I have been teaching private and group lessons since 2001. I have loved helping my students in creating a life long love of the Spanish language and culture, in promoting interest in the subject by doing interactive learning activities, and in facilitating positive comprehension of the outstanding benefits of being bilingual. I have two masters degrees: a Master in Education with a Business concentration, and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Spanish. As an expert in teaching Spanish, I look forward to helping students to achieve their goals and I welcome them to the Spanish language world. My teaching style involves dedication to facilitating discovery of each learner's potential through patience, support, respect, care, and a positive learning atmosphere. My professional experience encompasses teaching Spanish for more than 10 years in a variety of settings such as college, business and health care organizations. I love working with students of all Spanish language levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced. As I always say to my students: Welcome to my class and my world!
Undergraduate Degree: Human Resources - Bachelors, Industrial Relations
Graduate Degree: Florida Atlantic University - Masters, Spanish
Traveling, dancing, going to the beach
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Actually, before the first session, I always like to give a brief phone call to the student to welcome him/her, to introduce myself, to thank the student for choosing me as his/her new Spanish tutor, and to find out about his/her goals in reference to the Spanish tutoring lessons. Then, in the first session, I usually review basic topics that will be the platform to reach the learner's goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe that each student is a unique individual who needs a safe, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. My role as an educator is to help students meet their fullest potential in all these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. One of the elements that can generate this environment and help a student to become an independent learner is the educator acting as a guide. When the educator's role is to guide the provision of access to information rather than act as the primary source of the information, the student's search for knowledge is met as they learn how to find the answers for themselves. This is what is called constructive knowledge, where the students have the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I believe in teaching content that is meaningful, applicable, and inviting to students. If they do not see the point of the subject matter, then they will not be interested in it. To study things that are relevant to their lives and develop a curriculum around their interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. Also, providing opportunities to students for input by inviting them to dialogue about lessons and units keeps them motivated to work hard in order to be successful.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
No two students enter in a classroom or take a lesson with the same abilities, interests, and needs. Differentiated instruction can guide educators to help a student who has difficulty learning a skill or concept. Students learn best when they make connections between the curriculum and their interests and experiences. Therefore, I would put into practice learning activities based on the student's interests such as hobbies, vacations, family, and friends.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It is important that the students understand what they read. There are Comprehension Strategies that we educators can use with the students in order to help them become purposeful, active readers. Those strategies include encouraging them to make predictions and visualize about what will happen in the story, forming their own questions and answers about facts in the story, retelling and summarizing the story in their own words, and making a connection between the story they just read and their own experiences, other texts, or prior knowledge.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The very first thing I do is to greet my student with a big smile. I want my student to feel welcome. Then, I start to work with my student assessing his/her academic priorities, learning needs, and goals. Showing patience, care, respect, listening, flexibility, and passion to teach are also essential not only when I start to work with a student but also during the entire period of time I teach-- it could be one hour lesson, one week, one semester, or one year. In our competitive society, it is important for students not only to receive a solid education, but also to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual interests, needs, and objectives.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In my classes, I generally use the following techniques: 1) Stick to the lesson plan or course calendar and course syllabus. 2) Concentrate on the subject of my teaching plan. 3) Do individual and interactive activities such as dialogues, group conversations, and questionnaires. 4) Speak slower, take a pause when explaining difficult material. 5) Check the student's comprehension more often by stopping after sentences and asking questions. 6) Have an explanation plan B ready, such as my own explanation and the instructor's edition textbook. 7) Make the explanation shorter or longer, depending on the subject.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I help my students to build self-confidence by doing the following: 1) Use of a positive vocabulary: -a problem becomes an opportunity. -an opportunity becomes a learning experience. -'if only' becomes 'next time' -should becomes choice. 2) Use of positive affirmations: -I know everything! -Spanish is an easy language! -Spanish grammar is very easy. I can handle it perfectly! -I remember everything! -I speak Spanish! -Spanish is my language at this moment! 3) Before exams, I tell my students to take a deep breath and make positive affirmations. We say the affirmations together. I strongly believe that the use of positive thinking manifested through the use of positive vocabulary and affirmations embraces a change in consciousness. This change helps build a student's confidence in a subject. It also helps them to overcome stress.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I typically use the student's textbook, worksheets, online activities, and face-to-face activities. In case the student does not have a textbook, I would bring also an appropriate Spanish textbook with the teaching material.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that teaching provides an opportunity for continual growth and learning. I want to instill a love of learning in my students as I share my own passion for learning with them. Teaching is a task that cannot be taken lightly. It is full of challenges, responsibilities, excitement, wonder, and enjoyment. I believe that all people are capable of learning, if they have the proper motivation and direction from their instructors. It is my duty to see that all my students are being motivated. My students deserve my time and full attention in regard to their education. I want to create a classroom that is a safe learning environment for all. It is important to me that my students see me as someone they can approach, who is fair and nondiscriminatory. Class organization as well as a meaningful, applicable, and inviting content are key concepts when teaching in order to maintain interest in the subject matter. I also believe that high energy levels and a positive attitude from the instructor are fundamentals for a successful teaching-learning environment.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would help a student by doing the following: 1)Simple and sincere compliments. -I use words and phrases such as "Excelente!"; "Muy bien!"; "Buena pregunta!"; and "Interesante!" - I use applause when the student participates. 2)Remove distractions, such as telling the student to turn off their cellular in order to keep the concentration level high. 3) Find interesting subjects by asking the student what he/she likes. 4) Learn beyond the classroom: learning new and different skills can increase a student's desire to learn more. 5) Set goals: it gives a sense of accomplishment, and it is a great motivator for a student to want to learn. 6) Show the relevance: I tell the student that learning Spanish is and will be of help and use in life.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I mainly teach Spanish at the college level. The courses I teach are SPN1120 and SPN1121, which are required courses for beginners and intermediate levels. What I usually do is to informally observe my students and look for patterns of performance. Then, I use that information to modify and enhance future instruction. At the end of every semester, I thoroughly review each course syllabus and calendar in order to update all the information and the instruction plan according to this assessment and evaluation. This allows me to determine what to focus on in the curriculum and when to focus on it.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Depending on the specific needs of the student, I would use different teaching tools and methodologies. For example, I have had students who have difficulty writing legibly. In those cases, I could give them oral assignments. Some others have had difficulty expressing themselves verbally. In those cases, I give them short answer questions, and I wait for them to respond. I always tell my students that each person is different, and I understand and accept those differences with care.