are several opportunities through Wesleyan that are still seeking participants.

Wesleyan’s ELL (English Language Learners) program, which has been operating for the last seven years, offers two distinct opportunities: in person through Beman Middle School, and virtually through SAWA, a Syrian Refugee group. Students with federal work study can be paid for involvement with either of ELL’s programs; they can also be used for EDST practicum hours.

At Beman, Wesleyan volunteers serve as teacher’s aides in classrooms at the middle school two or more hours per week, and offer one-on-one support outside of the classroom when necessary. Beman’s program allows volunteers to observe and work directly alongside an experienced teacher; no prep is necessary for weekly sessions. Free transportation is provided between Wesleyan and Beman by the JCCP. A simple security clearance is required before getting involved.

SAWA’s virtual program is great for students who already have some teaching or tutoring experience and are looking to take their skills further by creating their own lesson plans! With SAWA, Wesleyan volunteers Zoom with the same student every week, providing homework help and original lessons aimed at boosting ELL skills. Schedules are flexible, and volunteers can specify an age group they would like to work with.

Students interested in either of ELL’s programs should contact

Wesleyan is also participating in the Afghan Female Student Outreach Internship (AFSO.) This internship program will match a Wesleyan student with a class taught by a university professor through AFSO’s online program, which prepares women in Afghanistan who are not able to attend school locally to apply to colleges internationally. Students will be teaching assistants in the class, and provide English language support both in class and in one-on-one office hours. Wesleyan students will have the support of a professor certified in teaching English as well as well-established online resources for teaching English. 

This internship is available through CSPL 493, which offers a 1/4 credit for a 40-hour internship that must be completed within the semester. An internship with AFSO will also fulfill the Education Studies Practicum requirement and provide students with experience that will help with applying for fellowships and other teaching abroad opportunities. Enrollment in CSPL 493 to participate in the internship must be done by October 3rd.

For more information about AFSO, visit or contact Dr. Lucy Ferriss or Dr. Shane Ewegen at

For next spring, keep an eye out for applications for the Wesleyan Refugee Project’s Paper Planes tutoring program. Volunteers with Paper Planes tutor a displaced person in the English language for about 1.5 hours over Skype. Paper Planes offers training and guidance for tutors, as well as providing lesson plans. Students with federal work-study can be paid for their work with Paper Planes. Applications for Spring 2024 will open mid-November; contact Dikshya Kuikel ( if interested.