With a firm base of almost 40 years, I have taught, tutored, explored, translated, interpreted the Spanish and English languages along with the cultures associated with them. My joy comes from the study of linguistics which is like a science game piecing all the parts of the language into one larger section. Since any language is forever changing, based on the needs of the people who use it, it is a dynamic study - one which you never grow weary of studying. I have taught Pre-K up through Undergraduate and Post-Graduate but always seek students who are eager to learn. And if you only require improvement of your understanding, I believe my enthusiasm will be contagious! I have worked for other tutoring companies, taught at Michigan State University - Undergraduate Spanish and Portuguese, all levels of elementary through high school, have developed my own curriculum for all levels and have taught home-schooled groups. I lived in Brazil for a year with an American Field Service scholarship program with a Brazilian family in Sao Paulo. I have also traveled through Mexico. I have lived in Hawaii and lived in five states and passed through many more. As you can see, I have enjoyed traveling. I am proud to have graduated with a B.S. from Georgetown University in Languages and Linguistics. My tutoring style is one where I try to adapt to the interests and personality of the student. My outside interests (although related) include studies of the early Spanish explorers into South America and into the worlds of the Incan and Mayan Empires. I also love pets and all animals.
Penny Mae’s Qualifications
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Georgetown University - Bachelor of Science, B.S. in Languages and Linguistics - Spanish and Portuguese
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I seek to meet each student right at their very own personal needs - to make learning a language relevant to them constantly.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Make a student feel comfortable with introductions and then set out to make a list of goals that the STUDENT has for their language studies with me. We can follow-up on these goals as tutoring proceeds and alter them if necessary.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Demonstrate how to use flashcards for vocabulary. Ask questions about the student so they will need to formulate a response of their own instead of using standard answers. Give them tasks where they use their own information to complete an assignment.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Bring in information from outside the classroom that they may find more interesting. Ask them about world politics - especially in the countries whose languages we are using. Bring in recipes or other articles of interest.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Approach the same subject in multiple ways and compare it to something similar in their own language and liken them. Reinforce without criticism. Build up their confidence.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For reading comprehension, I approach it the same way as I do the study of linguistics. I take a phrase or sentence apart bit by bit until we can add it all back into one sentence that makes sense to them.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Smiling often, showing empathy at their frustration or level of feeling discouraged or tired. I'd also go back and forth between the very difficult items to the ones that are much easier and encourage them through them. I'd show a sense of humor also.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Show them a tip that will help them to understand something difficult with much greater ease and applaud them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Ask questions summarizing the text. Ask the student to tell me the main point of what was read. Ask them to rename what was read. Ask them to imagine a different beginning and/or a different end.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
SUCCESS!! Enthusiasm by the tutor for that student's efforts and struggles. I'd also point out to the student how difficult certain things are for ALL students studying this. You cannot be too encouraging!!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
You see them when a student repeatedly makes the same errors. You see what the classroom teacher (if there is one) is asking for on homework, and you can also determine needs from points that are mistaken on a quiz or exam.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
You keep your focus on them - make them the center of your lesson plan, as each student will be different and will respond differently.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
3 X 5 cards, pencils, pens, lots of paper, various dictionaries, other reading sources or reference sources, and a laptop (if you have one).