I am a recent college graduate with a masters degree in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and hold a bachelors degrees in Spanish, Latin American Studies, and Anthropology from Missouri State University. (My primary area of research is ancient and modern Maya clothing in Guatemala.)
I am especially excited about tutoring students in Spanish language and culture. I am a St. Louis, MO native, have studied abroad and lived in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala for four years and have an advanced reading, writing, and speaking proficiency in the Spanish language. I am also a cultural anthropologist who has experience working with people from different cultural backgrounds and I have a life-long love for learning and sharing my passion for Spanish and Latin American Culture.
I have experience with both High School Advanced Placement and college-level Honors College courses. I am patient and organized, have excellent writing skills, and am able to explain concepts in various ways. I would be happy to help students improve their writing, studying, Spanish, and any other skills they need in a method that is both fun and individualized for each student.
I prefer to keep the tutoring sessions as individualized as possible, including varying the activities and materials used in sessions and assigning homework and suggesting topics to study as needed, so as to ensure the student receives the help they actually need and to not overwhelm the student with unnecessary extra work. I am available either day or evening, depending on the needs of each student, and am able to travel to a location convenient to the student.
I look forward to working with you!
Undergraduate Degree: Missouri State University-Springfield - Bachelors, Spanish; Anthropology; Latin American Studies
Graduate Degree: Tulane University of Louisiana - Masters, Latin American Studies
Reading; Spending time with family and friends; Travel
What is your teaching philosophy?
I try to make my tutoring sessions as individualized for the student as possible. Not everyone learns the same way, and many people need to be taught something several different ways to fully understand it. I always try to go over material using a few different methods each session depending on what works for the student.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I use the first session to learn a little about the student and introduce myself. I have the student tell me in more detail what they would like to learn and what they need/want to gain from their tutoring sessions. I have them tell me how they learn best or try a variety of methods to see what works best for them. I also have them provide me with any materials they already have to use and try to create a schedule and plan for our sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I try to encourage students to practice on their own in the way that works best for them, whether it be flashcards, writing practice, speaking practice, verb conjugations, etc. I suggest websites and books the student might use to access additional information or materials such as games and songs to help them learn. I also try to have the student guide the teaching and encourage them to answer their own questions by guiding them to break apart a sentence or think through a similar problem that they are more familiar with. I always try to offer study tips based on the student's learning style and needs as well.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I always try to encourage the student by showing them that they probably know or remember more than they think they do, and that changing the method they are using or taking a break from a certain concept can help them stay motivated and more engaged.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
With Spanish, I first have the student read the passage to themselves, then read it out loud to both practice speaking and reading to help them process the material using different parts of the brain. I then have them explain to me what the passage was about and work through any issues they might have in terms of comprehension. I will also try to provide a couple similar passages for them to practice with when possible, and I make sure to point out what they understood well.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to have the student explain concepts to me when working through problems. For example, if a sentence a student wrote was close but not quite fully correct, I ask them to read it again and see if they can tell me where the sentence might be improved. I then help them correct it and ask whether they understand the reasoning behind the correction. Whether they say they understand or not, next I ask them to explain why the sentence should be written in this way to be sure they fully understand all of the concepts used.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence is best achieved through lots of practice using different teaching and studying methods. The more practice a student has with a concept the better they will understand and be able to apply it.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I try to help the student learn in several different ways. If they are not understanding something, I try to approach the concept in a different way. If it seems to be overwhelming, I like to take a break and work on something less difficult, review, or play a related game, and then return to the topic.