Maria Beviar is a native Spanish tutor on her way to become a fully qualified teacher in further education. She is completing her final year of the DTLLS qualification. Maria also has her own business, working from home teaching 20 to 25 hours per week regularly. This is in addition to 2 evening courses for the WEA 101 branch (numbers did not quite make the planned for third course this autumn!).
The first thing you notice about Maria is her passion for whatever she does. It’s contagious, too. Her natural enthusiasm just bubbles through and takes you with her. Maria says, I love communicating and have done ever since I can remember. Teaching languages is a wonderful way of communicating and helping other people. You can be your own ambassador of your own country: promote your own country and spread culture. Others find it helpful.’
Maria continues, ‘Teaching Spanish is very fulfilling. It’s challenging, too.’
Maria has built up courses at the WEA 101 branch over the last 3 years’ ago, from one initially, to 2 in 2011-12 and 3 planned for 2013-14. ‘Recommendations, existing students bringing in other friends and relatives naturally generate interest,’ adds Maria. ‘Students promote the courses and they have become really successful. The evidence is that people have re-enrolled for the autumn to take Spanish skills to a higher level.’
Maria has enjoyed the positive feedback from students. ‘It’s something to look forward to during the year. To know, too, that you are having a positive impact on people’s social skills. Beautiful friendships have come out of the classes. People have kept in touch over the summer – to watch Spanish films and meeting to share Tapas.’
Not only does Maria’s natural enthusiasm attract and retain students but she pro-actively recruits more new students using social media and flyers. Gumtree is another of her favourites.
Another unique feature of Maria’s classes is that often English is not the first language in a group. ‘Students’ mother tongues have been Polish, Czech and Bulgarian.’ This makes it tough for Maria as no one speaks English as the base language and they want to learn Spanish! However, her enthusiasm bubbles through and she relishes the challenge.
Teaching currently occupies all of Maria’s time – weekdays and weekends – a devotion!
Maria’s teaching style is very varied, too. She uses lots of visual aids, such as pictures on PowerPoint/ projected digitally, flash cards, and even a Genga tower to build own towers to check previous learning – they write on bricks!
At the end of each course, Maria likes to celebrate with her students by awarding them with certificates and sharing Spanish flag cup cakes