English Language Classes

Scroll down for information on the Spring 2023 Semester.

View the Spring Semester 2023 flier

Ver el folleto del semestre de primavera de 2023 en español


The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program is an all-volunteer program that provides English language instruction to adults (ages 18 and up) during three semesters each year: Fall, Spring and Summer. Language instruction is provided at Level 1 (Beginner) through Level 3 and classes are held at St. Matthew’s Education Center, 1726 N Street, NW.

Our mission is to educate students in English as a second language in order to help advance their life’s vocation. We teach English to immigrants so that they can better navigate the day-to-day challenges involved in employment, social life, family and immigration.

What We Do

During the fall and spring semesters we hold classes two nights per week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) for two hours (6:30pm to 8:30pm), with a 15 minute break to rest and socialize. During the summer semesters, classes are held on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. We also organize periodic potluck meals and an end of semester banquet to celebrate the efforts of our students and volunteers, and to foster a sense of camaraderie among our program community. 

Students have told us:

“Teachers help us with all different parts of English: writing, reading, speaking, listening.  During class I can speak out to practice.  I don't feel embarrassed.”

“The program is a friendly community.  I have good friends here.” 

Teachers have said:

“To watch students progress throughout the semester, and to see them gain confidence and excitement about what they’ve learned, is incredibly fulfilling.”

“I feel that I learn more from the students – about their lives and cultures – than I teach them.” 

How You Can Help

Our volunteers serve as teachers, tutors and hospitality ministers.

Teachers are all volunteers, often professionals across various industries with little-to-no formal teaching experience.  Each class is taught by two teachers who volunteer to teach one night a week.

Tutors come to the education center from 6pm to 6:30pm one night a week to offer one-on-one instruction, practice or support with difficult lessons.

Hospitality Ministers are critical to the ESL/SSL program's success. They open up the building before students arrive, close the building after class and prepare snacks for the break. They also generally maintain the programs supply inventory and serve the various needs of students and teachers to help the program continue to run smoothly. 

We are looking for volunteers to serve primarily as teachers, tutors and persons of hospitality one night per week  (Tuesday or Wednesday) in the Spring 2023 semester of the ESL Program. Please see below for more details. While volunteers are not required to have formal training in teaching English as a second language, we expect their native language to be English. We always try to pair you more experienced teachers with newer volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact stmatthewsdcesl@gmail.com

Why We Do This

By teaching English and Spanish, we seek to serve the immigrant communities in Washington, DC – both by teaching English to immigrants and by teaching Spanish to native English speakers, who then serve immigrants in their various charitable endeavors.  People come to Washington, DC from all over the world for various calamities and opportunities in their lives, and we hope to encourage them by developing their capacity to speak, read, listen and write in English.    

We serve Christ by serving immigrants in Washington, DC

“Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?  And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25: 37-40) 

Verbal communication is an indispensable tool for discipleship in Christ:

"No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear." (Ephesians 4:29)

Spring Semester 2023

Classes and Registration

The 12-week Spring semester will run from January 24 to April 27, 2023. During this period, classes will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, with optional pre-class tutoring between 6 and 6:30pm. Language instruction will be provided at Level 1 (Beginner) through Level 3. Students may register in person on Wednesday, January 18, or Thursday, January 19, 2023 between 6 and 8pm, at St. Matthew’s Education Center, 1726 N Street, NW. At registration, each student will be assessed to determine the appropriate class level in which he/she will be placed. Student registrations will be from 6pm to 7:30pm on all class days until classes are full. The cost of the 12-week semester is $25. For more information, please contact stmatthewsdcesl@gmail.com.

End of Semester Celebration

On the last day of each semester, all the students and volunteers of the semester gather in one of the Cathedral’s large conference rooms to celebrate their achievements. During this “End of Semester Celebration”, each student receives an official “Certificate of Participation” to acknowledge his or her participation in the ESL Program. The celebration is a “potluck” event, where each student and volunteer is invited to bring a dish of food, desert, or beverage of their choice to share with their fellow classmates and volunteers. Family members and friends of the semester’s students and volunteers, as well as alumni of the ESL Program (i.e., former students and former volunteers) are welcome to join us for this celebration.

Volunteers Needed for ESL Program – Teachers, Tutors & Persons of Hospitality 

We are looking for volunteers to serve primarily as teachers, tutors, and persons of hospitality one night per week (Tuesday or Wednesday) in the Spring 2023 semester of the ESL Program. Please see above for more details. While volunteers are not required to have formal training in teaching English as a second language, we expect their native language to be English. If you are not comfortable teaching a class on your own, we can pair you with a more experienced teacher. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact  stmatthewsdcesl@gmail.com.