A photo of Tessa, a tutor from Eastern Kentucky University

Tessa

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I am passionate about teaching others, and I have had a lifelong love of the Spanish language and culture. I earned my Bachelor's degree in Spanish Teaching K-12 with a minor in Psychology from Eastern Kentucky University in 2008. I later pursued a Master's degree the Teaching of Languages with a Spanish emphasis, which I completed in 2015 through the University of Southern Mississippi. When I teach, I strive to truly connect with the student to ensure they are understanding and grasping the concepts. I aim to be very patient and diligent in this process. I have 8 years of formal experience teaching high school students, as well as experience teaching elementary grades in my undergraduate teaching program. I am certified to teach K-12 Spanish in the state of Kentucky, and my Master's degree in the Teaching of Spanish also qualifies me to teach at the university level.

I enjoy approaching my teaching with creative aspects, a variety of resources, and connecting the content to real-world scenarios. I intend to use the strategies that allow you to learn best based on your personal learning style. I like to involve the learner in the tutoring session as much as possible, and I want to help students achieve their goals.

Apart from my interest in Spanish, I enjoy spending time sewing and crafting, playing piano, hiking with my husband, and cuddling my two cats.

If you need assistance in Spanish, I would be glad to help!

Tessa’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Eastern Kentucky University - Bachelors, Spanish Teaching

Graduate Degree: University of Southern Mississippi - Masters, Teaching of Languages -Spanish

Hobbies

sewing, crafting, piano, hiking, reading

Tutoring Subjects


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My primary goal is to facilitate language teaching to help students truly communicate in Spanish. I aim to teach in a way that is relevant to students and builds on their strengths and is tailored to their particular learning style. I strive to ensure that students meet their language goals through the use of authentic resources, interactive speaking activities, and setting small goals to increase student confidence.

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

Before the first session starts, I intend to find out which concepts the student is struggling with, or what specific goals the student has for learning Spanish. When the session begins, I already have a general plan of how we will tackle that goal little by little. I begin with getting to know the student, what his/her interests are, how comfortable they are with Spanish, etc. I make sure the student knows what the goal is for the session and what we aim to achieve. Then we would work through the actual concept/through me speaking Spanish with the student, showing a video resource with it being used, or even simply writing it and explaining it more clearly. Throughout the session, I include times to check your understanding and see if we are ready to move on. If not, I would approach the concept in a different way. As the session continued, we would build on the concept to more complex usage, if the student is ready. By the end of the session, we would review what was learned, check whether or not we met the goal yet, and suggest some further practice before the next session.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I think it is extremely important to avoid lecturing students or simply 'talking at them.' I am simply the facilitator to guide the student in his/her own learning. I help students take ownership for their own learning by exposing them to Spanish in context, in real-world scenarios, and then having them discover the meanings and how it is used. I have them ask the questions and formulate the answers. I am there to assist and to guide step-by-step, but ultimately the students themselves are those who are unlocking their own learning potential.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To keep students motivated, I think it is important to set small goals. There is a strong sense of achievement when we meet small goals, and it builds confidence, which increases motivation. I also aim to show how much fun speaking Spanish really is, and as I find out more about what the student is interested in, I connect those aspects to my teaching.

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

If there is difficulty learning a concept, I would first want to ensure that it is being taught in a manner that the student is most likely to understand it. If a student is more of an auditory learner and all you are doing is showing them visual examples, it is not going to be effective. Besides making sure I am teaching according to their learning styles, I also break concepts down into small parts and teach them step-by-step, gradually increasing complexity, yet checking understanding as we go through the process. Finally, I think it is really vital to use an entirely different approach to teaching the second time if a student did not 'get it' the first time. Throughout the process, I aim to encourage and keep the session positive.

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

With reading comprehension, I think many times it is not so much that the student is not comprehending it, but instead that they become overwhelmed and intimidated by what they are reading, which prevents them from even being able to begin to comprehend it. That's why I always make sure to present text in small amounts.

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

I have found it is really helpful to get to know the students first. What types of things are they interested in? What are their hobbies? As I discover who they are, I can find ways to include those interests within the session.

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

Most importantly, show them why it is useful! Show them how learning that subject really pays off! If I can demonstrate to a student the reality of how necessary knowing Spanish really is, and the degree to which it is helpful for them beyond just taking a class, I think they will be more willing to stick with it and work through their obstacles to learning the language.