Tutors & Classes for English as a Second Language

Parent Q&A

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  • ESL Program for visiting adult

    (1 reply)

    We have a young niece who will be visiting for 6 months, her company will pay for her to learn business English. Any recommendations as to a good program in the Bay Area? TIA

    My 18 year old came for 2 semesters. She enroll at Laney and Berkeley City Colleges.

    Also there was a language Institute across from Berkeley City College that we liked, but though the community colleges route was more interesting for my niece.

    She had a great experience!

  • Hi, we are considering a private English Tutor to supplement our child's English proficiency for some targeted areas to work on; middle school level. Any of your valued recommendations will be most appreciated. Thank you.

    I recommend Jennifer at https://alphacollegeprep.com/. She is really good at communicating with teens and helped my daughter a lot.

    I highly recommend Heather MacLeod (email : macleodphd [at] gmail.com).  Heather has been helping my son since elementary school.  She is helping him with his college application now.  My son really enjoyed working with her all these years.  She is the kindest and beautiful person anyone will ever meet!  

    David's mom.

  • we would like to invite my husband's 16 year old niece to spend 4-6 weeks with us in the summer. We are wondering where she could take english classes for a few hours a day? i am guessing she can not go to public school summer school programs but havent really looked into it yet. any leads would be greatly appreciated. We live in San Leandro but could travel to parts of Oakland or Alameda. 

    If you just google English Second Language San Leandro, Oakland or whatever you'll pull up some local ESL centers.  They're all over and even issue visas. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Seeking ESL tutor for my mother-in-law

We are looking for an ESL tutor for my mother-in-law. We are hoping to find someone who has experience with older clients. She speaks a little English and wants to learn more.
Trying to find a tutor

I recommend Nigora Bozorova for ESL tutor. She has done ESL teaching for number of years and does have a great approach. She has taught older people who have little english and very patient with students. Her number is 510-689-3416 or her email is nigosha [at] yahoo.com


ESL classes & IT volunteer oppty for Mexican teen

March 2011

I'm looking for a good ESL program for an 18-yo from Mexico who may be coming to stay with me this summer; she can take classes up to 18 hrs/wk on a tourist visa. Her family isn't wealthy, so cost will be a consideration. She'll have just graduated from high school and is planning to take a gap year and work in IT (in Mexico) to save money for college, so any suggestions for an internship or volunteer opportunity working with computers would also be terrific. Thanks so much for your recommendations! Terry

Berkeley Adult School on San Pablo offers free ESL classes as do other cities. If the young woman has computer/IT skills, and she's willing to volunteer, she just needs to identify her area of interest and contact local non-profits that would most likely be delighted to have her. It's a good way to practice her English. Good luck!

ESL for visiting teen step-daughter?

Oct 2010

School or institute for adolescents learning ESL? My 14 year old stepdaughter will be visiting my husband and I from abroad from mid-end of November to mid January during her summer break. We live in the East Bay. As we both work and her mom wants her to study English, we considered putting her in the local middle school that has an ESL program so that she could improve her English and meet some kids her age while she's here. Then we found out that she's not supposed to attend school on a tourist visa and that a friend of a friend's kids were denied visas a second time around after they studied here in a public school during the first visit they made to the states. We don't want her to be bored and stuck home alone all day every day, but I haven't been able to find any other options (language programs or institutes for adolescents). Most that I've found are for college students. Has anyone been in a similar situation inviting family members from abroad? Can anyone recommend anything? Are we stressing out too much about anyone finding out that she was in a public school? I work in a public school with many undocumented students, so I'm wondering if we could put her in school anyway without getting caught. We wouldn't want to jeopardize her coming to visit in the future though. Any advice? Stepmom Searching for Solutions

I don't know what language your daughter speaks but there are so many graduate student couples living in University village in Albany from all over the world. Perhaps you can find a young family there who speaks her language and who also ;would like to teach her some English. Just a thought parent of bilingual kids

ESL summer class for teenager

Jan 2009

Hi every one, I am looking for a summer ESL program for a 13 year-old girl who lives abroad and barely knows English. later on, she will move back to the States, so her parents want her to get to use to the language before they really move back. the location is better in berkeley,oakland, or san francisco, and housing is not necessary. please help if you know any, thanks! SC

If you unable to find anything close by, or appropriate, I highly recommend Rosetta Stone. You may be able to find it at your local library, or on Craigslist or Ebay (for less cost). KIrsti

Affordable ESL classes in Berkeley?

May 2008

Could anyone tell me about affordable English as a Second Language summer classes for adults in Berkeley? Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated. Foreign mom needing to improve her English and meet people

Try Berkeley City College and/or Berkeley Adult School for ESL classes. I believe many of the classes may be very inexpensive or free. Look for non-credit courses. Good Luck! ESL Teacher and Mommy

They have the best from UC Berkeley, is on 1701 San Pablo Avenue, their phone number is 510-644-6130 They have AM and PM classes. Good Luck, Susana

Berkeley Adult School (run by the school district) offers ESL FREE. They offer morning, afternoon and evening classes year-round (but no afternoon classes in summer). See http://bas.berkeley.net/esl.html --

Best ESL classes around - Berkeley Adult School, 1701 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley (x st - Virginia); this summer from June 23 to July 31, Mon - Thurs 8:30 - 12:45 am and eves 6:30 - 9:30. Free! Go before that for placement testing. ESL teacher

Free ESL classes for au pair?

Oct 2006

I'd like to know if there is an ESL class in either Oakland or Berkeley, either credit or non-credit, that would be good for an au pair. Most of them seem to meet 5x week, for 3 hours a day, so anything less intensive would be great, too. thanks sfk

Have you checked the Merritt College catalog under Child or Human Development? They offer a ton of ESL classes, specifically geared towards childcare workers and people trying to get jobs in childcare. They purposely have classes at different times of the day and days of the week, to fit the schedules of nannies. They even have funding available, in certain cases. If you need more information, you can call them directly. 436-2588 or 436-2524 Hope this helps

I know that the Oakland Unified School District has two adult schools where ESL is offered for free (Neighborhood Centers Adult School in the East Lake neighborhood and Edward Shans Adult School near Eastmont Mall). They offer both daytime and evening classes. Other cities probably also offer free ESL courses through their adult schools. Laura

ESL classes for my parents

June 2005

My parents are visiting us for 6 months from a foreign country and I would like them to have an opportunity to learn some English (beginners) while they are here. We live south berkeley, near campus and can drive them to classes in evenings and weekends, or they can take a bus to classes during the day. Can someone recommend a few programs for us? Thank you so much for your time. Your information will be very much appreciated. -Sharon

Both Berkeley (510-644-6130, on San Pablo Ave near Virginia) and Albany (510-559-6580, on Brighton Ave in Albany, not far from the El Cerrito Bart station)Adult Schools offer free ESL classes. R.K

Laotian nanny wants to learn how to read English

Nov. 2003

Our Laotian nanny would like to learn how to read English. I have called the literacy department at the Berkeley Public Library three times and no one has ever called me back. I would like to find a tutor who would volunteer to help her learn how to read. Any recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks, Madeleine

Albany and Berkeley adult schools (and probably others) offer ESL classes free. I would assume they include reading (not just speaking), but I guess you'd want to ask that first. R.K.

ESL classes for Japanese-speaking husband

Nov. 2003

We are looking for a ESL English teacher/tutor for my husband. He was born and raised in Japan and speaks minimal English. Just as in teaching driving skills, I haven't been successful in becoming his good teacher. His hours is very limited to attend to any of ESL classes. The only time he has is sometime between 2pm and 4pm on weekdays, sometime before 10 Am on weekdays, or before 3pm on Saturday. (in worse case, possible after 10pm) Please let me know if you know someone who can teach him English in those limited hours. Thank you. needing help mom

Hello, I am an ESL specialist that does private tutoring. I also speak Japanese, although usually not while teaching. I am a full time mom so my schedule is limited but I would be happy to discuss schedules with you. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu! Melissa Cole mommacole AT yahoo.com

Dear woman looking for an ESL teacher for your husband: I am an ESL college instructor with a Masters degree and a lot of experience teaching English to speakers of Japanese. I have taught at Mills College and California State University in Hayward. I quit working to have a baby last year, and have not yet found work, so I am always free in the morning or afternoon to teach. Christine

You might want to consider online English classes. The technology is such now that online classes are almost identical to regular classes, but you can study from home and at odd hours! It could be a great solution with his limited availability. I have an MA TESOL and an MS Education with an emphasis in online teaching. I coordinate the online ESL program at San Jose State University, and teach most of the classes. http://www.sal.sjsu.edu - I'd love to have your husband in one of my classes! Or we could arrange for private online tutoring. Please feel free to contact me for more information about online options. Jaime

A very good friend of mine is an ESL teacher for UC Berkeley and Contra Costa College. She has a lot of experience teaching English to Japanese students, so would be a good fit for your husband. Her name is Bonu and you can contact her at the following email: bonu AT uclink4.berkeley.edu

Hello. I am an ESL teacher with many years of experience teaching Japanese students. I worked at GEOS, a very large Japanese language school, in New York for many years before relocating to the Bay Area. I am available for private teaching and my hours currently are pretty flexible. I have my own supplies and many text books to choose from and can tailor the lesson to your husband's needs. If you are interested you can email me at yolu [at] sbcglobal.net or feel free to call me at 510-418-0248. Laura

I would like to recommend Sierra Melcher to your husband for ESL classes. Sierra has a graduate degree in education with specialized ESL training and is a devoted, creative and enthusiastic teacher who has worked with a wide range of ESL students: varying levels, cultural backgrounds, experience in the US, etc. She's a talented young woman with a grounded, steady energy. She lives in San Francisco but has a flexible schedule and comes to Berkeley as needed for work. She is interested in business and Japanese culture and among her gifts are the patience and care to adapt her teaching methods to her student's needs. I can recommend her highly. You can contact her at sierramelcher AT hotmail.com. Charlotte

Tibetan friend wants intensive live-in program

Sept 2003

I have a Tibetan friend who wants to come to California this winter for an approximately 4-month long English program. He would like to be on a program which teaches both intensive conversation and intensive writing courses. His spoken English is quite good, his written English is a bit weaker, but reading comprehension is good. He needs a program which is rigorous but quite flexible so that he can do it this winter for about 4 months or so. He is perhaps interested in a rural setting where room and board expenses may be cheaper. Any recommendations you could provide would be much appreciated. Julie

As a former ESL instructor, I'm aware of several intensive English programs in the Bay Area and up in the Sacramento area. The IEP at the UC Davis Extension has 10-week sessions with the winter one starting in January. The rent is considerably less expensive than the Bay Area. The program includes courses in all academic skills. Judy

ESL classes for Spanish-speaking teens

Sept 2001

My nanny's kids (aged 19 and 20) have just arrived from El Salvador. She is eager to enroll them in a high quality, fairly intensive English language program, having been unimpressed with what she's been able to find on her own. Any recommendations out there? Dmeasham

I think that City College in San Francisco does a fairly good job and has students that will tutor for free in addition to the classes (as part of their financial aid packages). Check out their online class listing. http://www.ccsf.cc.ca.us/ Liz

I got a flyer at Cal Day for ESL classes at University Village. I don't have the flyer anymore, but it might be worth calling the office.

July 2000

UCBerkeley Extension runs two 5-week intensive ESL programs- June through mid-August.Call 643-7707 for exact dates and other info. Students generally are high school grads from all over the world who may or may not intend to continue their studies in the US. Also available are shorter (3 weeks) less academic programs that involve excursions. For more info. on these, call 642-2043. Mills College's English Center for International Women (ECIW) offers short courses as well (for women only), and there are several private schools in the area too, that cater to the visiting post-high school student. D.G. (7/00)