I have lived and worked in Barcelona, Spain (8 crazy years). I love the food, farmers' markets, festivals, Pyrenees mountains, out-of-the-way beaches, and the Catalan people. I have also lived in Mexico in an Otomi Indigenous community - amazing mountain scenery, locally grown coffee, traditional music, language, and customs, spectacular artistic talent and deep cultural knowledge. I can bring all kinds of vivid examples and stories into our classes to make Spanish more lively and easy to remember. I also teach high school students and understand the challenges for meeting academic requirements. Sometimes it takes just a little clarification - mixed with some examples that will stick in your mind - in order to reach each milestone in your ability to learn a language well. Once upon a time, I was a beginner and had to understand and practice, too. So tell me what you need to work on, and let's get you capable and confident in Spanish!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Clayton College of Natural Health - Bachelors, Natural Health
Graduate Degree: University of California-Davis - PHD, Native Aemrican Studies
Farming, learning about new cultures, and community development
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everyone has a different learning style. I like to find what works best for a student and develop that, building on successes as we go.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Let's find out what you need to DO with Spanish. Pass a test? Travel to Barcelona? Basic business conversations? This way I can find references and examples that will stick with you.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I like challenge questions. If you have to engage your curiosity in order to find an answer to a question, you'll also find the context and related vocabulary.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Break it down into pieces. Sometimes, just slowing down helps. Relating a skill to something familiar/personal sometimes works. If not, funny, even absurd examples work. But don't worry, in languages there are always a couple of grammar forms that won't be immediately clear - for me it was the past tense subjunctive that did it (I survived).
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would encourage students (or parents) to set up an incentive or reward for mastering extra challenging tasks.