I grew up in a household where three different languages were spoken. My family is very expressive and artistic. At a very young age I started painting in my great grandmother's studio which led me to go to art school 15 years later. My parents decided to send me to study in Puerto Rico. I think it was the very best decision they took at that time. I had applied to many colleges and was really hoping to go to New York, Miami or Canada. When they took the executive decision to send me to San Juan, I spoke very little Spanish, and was not very content. Within one year of living there and being completely immersed in the culture setting, all my classes were in Spanish, the basic daily life, I was fluent, and was extremely happy . I decided to do my thesis work in Puerto Rico. After 6 years of studying in Spanish, mine was as good as any other classmates who had been speaking Spanish their whole lives.
I think learning languages are very important for building self esteem, learning about different cultures, traveling. Learning a language makes one more independent and opens minds and possibilities!
I have taught different types of classes. I have a Major in Fine Arts, so I've led a lot of art classes, workshops, and developed programs for small non profits. French is my first spoken language and I have also had the opportunity to teach it to various age groups. Some group classes, but mostly one on one.
I am a new mother, and am already speaking both English and French to my 16 month old. I plan on introducing Spanish when he is 3 years old.
I think the best time to teach a language is when kids are young. I always try to make it fun for them. I never want my classes to feel like an imposition or work. I strongly believe that if it feels like that to them, their brain will automatically block it and it will be very hard to implement anything.
During my one on ones, I like to do activities. As mundane as they may seem, I can make it seem exciting by doing it differently, even going outside and playing a game. I like to break up routines. There are many ways of teaching, and I think with a correct balance and structure, the child or teenager stays interested and develops the curiosity to learn more and apply it.
I try to make each class different and adapt to whom I am teaching to. I am a very big fan of promoting confidence, openness and happiness. My students laugh a lot, they know that there is always a safe place for mistakes.
I am presently developing a program where I want to teach French through Art. My experience for the past 10 years has really helped and shaped the teacher I am today. My future personal goal is to create this program and be able to have it thought all over the US.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: American University of Puerto Rico - Bachelor in Arts, Finance
Undergraduate Degree: Escuela de Artes Plasticas de Puerto Rico - Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting
Painting, going to parks, listening to music, reading a great book, going to the NY public library.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I want to be like the teacher I still remember today. Not because she was nice or easy but because she asked questions and patiently waited for my mind to flourish and come up with an answer. My answer. A teacher must have patience and encourage self esteem.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would assess where the student is with what I am teaching and have a basic conversation about the weather, a new movie, or likes and dislikes. I want to be a different teacher for every student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Give that student some material he/she can use in everyday life. Guide him with music or great foreign films. Inspire confidence and let the student know that a mistake is a perfectly acceptable answer.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Change up the routine, play a game, take it outside, do different activities, or make him or her participate in practice groups with others of the same level.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to explain it differently. Take a look at the problem from another angle.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Read shorter essays and books. Find a subject that they are more interested in. Read comic books in the language of study; images help.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Explain what we would typically do and ask them if they think they would like it. Install some kind of structure from the beginning. Make sure to include some fun activities every time.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Try to incorporate it in something they enjoy doing. Cooking, going to the park, playing some kind of game, or talking over tea and cake. Also give him/her some music to listen to when alone or in the car or in transit. Encourage them to sing along.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Apply the lesson learned to different scenario and ask them about the lesson or material a few sessions later. Usually, if they really understood, they will remember it. Have my own check list.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Keep it light. Laugh, and don't take the mistakes too seriously. Mistakes give a great opportunity to learn. Give praise.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Asking them questions from the beginning, all in the language being taught. See how far we go with that. Then go into the more difficult textbook types of lessons like grammar and spelling, etc. Dictate a short paragraph and see where mistakes are being made, if any.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I listen carefully and ask a lot of questions. Some are fun, non-specific questions to get them to loosen up. I take notes on verbs being used, if they're used correctly, feminine or masculine, past tense, present tense, etc. And only then do I know what my class will be like.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Flashcards, music, film, outings, books for verbs, a dictionary, or a cool magazine.