Originally from Honduras, I moved to the United States at the age of thirteen. I did not speak any English at all. Nevertheless, I was determined to learn the new language as soon as I could. After two years of hard work, I became fluent in English. I went on to college and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English and a minor in Education. Subsequently, I became certified to teach English and Spanish as well.
I love teaching. I have worked as a Spanish teacher for about nine years. My first five years of teaching were in the public school system. Later on, I taught at a private school for four years. During those years of teaching, I also did a fair amount of tutoring. I have tutored students from middle school all the way up to professional adults.
As a teacher, I love to make the subject fun to learn and relevant to my students. For that reason, I like to incorporate material outside of the textbook. I especially prefer to use realia such as newspapers, brochures, menus, bus schedules etc. in the target language. I enjoy giving my students hands on activities that they can never forget. Enthusiasm and being positive are two characteristics that I find indispensable in my teaching style.
Finally, I do like to have a life outside of teaching. I love to travel. I have been to a few Spanish speaking countries like Argentina, Panama, Mexico, Guatemala and Spain. Besides traveling, I also enjoy playing and watching soccer. Hasta Luego!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY at Albany - Bachelors, English/Education
Graduate Degree: SUNY at Albany - Current Grad Student, Latin American Literature
Traveling, coffee shops, playing and watching soccer.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
To be a successful teacher, first of all, you have to have passion for the subject that you teach. Secondly, you have to be dedicated, organized and creative in order to maximize students' learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During a typical first session I might make an informal assessment of the student's knowledge base in the target language. I may do that by just asking simple questions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
"Teach a man how to fish and he will never go hungry" is what my English teacher used to say. I usually emphasize this idea to my students. I explain and demonstrate to them the importance of studying on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help a student stay motivated by maintaining my own enthusiasm, by creating a positive atmosphere when learning and by always speaking encouraging words.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Sometimes I leave that concept alone and come back to it at another more opportune time.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First of all, patience is key to helping students who struggle with reading comprehension. Don't pressure them. Don't get frustrated. Most of all, I guide them step by step in the process as
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that technology is very effective because they can relate to it, therefore their interest level goes up, which increases their capacity to retain information.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The main thing I try to do is to make it fun for them and also make it relevant to their lives.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Language acquisition has a lot to do with repetition. For that reason, I try to present the same concept in different ways and formats.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I always try to assess the student's progress, whether it be informally through conversation or formally by giving them an assignment/task to complete i.e. homework, quiz, test, etc.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
One way I do this is by either slowing down the pace at which we move to the next topic or by speeding it up, depending on the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use realia, media and textbooks. I like to use real life materials like newspapers, brochures and menus in the target language. I like to use music, especially videos with the lyrics.