Gracias por ayudarnos! We appreciate what you are doing for our students because sometimes you come up with things that reach your peers better than we can in the classroom. (The one-on-one thing really helps, of course.) You will find that it strengthens your skills as well whether you are a native speaker or a second language learner yourself. Below are some ideas to make your tutoring even more effective:
RULE #1: Keep in mind the student’s level when you help him or her. You may be a sophisticated speaker of the language but they aren’t there yet and you need to keep to the things they know even though you’d love to give them more. (You wouldn’t use the same vocabulary with a second grader as you would with a high school student, would you? In a way your tutee is similar to the second grader in what he/she understands at this point.)
Spanish 1 students will barely know the present tense and maybe the casual future ([ir] + a + [infinitive]) by the time they finish the year so stay away from the past or progressive tenses (-ing endings), reflexives, direct & indirect object pronouns, etc.
Spanish 2 students will be adding the reflexives, the preterit (simple past), the direct & indirect object pronouns, the imperfect, and finally the affirmative & negative command forms. When in doubt ask the student if he/she understands what you have written. If you get a blank look, you know you need to scale your instruction back to their level. (This goes for vocabulary, too, of course.)
RULE #2: In general try to get your tutees to tell you the answer or write the sentence on the worksheet. Then you look at it and correct it if need be.
Rule #3: Don’t ever let your tutee talk you into translating what he or she says: it is of no help to them and we second languge teachers can always tell when this has been done. (And, of course, will give them no credit for your work!)
Special Note for Native Speakers: In order to help our students learn, we need to keep their vocabulary restricted to what the textbook gives them. Be aware that words that are common locally may not be what our students are being taught and will end up confusing them. Some examples are lazy = perezos@, beauty shop = salón de belleza, car = coche, swimming pool = piscina and to shave = afeitarse. Hopefully you have the textbook to guide you but otherwise ask your tutee, “What do you call_____en español?”