About Katie

 

Katie Kemp Pic

What I do:

I teach English and Spanish to students aged 4 to adult.  I create curriculum for language instruction as well as instructional videos for students and teachers to use.

My Qualifications:

BS Education from the University of Dayton in Ohio (2006)

MA Education Instruction and Curriculum Design from Notre Dame de Namur University in California  (2013)

Certification from The University of California San Diego Extension to teach culturally and linguistically diverse students (2010)

Missouri Teaching Certificate to teach Spanish to grades K-12

Missouri Teaching Certificate to teach English to grades 5-9 and 9-12

Missouri Teaching Certificate to teach Social Studies to grades 5-9 and 9-12

10 years of teaching experience, 5 in the classroom, and 5 as a tutor

Click to view my teacher Certificate: Missouri Teacher Certificate

About my learning and teaching journey:

I love studying language.  I didn’t discover this, however, until my twenties.  When I was twenty, I studied abroad in Italy and while I was there, I learned to speak Italian.  Shortly after that, I went to Brazil to teach English as a second language and learned to speak Portuguese.  Although I had studied Spanish formally in school for six years and one semester in college, I really could not speak the language.  In just six short months living in Brazil, studying and using the language each day, I was able to carry on conversations in Portuguese.

Many years later, at the age of thirty, I went to Argentina to teach at a bilingual international school.  I dusted off my Spanish books and reviewed the grammar I once learned and, after nearly two years of using the language regularly and attending Spanish classes, I became nearly fluent.  I continue to use the language every day with my husband, whom I met during my time in Buenos Aires.  During these years of studying other languages, I found that I became more familiar with the general constructs of language, and in turn, more familiar with my own language.

I studied history and political science in college, honing my skills to become a high school social studies teacher.  I imagined the ways I would tell the stories that make up our nation’s and world’s history and how I could make learning fun.  As I began my job hunt, I found that there simply weren’t many jobs available for high school social studies teachers.  Eventually, a middle school language arts job came my way, and up for the challenge to try something unexpected, I found myself teaching English grammar to middle-school students.  I taught middle school language arts for five years, one of those years to ESL learners in Buenos Aires.  I have been studying ways to make the English language comprehensible and meaningful to students for nearly ten years now.

More recently I began the study of teaching Spanish.  Using my own experience learning the language, I have compiled strategies and explanations that helped me as a learner.  As a teacher of both languages, I find ways to imbed the direct grammar instruction into meaningful context.  Whether it be teaching a class of thirty in a classroom or tutoring a student one-on-one, I look for ways to allow the student to explore what interests him or her.  I use direct, explicit instruction of grammatical concepts and writing strategies to give students the tools they need to complete the task at hand: expressing oneself clearly, whether that be written or spoken.  I don’t, however, only focus on grammar and fill-in-the blank-type activities.  I find real-world content that allows students the chance to practice the skills I teach them.  My time teaching at an IB school and my research during graduate school along with several other professional development classes provided me with numerous ways to make learning a more authentic experience.

From my story, I hope that it is clear that I believe education is twofold; it seeks to explain a concept to a student in a comprehensible way and then provides the student with an authentic way to practice and develop the skills necessary to be an effective communicator.  I also hope it is clear that I myself am a language learner.  Language was not something that came naturally for me.  In fact, I did poorly in my English and Spanish classes as a kid.  This experience has given me insight as to what helps learning a language and what does not.

When I am not teaching:

When I am not working, I like to spend time with my husband and my daughter outdoors.  We love to explore our local parks whether on foot or on bike.  My husband and I love to run and compete in races together.  I love to read, cook, travel and listen to music.

 

What some of my students say:

I really liked our sessions, and I liked how we could focus on different aspects each lesson based on my progress. I liked how we practiced communication and you could also help me with assignments I had at school. Overall, the online tutoring really helped me improve in my class at school, and gave me a better understanding of the language. It was really helpful.  Nisha N.

Last year I had taken Spanish 3 and initially I was struggling. For the first semester I was lucky to get a C for each grading period. However, the second semester I signed up for Varsity Tutors where I first met Katie. Through weekly FaceTime calls with Katie, my C turned to a B and my B turned to an A. Not only did she help me have a better understanding of the language, but she related her English teaching background to how things parallel in Spanish. This comparison helped me immensely in fully understanding the grammar. Even after our tutoring sessions have ended, the combined English and Spanish lessons Katie gave me now play a huge role in my English writing. Thanks to her, I recognize English grammar rules that I never even took a second glance at, which have made me much more knowledgeable on the inner workings of English. Not only is Katie a stand up Spanish and English tutor, but she knows how to explain things in terms that any individual can understand. Her ability to explain is 100% what made me do a complete 180 in my grade and comprehension. I, therefore, without a doubt, would recommend Katie to anyone looking for a stronger understanding of the topic being studied.    Alexis C.

Katie helped me brush up on my Spanish, and also engaged with my 2 year-old to get her familiar with Spanish by reading books and singing songs to her.  She has incredible knowledge of Spanish grammar- and helps explain things very well.  I improved my Spanish significantly just after a month.  Jennifer C.

 

Find me on:

Teachers Pay Teachers:  https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Language-Exchange

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherine-lezcano-551093a1/