I am a native Spanish speaker, born of Mexican parents. I have traveled thru Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala and I know that my knowledge of Spanish has opened doors that I would not have been able to open otherwise. It was an enriching experience sharing stories with locals in Spanish and also seeing how many dialects exist in Central America! I know I shared many English words and phrases as well. It is beautiful to bridge the gap between two languages.
I am pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education and hope that I can integrate both Spanish and English into a career working with children. I have studied at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas, and I will be continuing my education here along the Front Range in Boulder, Colorado.
I love to blur the line between teaching and learning and I find that this is one of the keys to being a successful tutor. My previous job as an Assistant Guide in a Montessori School taught me that in fact we do not really "teach" others - we can only guide others to learn for themselves. Having the right tools, resources, and setting ourselves up for success is all it takes! I love watching my son play, and I know beneath the surface of his play he is learning more than I can ever understand. I am actively working on creating a living classroom in my home, bringing the world to my tiny son. Beyond that, you can find me biking around town with my little family.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is based upon the idea that a relaxed mind is an absorbent mind. Though relaxation and playfulness, we can learn to master any subject.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, it is important to establish trust and "get to know" each other on an academic level. Each person has a unique learning style because we all come from a different background. As a tutor, it is important to ask the right questions and hone in on the specific needs of the student in order to create appropriate lesson plans suited to the student's best learning style. The first session is also a great time to discuss scheduling and go over any materials or resources that I, as the tutor, will need to acquire.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Steady guidance and establishing a routine or structure that works best for the individual student can help foster independence and self-steered learning. The student would benefit from discovering unique and playful ways to incorporate the subject they are learning with personal interests and hobbies. Although no learning is truly done on an independent level, a student can find their inner compass and follow the path towards success whether with the help of a tutor or on their own. Online resources, videos, and the local library are great tools for the independent learner!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Understanding the motivation fueling the desire to learn and master a subject is key to maintaining and expanding the initial fire or spark. Visualization and 1 minute meditations focusing on goals-both short and long term-can be helpful in reminding the student of their greater sense or purpose. Celebrating "small victories" can create a momentum of enthusiasm and passion.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I might ask the student to take a break from the skill or concept they are having difficulty understanding. Perhaps the student is just "having a bad day" and would be more receptive to learning on a different day. A fresh or new perspective may dawn. For some, persistence and approaching the skill or concept from new angles may slowly (or quickly) bring about a breakthrough of understanding. It is important for me to ask questions and guide the student to explore the subject matter in ways that work. Encouragement, repetition, and fun can go far!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would start by helping the student identify the specific components of the reading material that may be presenting difficulty, such as grammar, pronunciation, word definition, or lack of cultural understanding. As a tutor, I can help explain and clarify from a variety of ways and perspectives.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would fuse their personal interests with the subject in such a way that it becomes personal for the student as well. Finding commonalities between any subject and one's own personal life can bring a new level of appreciation and self-motivation to learn. With Spanish, for example, it is fun to also learn about the culture and traditions of Spanish speaking countries and their people.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would ask the student to explain the material back to me, and if the explanation makes sense in their own words, then the student is showing a level of understanding and perhaps mastery! I may also use quizzes and worksheet completion-or ask for a short paragraph summarizing the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By acknowledging "small victories" and being a positive, encouraging voice, no matter what!