Back to School

Yay! It’s my favorite time of year. Nothing better than new notebooks, a fresh pack of markers, some new shiny tabs! I miss back-to-school shopping. There was always something so promising heading off to your first day of school, your backpack full of new binders, neatly organized.

Get back into the groove with some Spanish or Study Skills lessons to stay on top of your classes this year!

Happy Back-to-School time!

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Holes in Education

I have tutored for over six years now.  In that time I have worked with students from 12 months old to adults in their seventies. In this time and with this experience I have learned many things. Now, mind you, some of these things may be a matter of opinion, but I believe they are important.

– No two students are the same

– Textbooks are generally for the birds, and best used as references

– When it comes to grammar explanations, textbooks generally leave students dumbfounded and confused

– The average student needs an English grammar lesson to be able to identify parts of speech in a foreign language

– Immersion is extremely important, as is an excellent foundation

Why are there these ‘holes’ ? Honestly, I don’t know for sure, but here’s my good guess:  the general education system. I understand there are certain subjects that every student needs to learn, i.e. math, reading, etc. But the concept of a general education is beyond ridiculous. No one person is exactly like another. And what does a general education do? Take all the pressure off the parent and put that pressure on the teacher.

Oh don’t worry about teaching Timmy the alphabet, or phonetics, or even basic manners…..Mrs. Smith will do that for you. And for the parents of her other 29+ students. And we wonder why we have a problem.

Now, this wasn’t meant to be a rant. Truly, I wanted to mention some ‘holes’ I have noticed only to say, perhaps as a parent you can ask your student, ‘how are things going?, are you struggling with something, can I help?’

idk d.o. i.o.

If I asked, “What is an indirect (or direct) object pronoun?”  Does that sound like foreign language itself?

You‘re not alone, but I’m here to help!

If I have the example:

She gives me the gift.

She= subject

Gives= verb

Me= indirect object (the person receiving the action)

The gift= the direct object (the thing we‘re talking about)

In Spanish our indirect object pronouns are:

Me

Te

Le/Se

Nos

Os

Les/se

Our direct object pronouns are:

Lo/la

Los/las

Order:

Subject, indirect object pronoun, direct object pronoun, conjugated verb

fresca como una lechuga

Let’s start off the week all ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’!  It will be great, we’ll get so much done, and you will feel awesome!

Now I have to explain the saying that is my title.  My freshman year of college I took this great seminar class where we explored the political history of Latin America through its authors.  It was such a wonderful class taught by a very interesting man, Juan Allende.  Name sound familiar?  Anyone out there who is a Isabel Allende fan (you may freak out….or not, but I really did) will be excited to know that this man was (is) her brother.

I will tell you right now that this intimate (we only had about 8 people in the class) little seminar was the best class of my college career.  Being a freshman, I only knew two things:  1. I wanted to study Spanish and 2.  I wanted to learn about Latin America.  Sorry U.S., but we’re seriously lacking in the history education department.  In my experience, the only history you learn (secondary education) is U.S. History and Western European History.  What about Asia? Nope. Latin America? Nope. Africa? Nope.  The Middle East? Nope.

So, you can see that this seminar class was an exciting eye opener!  Near the end of the semester the professor (who we grew to really love and tried to convince him to show up one day to class in his pajamas…he refused and that is another long story) told us to write our own pieces of poetry, about whatever we wanted, and present them to the class.  The day before presentations he said to us, “I want you to be as fresh as lettuce!”.  And we all gave him that ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look.  What??  Lettuce??

Yes, and now that is an expression I’ve heard many times: ‘fresca como una lechuga’ a.k.a ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’.  So, here’s to hoping you have a fresh week!

De nuevo a escuela (Back to School)

ImageSchool is starting again soon (at least in the South).  Get a head start on the year and review a little by booking a tutoring session.  Book 5 sessions for 5% OFF by August 5.  This applies to all sessions, online or in-person.

 

Can’t wait to start the new year!

5 Things to Consider When Hiring a (Language) Tutor

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1. What are your goals?  Do you want to be fluent, conversational or get an “A” in Spanish class?  Any and all are great, but be sure you know what you are looking for.

2. Have expectations, but be reasonable.  Fluency and learning take time, no matter what the language or subject.  Hire a tutor before you start struggling in class.  It’s better to be prepared and not need much help than to wait a few weeks before grades come in.  Having a tutor is helpful to grasp concepts and help with understanding, clarification, etc.  But tutoring is more effective when you also put study time in on your own.

3. Tutoring can be fun! Depending on what your goals/needs are, sometimes it’s nice to do something out-of-the-box, creative, and away from the textbook.

4. Ask your tutor if they have any specials, discounts, or packages.  Many times your tutor is willing to work with you and can find ways to meet a budget or schedule.  If you can’t come to them, maybe they can come to you.  If traffic is consistently a problem, consider online lessons.

5. Is your tutor a full-time or part-time tutor? Now, this may sound like a silly question, but it’s an important one.  If your tutor is full-time, they may have more openings and scheduling options, which could be beneficial.  Also, like any other appointment you schedule, try to keep it or reschedule with enough warning.  That way, rescheduling is much easier on the tutor and the student.

I saw the sign

While studying abroad in Córdoba, Argentina, we had the opportunity to travel around the country during our free time.  As we traveled, I began to notice the signage; bus stops, cross walks, graffiti, and translated signs.  In highly trafficked tourist areas there were many signs in various languages.  In these places I noticed that the signs translated from Spanish to English, were not always translated correctly, which made me wonder, how often do we also make those mistakes?  However, although some words were missing, one could understand the message!

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