Ever since I was young, I have had a passion for languages. I remember going to airports with my parents, asking them about all the different languages that I heard there. In elementary school I would design my own writing systems to share with my friends. This love carried on into my college career, where I majored in Spanish Language & Literature, acquiring a BA at North Carolina State University. During my time there, I studied extensively in the Spanish language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world, including teaching and assessment methods related to Spanish language education. I have also had the opportunity to assist several Wake County high school Spanish teachers with instruction, offering tutoring services for their students, as well. I believe that teaching is one of the most noble professions in the world, and foreign language education is an essential component of global citizenship. That is why I am happy and honored to pass on my knowledge of the Spanish language to everyone I can. I tutor Spanish I-IV, as Spanish is my absolute favorite academic subject. As a tutor, I strongly believe in working with my students as a team to assess areas that need improvement, as well as to identify my students' different learning preferences. I am not here to replace my students' teachers; I am supplemental to the education they are already receiving, and my role is to ensure that they are excelling at the expected level of achievement. When I'm not hard at work, I enjoy watching films and playing the bass guitar. I am especially passionate about Spanish films and music, and I believe that these mediums can be excellent language learning tools.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that we are our own best teachers. We understand how we learn best, as well as what we do and do not understand. I am not here to replace your child's teacher; I am supplemental to the education they are already receiving, assisting with difficult concepts in ways that may be inaccessible or unfeasible in a larger classroom.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During all of my initial sessions, I chat with the student about their mastery of Spanish. This includes how well they are doing in class, what concepts they find difficult, and what sorts of teaching strategies work best for them. Next, I work with the student so that together we can design a short curriculum for the day: what we would like to accomplish, as well as what we already know and can confidently do in the Spanish language.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
As a student in high school and college, I have had to learn many self-help techniques for grammar and vocabulary. These techniques, which range from flash cards to listening to music, have been extremely helpful to me during my studies, and I appreciate any opportunity to introduce these methods to my students.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
One of the things I have learned over the years is that learning occurs best when we don't know that we're learning. This is why I like to fit my learning activities into games, where the learning experience becomes more fun.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I have always prided myself in my ability to explain novel concepts in ways that are easy to understand. However, if a student is having difficulty, I am always open to switching styles to help students understand concepts from different perspectives.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
One of the problems many people have with reading is their confidence level, which can heavily interfere with certain language functions. In order to encourage my students, I make sure to provide many opportunities for success in order to encourage students to practice without the fear of making mistakes that often comes along with reading comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Gauging a student's current level of expertise is essential to beginning instruction. By asking my students questions about what they already know and can already confidently accomplish in Spanish, I am better able to decide where we should go from there.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Songs, games, and video are excellent motivators for subjects in which we are having difficulties. Through songs and video we are able to contextualize what we are learning while keeping ourselves engaged. With games, learning becomes a fun experience, to the point that we might not even realize we are learning.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
By asking follow-up questions and by asking students to practice concepts and skills with me, I will be able to gauge their level of comprehension, which informs and shapes future instruction.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By including many opportunities for students to achieve easy success in my tutoring sessions, I am able to make sure that my students feel confident experimenting with the language.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By conversing with a student, as well as by asking probing questions that test their basic ability in the Spanish language, I will be able to evaluate their capabilities, as well as where they may fall short.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
A student learns best when instruction matches their learning style. By building strong relationships with my students, I will be able to assess their learning preferences and learning needs in order to adapt my tutoring as we search for a style that works best for all of us.