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Why are you passionate about helping students?

For much of my life, I have expressed an interest in sharing my knowledge with others the same way a teacher does for their students. I long to play a teacher/mentor figure in my career in which I transmit knowledge on the subjects I am most passionate about.

Describe your experience working with students.
Throughout my career, I have had much experience working with other students in group efforts as well as helping other peers to clarify certain concepts that I understood more easily. I have worked informally tutoring other students, which has helped me gain a better understanding about what students struggle with the most when trying to study Spanish.

Where did you get your education?
I graduated from Rio Rancho High School in 2013 and am currently a Junior at the University of New Mexico.

What degree(s) have you attained? What degree(s) are you working toward?
I am double majoring in History and Spanish with particular interest in Latin American history. I will also be writing a Departmental Honors Thesis in History.

What subjects do you tutor?
I tutor Spanish at all levels and Latin American History.

What is your favorite subject(s) to tutor, and why?
Spanish is my favorite subject to tutor because I have luckily had the luxury of growing up bilingual and with the ability to grasp the mechanics of the Spanish language, such that I have developed the mind of a linguist, skills that I am more than happy to share with others.

How would you describe your teaching philosophy and your tutoring style?
The best teachers teach what they are most knowledgeable about. With that said, to be an effective tutor, it is crucial that I not only share my knowledge but continue to be invested in how the field continues to change as well as the demands on students in learning a language in our modern, globalized world. Furthermore, it is the job of the teacher/tutor to be a guiding a mentor that teaches their pupil the skills needed to teach themselves.

What interests you outside of academia?
Academia is an important part of my life. However, to pursue and continue working in one's niche, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Outside of academia, I take much interest in pursuing a fruitful life of virtue and health. I take much interest in caring for the Environment as well as keeping a healthy, active lifestyle. I especially take interest in motivational reading and yoga to help me connect with my inner self and live a holistic, satisfying life.

José’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of New Mexico-Main Campus - Bachelors, History and Spanish


Self-learning; Yoga and Cardio exercise; Healthy living; Latin American and U.S. Latino History; Spanish Linguistics; Pan-Hispanic Diaspora

Q & A

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

In a first session, it is important for the tutor and the student to get to know each other; this way each understand the teaching/learning styles and mindsets of the other, and this way they can also begin to develop a sense of confidence in one another.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

"You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him to find the knowledge within himself." The basic concept behind this frequently reiterated quote underlies the entire field of academia, as the role of the teacher/tutor is not to merely provide a learner with facts, but to teach the learner the skills they need to continue in their own intellectual pursuits.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

The best way to stay motivated in anything is to think of long-term progress. No life pursuits are accomplished on a linear path, but on a "two-steps-forward-one-step-back" path. To stay motivated, you must consider how far you have gotten already, despite any setbacks and obstacles, and consider that enough of an accomplishment to keep moving forward.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

The best way to overcome not understanding a certain skill or concept is to teach it to the student through their best learning method. In addition, it is helpful to consider real-life examples of a concept and then take different approaches, perspectives, or standpoints.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I have struggled with reading comprehension. The most effective way to approach reading is to, primarily, get an understanding of what the ultimate message/thesis is of the writer. Anything beyond the overarching premise is a supporting element. Furthermore, naturally, one does not have a complete grasp on any work the first time they approach it. It is through tackling a written work multiple times that one truly gets to know it.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

What I have found most effective when working with a student is not simply giving them the facts, but challenging them to use the mere facts that I have given them to tackle problems that require them to think critically about what they already know to answer them.

What is your teaching philosophy?

The best teachers teach what they are most knowledgeable and passionate about. To be an effective teacher, the teacher must also teach students in the best way they know how to learn.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I would tell them the ways in which they can use the subject in the real world to their advantage, in addition to finding strategies they can use to better understand it and apply it.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would give them practice problems that they could use to apply the concepts they learn, as well as exercise their critical thinking skills, by giving them problems that require them to make connections necessary to gain the right proficiency.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I would tell the many reasons the subject they study matters in the increasingly globalized world we live in today, and how the skills they gain in the subject are essential to partaking in it.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I would evaluate their needs by observing not only what is expected of the student but what skills they already have that they can use to build new skills, as well as assessing where exactly it is they struggle in a certain subject.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Much of the tutoring process revolves around assuring that the way we teach satisfies the needs of the students. I would use the strategies needed to tackle the given concepts, and teach them those same strategies to assure that they understand what they are studying.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

The best materials to use for these subjects are writing materials, as well as samples of readings and audio, to facilitate the acquisition of the language.