I am a graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a degree in Spanish Language Studies and a certification from the state of New Jersey to teach Spanish K-12. Because of my passion for language learning, I am interested in teaching Spanish, teaching English as a Second Language, and teaching English abroad. I am also interested in Social Work, because I love working with people, especially youth and children. I am particularly passionate about at-risk education that expands opportunities to those from backgrounds of lower socioeconomic status.
Ramapo College of New Jersey - BA, Spanish Language Studies
What is your teaching philosophy?
My basic belief about the purpose of life is to be happy. Since the purpose of education is to prepare students to lead successful lives, it is important to keep in mind that people subconsciously equate success with happiness. In our culture, success is typically assessed in terms of career achievement or monetary gain. However, success is really about how happy one is with his/her accomplishments, which may or may not be associated with an occupation or income. One's happiness may be based on fame, wealth, power, career accomplishments, personal accomplishments, love, family, friendship, et cetera. People who value wealth over all else will be happy if they are successful in accumulating money. People who value family over all else will be happy if they have close relationships at home and with extended family members. Teaching appeals to me as a career because of this purpose: to teach students how to identify what makes them happy and how to become successful, happy people that contribute to society. Because each person holds different values, education must be tailored to the individual, so that each student may pursue the unique path that will lead to happiness. I intend to make sure that each child knows how to define success for themselves and also realize that everyone views success differently based on their values. As a teacher of the Spanish language as well as Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino/a culture, I would have three main objectives. The most obvious is for my students to reach a level in which they are able to effectively express themselves in the target language using what they have learned. I also intend to dispel misconceptions about other cultures. This is imperative in any era, but especially now in respect to Spanish, Hispanics, and Latino/as, who are expected to comprise half of the population of the United States by the year 2050. The third objective is to help students understand why certain cultures are the way they are today by teaching them about past events (i.e., Brazil doesn't speak Spanish due to the Treaty of Tordesillas). Knowledge is not power; the application of knowledge is power. Therefore, I will focus on each student's interests so they develop ways to apply the learned material, thereby making the knowledge meaningful to them. Students will be grouped based on shared interests. Each member feels appreciated by the others for what they discuss, because the topics are relevant to all of them. Fostering confidence in these groups enables students to feel more comfortable with communicating (and inevitably making mistakes) with each other in Spanish. Problem-solving strategies are crucial in the event that a student doesn't know a word. One essential strategy is circumlocution, in which a speaker uses words in the target language to describe the term that they do not know in the target language. For this reason, I will evaluate students based on their written and oral communication to see if I am meeting my objective concerning effective expression in Spanish. As a teacher, my responsibility is to create a welcoming and safe environment. Students learn better in low-anxiety settings in which they feel a sense of belonging. They will feel more comfortable asking an approachable teacher questions, thereby receiving clarification, and allowing the teacher to identify problem areas. Students need to feel comfortable enough to speak in Spanish and make mistakes, which elicits the correction they use to learn. If teachers appear fond of their students, the students will internalize the notion that they are important and worthy of happiness. As a result, they will be motivated to perform better so that they will be prepared to succeed in their pursuit of happiness.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would start out by building rapport: asking the student about him-/herself and telling him/her about myself. I would ask about his/her goals and share my own. I would ask about their learning style and their academic struggles in order to plan how to address their needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help them identify their learning style and which method of studying is most effective for them (e.g., making notecards, teaching someone else, making acronyms).
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind them of their goals. I'd also identify the student's learning style so I could employ activities that are not only efficient but also fun for him/her.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break down the skill/concept into parts, review related concepts, create memory devices, or teach the student a study method that caters to his/her learning style.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would create questions about the reading that guide the student to pick up on important points they may have previously missed. I could also have the student act out the reading, draw a scene from the reading, or explain why something in the story happened. I could have them underline words they don't understand in order to increase vocabulary.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It's essential to begin by building rapport as well as identifying learning style, strengths, and weaknesses.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would ask them what they want to achieve in that subject and what they want to be able to do. We could identify what they are able to do at the first tutoring session and what we need to do in order to reach their goal. Then we could assess progress as we work towards their objective.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I could use practice sheets to assess comprehension. I could also ask the student to hold a short conversation with me in Spanish using the newly learned material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I like to have the student use Spanish verbally in order to reinforce the idea that he/she is personally capable of expressing him-/herself and creating meaning in the language.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would ask the student what his/her needs are. I may also use a brief "pre-tests" at our first meeting or engage the student in a very simple conversation in Spanish to assess their capabilities.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I would figure out their learning style and follow up by designing the sessions and activities in order to cater to their preferred way of learning new material (e.g. visually).
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use visuals, examples, and sometimes videos.