I had the privilege of living in Spain for thirteen years of my adult life with the number one job description for the first year being to learn the language. The rest of that time we lived and worked with the local people and were not around English speakers. So while English is my first language, I had plenty of time to learn Spanish and lived in the environment long enough to become very comfortable with that language and culture. Also, I am involved with Spanish speaking people in the area on a weekly basis in my church and also in translating for services there. This group of people in my church are from around fifteen different Spanish speaking countries in Latin and South America, and we have no difficulties in communicating with each other.
After returning to the United States, I went back to school and majored in Spanish and became a high school Spanish teacher. While completing my degree, I substitute taught for 3 years in Spanish classrooms in the school district where I live. I noticed that sometimes there was a high level of frustration between student and teacher when the teacher was from another country, and their Spanish was stronger than their English. They would have difficulty understanding or explaining a concept because of being weak in English grammmar or having difficulty in understanding the struggles the English speakers were having in comparison to Spanish. This was not a problem for me, since I struggled with some of those same issues.
After teaching one year in a public high school, I switched to a private college prep academy for the next eight years, where I could focus on the students and improving my skills in teaching the language.
In tutoring, I can assist my students in the textbook they are using at school and help them to be prepared for the next class day. Since I have taught all the grammar in Spanish I, II, and III, I also use various tools and visuals and techniques to make these concepts easier to grasp for the student who struggles.
I realize that foreign languages are easier for some students than for others and will work with each student to find ways that work for them to get through the difficult parts.
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