I teach because I love sharing my passion for the Spanish language and culture as well as helping students develop their language skills and grow in confidence. I have seven years of experience in an IB-certified high school writing curriculum and teaching classes for levels 1, 2, 4 and IB Language B SL and HL. Over the years, my students have described me as caring, engaging, positive and a gifted teacher. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish as well as my Bachelor of Science in Foreign Language Education from the University of Georgia and my Masters in Spanish Language and Culture from the University of Salamanca, Spain. Having lived in Spain four times, I enjoy teaching with authentic resources and experiences.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Georgia - Bachelors, Spanish and Education
Graduate Degree: University of Salamanca - Masters, Spanish Language and Culture
Exercising at the gym, running, cycling, dancing, photography, sports, cooking, painting
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Students are always to be the center of learning. I purposefully vary lessons and cater them to the student's learning needs and interests. Furthermore, through contextualization and deliberate questioning, I challenge students to move past rote memorization and on to analyzing, drawing connections and forming opinions or solutions.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would listen to the student describe his interests and how he learns best. Then I would have him set a realistic and measurable goal for himself. Depending on the level of the student, I may conduct this short introduction in English in order to lower the student's effective filter. Then I would do some activities/games to build vocabulary for future lessons.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Self-assessment and self-evaluation are very important in the learning process. I often promote student error correction and have students rate their own assignments on a rubric before I rate them myself. Also, I am deliberate in pointing out patterns and connections so that students can learn to recognize them themselves.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would make sure that the student feels successful by creating activities that are i+1 (intellect plus 1) so that the student can both understand and be challenged. I would also create lessons centered on the student's interests.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would contextualize the concept in a variety of settings as well as try to draw a parallel to another concept that the student understands.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would work to build the student's vocabulary. Stephen Krashen states that the text must be 90% comprehensible in terms of vocabulary structures in order for a student to be successful with that text. Vocabulary is the key to success with reading comprehension in a foreign language.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
According to research, reading is the fastest way to gain proficiency in a foreign language. In my experience, I have found this to be accurate. My most successful strategies center around vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would put the subject in a real-world context. I absolutely love the Spanish culture, and truly believe that everyone can find something about it to enjoy.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I am constantly checking for understanding throughout a lesson. For example, sometimes I ask a student to summarize what I said or to explain how or why.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A student must succeed to have confidence. If the lessons that I create are too difficult, the student will feel defeated. I must cater to the student's level, adding difficulty as he progresses.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I learn a student's needs by observing what makes him feel unsure and what makes him draw connections and conclusions. Also, I like to employ a variety of strategies and let the student tell me what helped him most.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I use visual aids, synonyms, mnemonic devices, songs and more to cater to the needs of my students.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I love to use fables, short stories, novels (yes even in level 1!) and authentic texts from blogs, magazine articles and more. Repetition and novelty are crucial in language learning, so I am careful to create or pick texts that have both at that student's skill level.