Hola! Bienvenido! Hello and Welcome!
My name's Jason and I love Spanish and Latin America. I'm currently a PhD student at University of Georgia. Here I am a teaching assistant for undergraduate classes in Human Development. I've been tutoring Spanish and English since 2010. I majored in Spanish at University of California, Davis, lived in Mexico for 3 years where I completed a Master's degree in Counseling, studied Spanish Literature and Psychology at the University of Costa Rica for 7 months and have traveled around a few other Latin American Countries.
I can do conversation classes and academic ones too. I have a lot of material and activities to facilitate fun learning. My command of the language is almost native. I work best with those who already have a base in Spanish but want to prefect their knowledge of proverbs, sayings, jokes, cultural aspects of Spanish, grammar, vocabulary, conjugation, listening and overall language skills. That said, I can work with anyone at any level of Spanish, and have plenty of experience with students from ages 5 to 67.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Davis - Bachelors, Spanish
Graduate Degree: Alliant International University - Masters, International Counseling Psychology
yoga, exercise, meditation, reading, drums, movies, Spanish and traveling
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Unfortunately, it is common for students to feel like their tutor is not a 'good fit,' and thus search again for another one. Looking for the 'right' tutor can be an arduous process. Many students and parents believe that finding a good tutor is only about his or her subject acumen. As part of my teaching philosophy, here I review other, often-overlooked factors to keep in mind when looking for a tutor, to raise the chances of finding someone you or your son or daughter works well with and feels helped by. When you finish, hopefully you'll know what else to look for. Effective tutoring hinges on your tutor's ability to connect with you on a personal level in a few ways that have little to do with the subject matter. I'm not saying your tutor needs to be your best friend but he or she should tune into and express interest in your interests and personality. The relationship you construct with your tutor may be just as important (if not more important) than his/her subject knowledge. It's often what makes the professional relationship 'click' or not. You only feel comfortable and push yourself to learn and grow if you feel respected, comfortable, and safe with your tutor. Effective tutors cater to the specific needs and preferences of each student. A basic example of this is discovering what you enjoy the most, i.e. reviewing books together or always practicing conversation if Spanish is the subject, and your tutor should be able to go with it, match you and meet you where you are. Your tutor should be open and receptive to your requests. In this sense, your tutor needs to be sensitive enough to detect where you are emotionally regarding your subject matter and tailor his or her "educational interventions" appropriately. This implies responding empathically (without over-doing it), validating your difficulties and complexities of the given subject. For example, if the subject is Spanish, you should feel comfortable communicating to what extent you would like him/her to correct your pronunciation (frequently or barely ever) depending on your preferred learning style, motivation to learn and comfort being corrected, and your tutor should adjust his style accordingly. Effective tutors are especially aware of the developmental stage of each of their students. Younger students mean more visual learning, for instance. This doesn't only refer to your chronological age but also your intellectual capacity and overall level of emotional maturity to handle the discomfort of not knowing while having an outsider explain. Your tutor should be sensitive to this, as it will also help the two of you gauge the optimal amount of time to conduct a tutor session, which can usually range anywhere from 30 minutes up to 3 hours. The goal is for you to feel challenged in the subject matter before you reach your threshold (i.e. when your brain feels fried). Another overlooked aspect is the level of hopefulness, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and praise your tutor brings to the table, especially in the face of your frustration, doubt, insecurity, and sometimes mere lack of interest in subject matter. If you get an answer right, or make any type of progress, you deserve praise or positive reinforcement. In this case, your tutor should give you a 'high-5,' or a similar gesture, to foster the professional relationship with you and express caring. Furthermore, your tutor's ability to infuse passion, playfulness and creativity into the tutoring sessions is essential; they can feel drab or routine if you do same thing every time, and even more so if your school teacher in that subject matter bores you. This particularly applies to you if you don't want tutoring but your parents insist. You most likely won't get anywhere if your tutor doesn't spark your interest in the subject and do a little bonding before attempting to teach. This will also later help your tutor appropriately challenge your knowledge of the given subject, pushing you to learn without going over your head. There is a giant schism between your tutor's knowledge of your subject and his or her tutoring skills. We have all had teachers in high school or college who didn't teach us much, despite their expert status on the given subject matter. Your tutor's job is to explain key concepts, patterns, and ideas from our subject non-esoterically, in layman's terms and in a fun way tailored to your personality and interests. This includes mnemonic devices, stories, songs, pictures, anything 'out of the box' that links the subject matter to your life in a personal way and makes it more 'friendly' for you. Your tutor's ability to do this will stem from the professional relationship he or she builds with you. Effective tutors frequently elicit student participation. Outcome studies show that student participation is directly related to tutoring's success. If you are passive or quiet, you most likely aren't learning much. If you're quiet with your tutor, no need to panic, just request a more collaborative approach with your tutor. He or she should be able to ask you, "How can I make this a better experience for you so we can work together more effectively?" A tutor's relational skills and ability to accommodate to your specific learning needs cannot be overlooked; it is often more important that his or her subject acumen. It Ultimately Depends on You! Lastly and most importantly, remember that the most effective tutors can't 'make' you pass a class if you don't focus and put the work in. You'll usually need to work harder than your tutor, as tough as this may sound. You most likely will need to study in between tutoring sessions. If you pass or not, learn or not, take advantage of the sessions or not, it reflects your effort too, as opposed to only your tutor's abilities. That stated, voice your needs to your tutor. If he or she doesn't adapt to your learning style, subject needs and preferences, it most likely will be time to try someone else.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Assess how much they know, how much they would like to learn, and where they would like to be as tutoring progresses.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Encourage constant and consistent of the following "essential 4": -reading -writing -speaking -listening
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Reflect on how in can enrich their lives professionally, economically, culturally, and personally.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Ask where she/he is stuck and break it down into steps. Ask what they feel they need; use videos, worksheets, games and other activities to facilitate learning if necessary.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Break the passages and sentences down into smaller parts.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Checking in often what is and isn't helpful in the tutoring process.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Ask of a previous time they 'kept with it' even though it was difficult, and are very grateful they did OR Relate my personal struggles with Spanish when I was initially learning it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Verbal quizzes, sometimes token economies, and asking how they've applied and benefited from what they've been learning.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Underscoring those minor successes that lead to bigger success.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Asking questions about their experience, knowledge, and reviewing their work.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Constantly check in with what best facilitates learning for them.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Videos, notes, worksheets, games, role-playing, and dictionaries.