Growing up in a place heavily influenced by France and all its culture like Morocco, I developed a new sense of self apart from my African roots. Morocco may be known for its Mediterranean foods, its beautiful architecture and mosaic style and its beautiful beaches and sand dunes of the Sahara but its French influence is hardly ever mentioned. Due to the French colonization of the country, I grew up speaking both French and Arabic and went on to attend private schools under the French educational system. This is where I learned proper French with all its rules and uses as well as proper Arabic.
Since I was not obligated and expected to know my grammar and conjugation and all the other aspects of French until I started school, I realized how challenging it really was. However, like everyone else in my class, I pulled through until I graduated high school with a French diploma. I would have never made it through school if it were not for my teachers who gave me ample support and understanding whenever I succeeded and, more importantly, whenever I fell short. They became role models and motivated me to do well and to not give up to not only make them and my parents proud but myself as well. This is the experience that I hope I provide students with.
When my own daughters were going through the same French system I went through in Morocco, I helped them with their homework and assignments almost every day until they finally understood it well enough to go through their own by themselves. Of course, I still helped them every now and then but they are now proficient French speakers and know as much grammar, colloquialisms, vocabulary and slang as I do. I even helped out their friends at the time and felt overjoyed at their success- I was very proud. I was a volunteer tutor for over 12 years until I moved my family to Texas. Here, my daughters tested out of the most advanced French classes of their schools but their friends still came to me. This was the time I learned that French is a much more complicated language for English native speakers. There are far more rules and styles in French that are not observed in English, such as gender roles. It took me a little while but I learned to help their friends get the grades they wanted and learn some French along the way. I learned a lot from my students along the way and want to transform my experiences into something I can do every day.
I strive to be not only a teacher but a mentor at the same time. To become an educator whose influence is observed outside the classroom- at interviews, jobs, restaurants, parks, conventions, etc. My biggest gain comes from seeing my students do better in school, gain self-confidence and being proud of themselves, as their success is a reflection of both my methods. By teaching a language with which I grew up, I hope to both gain and give new cultural perspectives and share my love for the language.
University of Lvov - Bachelors, Preparation for medical studies
Danilo Hatytsky Lviv National Medical University (Lvov medical Institute) - Masters, MD
What is your teaching philosophy?
The reward in teaching is in the improvement and gain in confidence of my students.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I like to design individual study and teaching plans for each one of my students based on their needs and their interests to increase their motivations. I learn their strengths and weaknesses, and then make a plan for them and me to follow.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Again, people tend to stick to things they are interested in. By giving them assignments that pertain to current events, popular culture and their interests, they will hopefully and eventually begin to be more independent learners by studying whatever pleases them using French.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By starting them slow and really drilling the harder aspects of French early on, they are assured that the hardest parts (grammar, spelling, conjugation, vocabulary) are behind them. If they make the effort to learn a few rules and tricks in the beginning, they will continue to learn that they can be good at French and really use it well. Motivation will come from their increase in grades, knowing that they are doing well, and by wanting to learn simply by targeting their own interests.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Practice makes perfect, as they say. I would of course try a different approach- whether that may be real life simulations, worksheets, listening to music and TV. I will stick with them until they understand whatever they need to understand.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Take it step by step. Start small with smaller reading passages and less substance then work our way up.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Students like to pursue things that they have interests in. So I like to use worksheets and reading passages that pertain to their hobbies. Students have also found music and TV to be very useful in their understanding spoken French.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Not all subjects are created equal. And not all students want to take the classes that are required of them. For those classes, their grades are their greatest motivators. So, I use their grade as leverage to really get them cranking and really try my best to make it interesting in any way that seems appropriate.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Conversation is the greatest way to tell if a student has a grasp on the concepts they have previously learned. It uses everything from vocabulary and pronunciation to grammar and conjugation.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Being good at something always feels good. I want to get my students to a point where they feel good about French and where they are not shy to answer questions in class or too nervous to take a test. So, I start it like you would start a game of Candy Crush: easy at first and enjoyable but a little bit harder little by little (and challenging in and fun way).
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By asking them what they feel they struggle the most with. It's best that way. Then give them small and short exercises that test each aspect to see for myself.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By using French each time I can- maybe do listening exercises by watching an episode of Friends in French or listening to French music or reading a passage about American football- anything that grasps their attention that can be focused and directed onto a weakness of theirs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use French toolboxes that explain in detailed and clear ways any grammar, conjugation, spelling or vocabulary rules and uses. I also like to use worksheets, popular books, short stories and poems, TV, music and, of course, conversation.