I graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Arts in Romance Language Education. I received my Master’s in Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture from Wayne State University.
I have been teaching for 25 years. I have literally taught all age levels, from pre-schoolers through senior citizens. I’ve tutored numerous individuals and couples throughout this time period. Each age presents different challenges, but the variety keeps me on my toes.
Currently, I tutor all levels of Spanish, as well as French 1. I love learning, speaking, and teaching languages.
In my tutoring, I strive to connect with the student, find his/her needs, as well as strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. I use that information to tailor the lessons to fit the student’s need.
In my free time, I enjoy doing aerobics and spin classes, scrapbooking, riding wave runners and snowmobiles, and travelling.
Olivet Nazarene University - B.A, Romance Language Education
Wayne State University - M.A., Spanish language and culture
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that each student is a unique individual, with unique talents, interests, and learning styles that enrich a classroom. Therefore, I feel it is my job to recognize and capitalize on each student's abilities. I get to know students at the beginning to find out their interests, strengths, and learning styles. I give them ideas on how to utilize that information to succeed in the given subject. For example, some students learn vocabulary by traditional flashcards; others learn by hearing the words from another student or a website. Still others find that picture flashcards work better than traditional flashcards, and others find that incorporating movement assists them in their learning. I use a variety of teaching techniques to meet these diverse needs as well. Some of these include diagrams, mnemonic devices, songs, games and other activities so that the visual, auditory and kinesthetic needs can be met. According to a number of language learning experts, such as Stephen Krashen, Tracy Terrell, and James Asher, much input is required in the beginning levels of language. Students need to hear the language before they can produce it themselves. Therefore, I spend time in the beginning doing TPR and TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). Once students begin to get comfortable with understanding and then speaking the language, they are ready to move to more complicated reading, writing, speaking and listening tasks. I think a teacher needs to be a lifelong learner himself/herself. Thus, I read posts on the FLTEACH listserv and books such as Lost at School and Teach like a Champion, take classes when possible, and travel to Spanish-speaking countries. These have enhanced my teaching in a number of ways: students enjoy my stories and photos of my travels to Central America, and FLTEACH has provided me with numerous activities to use to enhance my teaching. Finally, the most important element of being a good teacher is having great relationships with the students. I build their trust and get to know them personally so that they will enjoy the tutoring experience and be motivated to study and do their best. In conclusion, in order to effectively teach different types of learners, I feel that it is necessary to have varied teaching and assessing techniques and good rapport with students.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would get to know the student personally as well as find out his/her specific strengths and weaknesses in the language. I would then start working with the student on the areas that s/he needs most work on.