I learned Spanish while living as an exchange student in Ecuador the year before I went to college (1989-1990). I became fluent during that time. I worked as an Assistant Teacher to the Spanish Department while studying at Davidson College and enjoyed getting to know the students & expanding their understanding of the Spanish language & the Latin American culture. I had the privilege of studying in Spain during my Junior year, which deepened my appreciation for the roots of the language. I worked as a Spanish/English interpreter for the Orange County courts as my Summer job during those years. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share what I learned.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Davidson College - Bachelors, Religion
Graduate Degree: Rollins College Hamilton Holt School - Masters, Liberal Studies
painting, cycling/running/swimming, writing, ceramics, seeking and finding the best cup of coffee in the WORLD
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Total immersion in a subject teaches any of us best. This is particularly true of language. Our brains naturally decode the language that is spoken around us: if we are present and we listen, we WILL learn. Rarely, if ever, does life allow complete immersion into a particular subject matter. However, with focus and continued exposure (practice) the language code becomes our own and expression in that language becomes natural. Natural expression, using a new skill set or lesson, is the ultimate goal of education. Our world, or, our horizon, then broadens, as do our opportunities.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Establish a starting point: how much does the student understand? Reviewing basic materials, gradually moving into the various complexities of any material reveal very quickly where to begin teaching.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Confidence in our ability to learn is all we need to seek knowledge.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By engaging the student in the journey of learning: it's fun!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Turn it around: each of us knows more than we think we know. I would ask the student to teach the concept to me, and go from there.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is largely a question of focus. Focus is the result of interest. What interests the student? Make the material relevant to the interest, and focus comes naturally.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to know something about my students. This relaxes both of us. When we relax, we learn more. Anxiety & fear block us from learning: it's a fact. Once relaxed in a learning environment, the student recreates this for himself or herself more and more.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Once a student is interested in a subject, they naturally engage. Every subject matter is interesting once it becomes discoverable to the student. My job as teacher is to share HOW the material is, of itself, exciting!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
If the student can teach the material back to me, it has been mastered.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence results from small successes. By tracking a student's progress, i.e., reviewing material from our last session in a quick Q&A, the student sees progress first hand. Invariably this whets the thirst for learning.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The student possesses all I need to assess need. I ask specific questions that inform me as to where cracks exist in the foundation of the material. We start there.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Each individual is unique, of course. The learning style comes out in the way a student expresses herself or himself.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Much of my teaching is done orally or in writing because language testing is done this way. I want my students to excel academically. However, learning can be and often is more dynamic: acting things out, testing vocabulary with visual aids, "mock conversations", etc.