Studying and teaching languages is my passion, one that I did not discover until the end of my sophomore year in college. But it's too late to learn a language
then! Many might say. Yes, it can be difficult and awkward. I can say that through my own experience as well as studies that I read for my Master's degree coursework in Spanish
language and linguistics. The best time to begin studying a foreign language
is well before adolescence.
But through a lot of determination, a sustained effort, and some good teachers, I not only became fluent in Spanish, but also developed my skills to a point that I beat out native speakers for several bilingual positions. I worked the consulate of a Spanish-speaking country,as a government translator,and as a bilingual communications manager for a law
firm. But I realized that I really preferred teaching. To me there is nothing so worthwhile as working with someone to overcome their fears of reading
, speaking or understanding a foreign language and seeing them make significant progress. Since I not only survived but (eventually) thrived during this journey myself, I not only understand the process... I feel their pain!
So most of my work experience is actually related to education. While I lived in Spain, I taught English
as a Foreign Language in a number of settings, including to groups in language academies and doctors in the local hospital and individual tutoring to high school and college students. As I taught, I realized how difficult English is, so I greatly admire those of you learning it as a second language! I have also taught English as a Second Language
in a few settings in Boston and in Houston. For the last twelve years I taught Spanish full-time, mostly in a Houston public high school. For the most part, I enjoyed that very much, but with more focus on testing and core subjects every year along with constant reductions of resources, personnel and time from foreign language, it got to a point in which I felt most of the reasons that I got into foreign language teaching were no longer there and not likely to return. Perhaps some teachers can teach three different levels (I did for years, including Spanish 3 pre-AP and Spanish 4 AP Language and Culture) and teach thirty or more kids/class effectively, but I feel that I could not. I would rather make a much bigger difference in the lives of fewer students through tutoring, so I have left my full-time position for that and other teaching opportunities.
Every student and situation is unique. I do everything possible to find out my students' goals, interests, resources, strengths and weaknesses and tailor my classes around all of those elements and more. I strongly feel that student input and effort is essential to success, so I welcome feedback. Whether you would like to improve your conversation skills in English or Spanish over several months or improve your chances of performing well on a particular test in a few weeks, I can probably help you.