Hello, Bonjour and Hola!
For the past ten years I have been a high school teacher and tutor of both Spanish and French. I also teach and tutor English as a Second Language outside of the high school setting for both children and adults. I enjoy reading, traveling and learning languages. I am currently learning Bulgarian as I will be marrying my fiancee, a native of Bulgaria, this summer.
I have an extensive experience of teaching languages at a variety of levels: from introductory courses to Advanced Spanish AP. While I understand that not everyone has a knack for language, I truly believe that everyone has the ability to learn (and use!) a language to a certain extent. Practice is key! I strive to recognize my students' strengths and weaknesses early on so that I may prepare lessons that best fit their needs and learning styles.
Because I believe in a world that values multiculturalism and diversity, I support people learning a language not only with the linguistics of the language, but I strive to include cultural awareness in my lessons, as I recognize that language and culture are interwoven.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth - Bachelor in Arts, French
Undergraduate Degree: University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth - Bachelor in Arts, Spanish
Graduate Degree: University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth - Masters in Education, Spanish
Reading, traveling, making soaps
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I understand that not everyone has a knack for language, but I truly believe that everyone has the ability to learn (and use!) a language to some extent. It is important for an instructor to recognize and consider a student’s strengths and weaknesses to prepare lessons that best fit individual needs.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
It's necessary to get a sense of the both the person's ability and comfort level with a language or subject. In teaching a language, I would ask the person what they believe their strengths and weaknesses to be and how comfortable they are speaking the language. I would also give them an idea of my teaching style, so that they may know what to expect from me. If they were comfortable speaking a language early on, I would do so as much as possible.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student to become an independent learner by providing them with tips and tricks to apply to their learning endeavors between lessons, as well as resources that will help them to learn on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Positive reinforcement is key to keep a student motivated. I would also provide feedback regarding improvements that students have made.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would try to explain the concept in a variety of ways. I would also ask them to explain to me what they do understand in their own words so that I can "fill in the gaps."
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To help students who are struggling with reading comprehension, I first ask students what they do not understand about the passage, including the questions. If it is vocabulary, we will work that out then try the passage again. I make sure that students understand what the question is asking. If that is made clear and a student still struggles to comprehend a text, I will first ask a student explain what they understand in their own words then ask leading questions based on their knowledge to help the student to better understand the text.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think it is important to have an open and honest dialogue between student and instructor. I let my students know they can be comfortable in asking me anything and that no question is dumb. Different strategies work for different students. While some enjoy joking around with the subject, others appreciate a more straightforward approach. It is necessary to know how a student prefers to work with a subject.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in I would make connections to real life, explaining how the subject is important or helpful in everyday life.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To be sure that a student understands the material I would ask him or her to explain concepts back to me in his or her own words. With language, I would ask him or her to say (translate) something to see if he or she can apply the appropriate vocabulary or grammar.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive reinforcement helps build a student's confidence in a subject. It is necessary to praise and point out when a student has acquired a concept that he or she didn't previously know or use.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate a student's needs, I begin by asking students which areas they think they need to improve. With time and practice, I look out for areas of strength and weakness in each student. I make sure to communicate this to the student as well.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I pride myself on being very flexible. I adapt your tutoring to each student's needs by making sure that lessons and approach are suitable for their abilities and interests.