I tutor both Spanish and ESL classes. I have been studying Spanish since my first year of high school and over the course of my studies have begun to love the language, the culture it represents, the people associated with it, and basically the knowledge and experiences that come from allowing oneself to get involved in another culture. I was not sure what career I wanted to enter into after college but I knew what I had a passion for and decided to follow that passion.
After graduating from Flagler College with a degree in Spanish Language and Culture and an minor in Philosophy I was faced with the challenge that most millennials face in today's world: what next? I decided it was time to travel and put my knowledge of Spanish to the test. So, I moved to beautiful Puerto, Vallarta, Mexico, where I began teaching English to students of all ages (ranging from 10 to 40+). The people I met while there, the stories I have, and the memories I will never forget helped me grow and find out more about myself; they helped me realize what was the next chapter of my life. I returned to the states after 7 months abroad to prepare for what I had an inkling I would end up doing since I was a little kid- law school.
Right now I live in St. Augustine, Fl, loving each day and appreciating this beautiful city for what it is. In my free time I love to hang out with my friends, play either of my favorite sports, golf and basketball, and work on cars. I still stay connected with almost all of my professors from Flagler and we often times find ourselves working on a project together, which I love because it helps keep me connected to my alma matter.
Learning a new language can be tough, intimidating, and down right scary at times, BUT with the right person there guiding you, can be an incredibly rewarding experience that can open up doors that were previously unimaginable. I know what it's like to be scared and intimidated because I started learning from a textbook in a high school classroom just like many of the students I teach. I gained my fluency form books, music, and movies, but without immersion. I never lived abroad until after I graduated from Flagler College. Why do I say that? I say that because it can be done, and because I accomplished it like many of my students are trying to, I have some tricks, tools, techniques, etc. from years of experience that I love sharing with each of my students because it allows them to then learn what I found out I had an extreme passion for- culture, language, and learning about the world.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Flagler College-St Augustine - Bachelors, Spanish Language and Literature, Philosophy Minor
Graduate Degree: Stetson Law - Current Grad Student, Juris Doctorate (Law Degree)
Golf, basketball, cars, spending time with friends and family, etc.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in a student-centered approach to teaching. The student sets the pace of the lessons and by doing so maximizes each aspect of learning. There is no point in flying through a particular grammar point or subject area if the student will only retain 40% of what was said. Therefore, I believe in allowing the student adequate time to be mentored in a certain area to allow for the highest comprehension and retention level possible.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session is all about getting to know whom we will be working with. Just as I want to get to know the student, he or she needs to get to know me. Introductions, icebreakers, and informal conversation for a few minutes are key to this. After that, we use the aforementioned information as groundwork for an introductory lesson into what he or she will be learning.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independence is tough. I understand that, having gone through exactly what my students are or will be going through. That being said, establishing a level of confidence and positive reinforcement allow the student to accrue a "can do" mentality, which is the catalyst for successful independent learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is key! Relaying as many topics as possible back to the student’s life and/or interests is what can help with this. Not all topics are fun and not all are interesting and because of this, we need to capitalize when we have the freedom to do so by bringing the subject to the student. In that, we structure the lesson so it pertains to the student and therefore can help with motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Slow down, pinpoint the area of confusion, and try our best to work through comprehension of it. Extra problems, more guidance, and a slower pace can help accomplish this.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension can be tough, especially when in a foreign language. I am familiar with the struggles and intimidation this can bring to the student and therefore I can empathize with them, which can be comforting. Basically, reading comprehension is tough and it isn't something learned overnight but it CAN be mastered through slow and concentrated practice.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The number one most important strategy I have found is to not dominate a lesson. This is not a history class, I should not be lecturing and having the student taking notes. My tutoring sessions are all about the student: they learn, they ask questions, and they overcome things on their own. I am there to guide them and make sure they learn the correct way of doing things. That is, especially with languages, a student needs to explore the language for themselves, not simply absorb what a teacher or tutor is saying and then regurgitate it later.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Struggling in a subject is very common, especially with foreign languages because they are exactly that- FOREIGN! By breaking down the area that is holding him or her up and employing some tricks or learning tools, along with different forms of practicing (worksheets, games, riddles, etc.) then the subject might not look as tough as it did. When that shift happens, it's only a mater of time before they conquer it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Any sort of exercises that allows me to check the student's work. For example, a worksheet could be done and then we go over each answer together, the ones he or she got correct and the ones they got wrong. By simply marking a question wrong without the student knowing what exactly was wrong about it deters comprehension and learning, but examining it closer can really help absorption and knowledge of the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence can be a major deterrent in learning a new language. In order to build his or her confidence, constant positive reinforcement and an absence of negative emotions and attitudes is key. The idea or notion that he or she "cannot" learn something must be forbidden. Just because something is tough at the time it does not have to be impossible to overcome.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through conversation, questioning, and written assessments. Starting off with very basic sentences and grammar points, and slowly progressing as near to full conversations as possible. Where the student falters is where the tutoring begins.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Each student is different and a tutor needs to be aware of this. I run a student-driven lesson and therefore whatever they need I am able to adhere to. Whether it's more time on a certain subject plan, or if something is too easy and they would like to speed the lesson up; whatever the case, it is up to them. With regards to specific activities, I follow the same philosophy. If the student can successfully accomplish writing activities, but does not retain enough of the information off those then he or she might be an oral learner and therefore the lesson shifts to more conversational.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Essentially the student will have a textbook, but it is not necessary. Worksheets, audio recordings, videos, etc. are all tools to help in learning.