I am positive and passionate. Everyday I strive to be a better person than I was the day before, doing everything from a desire to make the world a better place and to positively impact my environment. I am grateful, I celebrate life, and I practice transparency and candor. My words are congruent with my actions. My objective is to help others achieve their greatest potential.
I earned my M.A. and Ph.D. from UT-Austin in Spanish Linguistics. I've taught beginning through graduate courses at the university level and in secondary schools I've taught Spanish 1-4 and AP Spanish Language and Culture. Along with teaching the courses, I've given extra help or tutoring during office hours and by appointment.
I love to travel! I've lived in Costa Rica and visited many parts of Mexico, Spain and Puerto Rico. I love to hike and camp, walk on the beach, read, knit and bead. I especially love dance-able music (salsa, merengue, cumbia, charanga, etc.) and love to dance. I practice yoga and Qigong. Life is good!
No matter what your objective for learning Spanish, I promise to help you obtain your goal.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Carleton College - Bachelors, Spanish Literature
Graduate Degree: UT-Austin - PHD, Spanish Linguistics
swimming, reading, knitting, dancing, beading, hiking, camping and traveling
Q & A
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I help students become independent learners by breaking down tasks into small, manageable chunks that flow with ease from one to the next.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a skill or concept seems difficult to a student, I would suggest different ways to approach the task, and work with it from as many points of view as possible. I would also want to know about the student's learning style.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading is not an activity that is based on deciphering each individual consecutive word. Pre-reading activities that activate the student's prior knowledge about the topic, and prompt her or him to use inference and multiple readings of a text, tend to set the proper expectations for what reading is.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that language study must be relevant to the student's everyday experiences and popular culture. Then we can compare and contrast aspect of Hispanic culture(s) to the native culture. It is also important to learn how to pronounce words in a foreign language, and recognize them in the speech of another, before learning to write and read.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session we would get to know each other, and I would get an understanding of the student's level with the language.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would show pictures of all the places one can visit and speak Spanish, and all the cultural activities associated with those places.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The strategy depends on the student. I always take an individual approach with each person.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Make it fun! Engage with movies, music, and soap operas!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Thorough explanations followed by targeted practice. Explain, practice, repeat as needed!
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Let her or him know what they can accomplish with what they can do in the present moment.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Ask questions and practice with them speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish.