I am a native of Transylvania County who returned here in 2014 after many years away. I am excited to teach your children Spanish in hopes that by the time they reach high school they will not only excel in high school Spanish courses but will have a working understanding of Spanish and the ability to carry on conversations in the target language -- an achievement that few high school spanish students ever achieve. I teach your children through what is called Total Physical Response. It focuses on understanding spoken Spanish first and uses actions carried out by your child responding to my commands communicated in Spanish.
This is how you taught your child English. No child ever learned their native language by speaking first. Every infant spends the first two to three years of their lives listening to and responding to their parents' commands and eventually they integrate this understanding (what foreign language teachers call input) into their brains and begin to speak (output). TPR achieves proficiency in 95 percent of students who study a foreign language by this method as opposed to only 10 percent of students taught through traditional methods. Not only is it effective at getting your child to understand spoken Spanish, it is also enjoyable and creates less stress, which can block learning and memorization. We do things like walk, run, dance, sing, sit on desks, shout at each other, speak to each other, pretend to eat plastic fruit, fly like planes, fly like birds and "drive" cars -- all the while laughing, having fun and, unbeknownst to your child, learning Spanish.
I graduated from Brevard High School in 1982 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. I studied Spanish at UNC, at the Centro Lingüístico Maya in Antigua, Guatemala and for six hours a week for a year with private tutors I hired in Washington, D.C. I have worked extensively in Latin America, helping to advise political candidates in Mexico and El Salvador. In 2000, I had the privilege of observing the Mexican presidential election in which Vicente Fox was the first candidate not of the ruling PRI party to win the presidency since the end of the Mexican revolution in 1910.
I returned to North Carolina in 2002 to start the first Spanish language weekly newspaper in western North Carolina. My experience includes launching Spanish language media relations for Fannie Mae, the nation's largest owner of mortgages and work in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives as a press secretary. For many years after college, I was a daily newspaper reporter in Raleigh, Asheville and Greensboro and began my career at the Associated Press in Raleigh.