We’re back with another one of our tutor interviews, where you get to find out more about some of our fantastic tutors as people, including what inspired them to get into teaching, what some of their favourite learner success stories are, and how they got started with their skill and with teaching. This time we spoke to Spanish Tutor Claudia Sayago, who actually learnt to speak English with KAE upon moving to England, so understands adult learning through the perspective of both a learner and a tutor.
Favourite meal: “My favourite meal is vegetables and fish – a mediterranean dinner. I’m also crazy about nuts.”
Favourite film: “I don’t really have favourite films but I recently saw a film called Palm Trees in the Snow, which was quite an intense film.”
Favourite holiday destination: “Well lately, I prefer warmer weather. I haven’t had a chance to go on holiday lately – if I go abroad I visit Argentina to visit family and when it’s summer here it’s winter over there. My little one would like a holiday in Spain soon.
Favourite hobbies outside of work: “I try to go to the gym, I like doing spin classes twice a week.”
Place of birth: “Argentina, my family come from Italy and migrated to Argentina. Half of my family is Spanish, half is Italian.”
How long have you lived in England?
“I think it’s about 14 years. I moved to England because of my ex-husband, we got married here and once he settled here I followed.”
Did you move to England as a non-English speaker, and if so how were you taught to speak English fluently?
“Interestingly I studied English with Kent Adult Education before then going on to become a teacher. My experience learning English was fantastic so it made me want to teach and learning from my old tutor helped a lot in my teacher training.”
What made you decide to start teaching Spanish?
“I had a Mexican friend who used to work for KAE and she suggested that it would be lovely if I could start teaching Spanish. I wasn’t sure as I didn’t have experience of teaching languages, but had experience of teaching. My background is in electronic engineering so I used to teach psychics.”
How long have you been teaching Spanish in England, and how long for KAE?
“I think it’s about 10 years as I started in 2006. I started my teaching with you.”
Did you find learning English difficult?
“It was enjoyable because of my tutor, and I met people from different parts of the world with different capabilities. The tutor could cater for all sorts of needs. It was only two hours per week so I would have loved to stay for longer.”
What do you enjoy most about teaching for KAE?
“Interacting with my students and other adults, they come with different experiences and the students are increasingly getting younger. Also the fact that they want to learn a language for many different reasons. I love the diversity of the class in ages and background.”
Can you think of any words or phrases in Spanish that students seem to find particularly difficult to pick up?
“I think they find different sounds in Spanish funny. The pronunciation of ‘ga’ in ‘organga ‘ so a ‘hah’ sound for example.”
Are there any success stories of any of your students that you are particularly proud of as a tutor?
“I have so many stories of my students and amazing people who join us to learn Spanish with different abilities and it’s amazing how people who struggle then get motivated and carry on. From my own experience I realise it’s not that easy. One of my students is studying to read the bible in Spanish, I have another student who is helping her daughter with her secondary school education.”
What would you say to anyone thinking of learning a new language?
“Come and join us! It’s really enjoyable and we have amazing groups of people who are all trying to learn a language. We have coffee together at break times so it’s both a social environment and a learning environment. It’s enjoyable bringing different experiences into the room, and everyone is supportive and wants to help each other learn. KAE is a friendly environment.”
What do you think makes you a good tutor?
“Being a good tutor is something that you build up over time whilst teaching. I want to thank my students as they are the ones that make me able to be a good teacher and build different skills. It’s their needs that make me learn and develop.”
It was fascinating to speak to someone like Claudia who has had such a journey with KAE as both a learner and a tutor. If you’d like to find out more about Claudia as a tutor first-hand, take a look at her courses by clicking the button below.