I received both my BA and MS from the University in Albany in Spanish language and Secondary Education respectively. A two-time summa cum laude graduate, I received my initial teaching certification for Spanish grades 7-12 shortly after completing my graduate degree. A “lifetime learner,” I am presently a non-matriculated student in an Educational Administration & Policy Studies program and am hoping to be accepted to a doctoral program to pursue my PhD in the same field. I work full-time as the Student Engagement Community Coordinator at the University at Albany and help develop, administer, and assess specialty programs for college freshmen in this role. However, I miss helping younger students improve their Spanish language ability and am excited to contract with Varsity Tutors to do just that!
While completing my Master’s Degree, I student taught Spanish in a suburban middle school classroom and an urban high school classroom which both exposed me to many different students’ learning styles and helped diversify my teaching style. I have tutored collegiate Division I athletes in introductory Spanish classes, too. Interestingly, I have been very fortunate to use the language as the sole bilingual chaperone for volunteer and cultural immersion trips abroad; I have accompanied more than 200 high school and college students to Spanish-speaking countries since 2012.
I believe Spanish language instruction must be contextualized and I try to support students’ curriculum with authentic materials whenever possible. Fortunately, my travels have allowed me to collect such materials. If we are working on adjectives, why not look at “People en Español” to describe Spanish-speaking pop stars’ attire? If we are working on food vocabulary, let’s go grocery shopping in a Costa Rican shopping ad! Language-learning can be an anxiety-ridden discipline due to having to speak and write outside of one’s comfort zone, however it is my top priority to make each student feel as comfortable as possible and know that making mistakes is all part of the process of second language acquisition.
When not working or taking my own evening courses, I enjoy cooking, baking, hiking, and Zumba. I started a small cupcake business for fun last year! On a rainy day, my favorite things to do are drink tea, watch reruns of Friends or Law and Order, and take a nap.
SUNY at Albany - Bachelors, Spanish
SUNY at Albany - Masters, Secondary Education: Adolescent Spanish 7-12
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that language learning must be contextualized and, whenever possible, I try to supplement classroom assignments with authentic materials. Acknowledging that second language acquisition is often anxiety-ridden, I emphasize to all students that working outside of one's comfort zone (particularly as it relates to writing and speaking) is an important step to mastering content.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first tutoring session, I would like my student to self-identify his or her strengths and weaknesses with the language so that we can develop co-created goals. Then, a conversation about current class content and curriculum would allow me to develop a short assessment for the second session so that I could better gauge the student's level with various modalities of the language (e.g. speaking, writing, reading, listening).