I graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and teacher certification in Spanish for grades 6-12. I’ve taught Spanish levels 1, 2 and 3 to middle and high school students and I’ve worked with English as a Second Language students to improve their English skills. I tutor in beginning, intermediate, advanced and conversational Spanish. I did Master’s level work in Mass Communications at Texas Tech University and instructed college freshmen and sophomores in journalism and student publications. Being bilingual opens many doors of opportunity. I’ve used my knowledge of Spanish and communication skills to assist non-profit organizations in raising millions of dollars to help people in need. I am tutoring because it is an awesome privilege to be able to help students feel successful in gaining new knowledge or learning new skills. When students make connections between what goes on in their everyday lives and what they are learning, exciting things happen! I believe creative teaching engages a student, and when students are engaged, they are motivated to learn. Students are not simply empty vessels to be filled with knowledge. They have a significant contribution to make in the learning process. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, public speaking, and being challenged by a good word puzzle.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe every student has a contribution to make to the learning process. Student needs and interests are integral to the lesson and impact the learning dynamic.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would get to know the student and his/her expectations and needs. Secondly, I would determine what level of comprehension the student has with the subject matter and help the student to set realistic goals for our work together.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
First I would help the student articulate the purpose in learning, and then I would encourage the student to ask questions that spark curiosity about what is being learned and how it impacts the student's worldview.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Initial and ongoing success is essential to keeping a student engaged. I would implement strategies to help overcome student frustration when learning difficulties occur.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try new activities using different learning modalities. Each student has his/her own learning style and more difficult concepts can sometimes be more easily grasped using more than one learning method.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
With a foreign language, reading comprehension is a challenge. I teach students to identify cognates as a way of getting the context of the narrative. Once they become familiar with connecting words like definite articles and prepositions, and they learn to identify cognates, reading comprehension increases. 'Yes' or 'No' reading comprehension questions help as well.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Students need to feel initial success to avoid becoming frustrated. I subscribe to contextual learning. While learning vocabulary words and conjugating verbs are essential to learning a foreign language, simply learning them as elements disconnected from the lesson can confuse a student. Incorporating listening activities and providing simple comprehension questions requiring a yes or no answer can help students to experience initial success in comprehension.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
There are many ways to tap student creativity. I like to use the student's interests and what they bring to the table to help them express themselves in another language.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use oral and written feedback in English and in the target language as appropriate based on the student's level of comprehension.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I help the student build on successes, beginning with initial success from day one. When a student is struggling in one area, it is important to try various strategies to overcome the difficulty before proceeding.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I consider the student's strengths and weaknesses, the student's style of learning, and her/his goals for achievement.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Once desired outcomes have been identified, the student and/or student representative should be involved in discussing any specific needs of the student or adjustments needed to facilitate learning.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use my own materials which address basic and intermediate concepts of language acquisition for learning vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension, but I can also incorporate materials students are using in their studies.