My passion for the Spanish language began about seven years ago when I was still in high school. It is something I wanted to pursue farther in my life and I have achieved that goal. I have a year experience tutoring university students and non traditional university students with beginning to intermediate/advanced Spanish. It is rewarding when students return to tell me that they did well on a quiz or exam. This was a paid position that I earned, and I had to be appointed and approved by several professors to get the job that I did. This means my grades in Spanish were exceptional. I would love to work with students of any age and would be willing to adapt to different learning styles.
As far as other experience goes, I lived and studied in Salamanca, Spain for three months as well as lived and studied in Samara, Monteverde, and Buena Vista, Costa Rica for two weeks. I have also traveled to other Spanish speaking countries such as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. I have a strong passion for the language and everyday I strive to be better than I was yesterday. Living in these foreign countries helped me learn faster and even more than if I would have stayed in the States, because being forced to speak the language and make mistakes is all part of the learning process and if mistakes aren't made, neither is progress.
What makes me an excellent tutor aside from my fluency in the language is my ability to be flexible. I don't have a certain "style" of tutoring, because that may not work for all students. Instead, I ask the students how they would like to best and then I adapt my teaching ways to what I believe they will benefit from the most.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe the most important thing is that the student takes new information away from each tutoring session. If a certain topic needs to be reviewed more than once, that is no problem because no progress is going to be made unless all the current information is understood before continuing. My goals are to adapt to various ways of different students and make each session as beneficial as possible to the student.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will try to get to know them a little personally, as well as get to know their level of Spanish so I can find a style that will adapt to the way they will learn the best.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I suggest materials that helped me become a better independent learner. Materials such as picture books or making flash cards so that it is something visual that the student can physically look at. I tell them the things I struggled with so I can help them not struggle as much as I did, while giving my suggestions for what I feel they should do to ease the process of learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would encourage them, even if they are having trouble because a student needs to be reinforced that they are really trying. It is not easy learning a language and sometimes you may sound silly trying to say a sentence or a verb conjugation correctly, but making errors is the best part of learning. Personally, making mistakes is the best motivation because I want to keep improving, and I know to do this I have to really work. This is something I like to tell my students because it usually keeps them motivated and on task knowing that the mistakes they make now will better them in the future.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would explain the concept in a different manner. Since I tutor different ages, I am used to figuring out a different way to explain things so that the student is able to understand.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I give them suggestions based off of my struggles with reading comprehension. I usually tell them that it is okay to go back and reread a paragraph or a certain couple sentences. In another language, this can be more of a challenge so I think it is indeed really important to go back and read what has already been read.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
What I have found successful thus far in my tutoring experience is when starting out with a student, it is important to teach English and Spanish in a way. I say this because sometimes a student doesn't understand if they are just thrown a bunch of Spanish at one time. I like to explain a rule in Spanish and then explain it in English. I don't mean physically speak Spanish-- I mean explain how the rules are used in each language to make a comparison, which usually helps students understand better.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I usually tell them that it will put them at the top when applying for a job because they will be bilingual. In today's society, anybody that is bilingual will be hired over somebody that is not. I have found that this motivates students to want to excel more. Another thing I tell them is it helps when you travel. From a more social aspect, when traveling to Spanish speaking countries, you are able to communicate with more people and make friends that you will have for a lifetime. This is especially true for me because I was on a trip in a Spanish speaking country with some people who only spoke English and I had the higher advantage because I was the one who could communicate on a professional level and also on a social level. This greatly helped me.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I don't have a specific technique. I try to read the student and let them tell me how they learn so I can try my best to adapt.