Patricia is a dancer, a music-lover, and an Amazing Spanish Teacher with Strommen.
Our teachers are the best and they deserve to be highlighted. In our new section, Strommen Teacher Spotlights, we will ask our best teachers a few fun questions and let them take it away from there.
Where are you from and where have you lived?
I was born in Bogota, Colombia and after finishing high school I went to study in England and lived in different areas of Great Britain for seven years. When I returned to Colombia, after so many years of cold weather, I decided to live in Medellin (the city of eternal Spring) where I began to teach English In a small British school and later on in a binational center. After five years I moved back to Bogota where my daughter was Born and when she was nine years old we moved to the USA. sixteen years in the Hudson Valley NY and one year in Los Angeles. I love it here!
You are one of Strommen’s most popular Language teachers. Students tell us how awesome you are all the time. Why do you think that is?
Patricia: I am not sure, but I think that the secret is that I try to listen to them and really find out what they need in order to acquire the language and feel comfortable while they are in class. I share with them their experiences and enjoy their company. Students work hard all day and after long hours they come to Spanish class. That is a hard thing to do! I like to plan a class in which they feel stress free and totally pleased to be learning so that when they leave my house they feel happy they didn’t skip class. Each one of us learns in a different way and as teachers we need to take that into account. Working for Strommen is great for me because I am free and allowed to develop as the teacher I always wanted to be.
What languages do you speak? What languages do you teach?
Patricia: I speak Spanish, English and some French and I am studying Portuguese. I teach Spanish and ESL.
What do you miss most about your home town?
What I miss the most is the conversations I had with my friends. The fact that at anytime, any day people could get together and start a party without any planning. Spontaneity, that’s something I miss a lot.
What is the coolest job you had with Strommen?
Patricia: I enjoy all of my students with Strommen!
What are your interests outside of teaching at Strommen?
Patricia: I love beading. Every time i’m not working I am either making a necklace, bracelet, etc or buying beads on websites and ebay. I love traveling, design, animals and dancing. In my culture people dance! regardless of age. We love music and dance like there’s no tomorrow.
How do you stay connected to your home country in LA?
Patricia: I keep in touch with my friends in Bogota, I try to be updated with the news and listen to music. I often travel and visit new places and eat Colombian food when I can and most importantly speak Spanish.
Any advice for beginners to your language?
Patricia: Learning a second language is no easy task and there are times when we give up and lose motivation. discipline and perseverance is necessary. When you are tired, get involved in the cultural aspects, watch a movie, listen to a song, own the language, talk to somebody on the street. LA has so many opportunities to practice, and most of all be patient It will happen.
Why did you start teaching?
Patricia: It really was something that had never crossed my mind. I was studying Sociology in England and was planning on becoming a social worker. One time when I was in Medellin on vacation visiting my half brother and his family, one of my nieces asked me if I could help her do her English homework. As I was doing it, I really enjoyed how I could help her, and my sister in- Law who was watching us told me that maybe I could apply for a position as an English teacher at a small school not far from their house. I didn’t believe I could be hired, and so we had a bet. I promised I would move if I got the job, and so I did. This is how I moved back to Colombia leaving everything behind. It is a decision that I have never regretted. I became a much happier person!
What did you do before teaching?
Patricia: I have only worked as a teacher. First English and then Spanish. I had some Summer jobs during the time I was living in England like working in hotels, and as a waitress.
Do you like working with Strommen? Why?
Patricia: I love it!! I feel like I am being myself. In all these years I have worked in many places and at Strommen I am always supported, helped and trusted. They really believe I’m a good teacher and that helps me to be one. I can schedule the hours I want and work where I want. I am paid fairly and on time. I have total autonomy. What else do you want? Besides, I have had the most interesting students anyone could ever have. People who really want to learn.
What is your favorite thing about teaching your language specifically?
I love to see my students making progress. Spanish is not an easy language for English speakers. The tenses can be hard , so I love to explain the mechanics and how those tenses work. I also love teaching vocabulary through music and by reading a book or an article of interest. Talking about my country or other Spanish speaking countries that the students have visited is very enriching. I am so happy to have been born in Colombia, that I can not ever imagine myself not being able to understand the music I hear and feel the way I do when I listen to it. Spanish is beautiful and I’m grateful I speak it!