One-on-one Spanish Lessons Make the Difference for Student and Teacher

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Private instruction helps nurse to learn Spanish and earns Mónica Méndez Teacher of the Year honors.

Spanish teacher Mónica Méndez used to meet her students face-to-face by sitting across a table from them in a Guatemalan classroom. Now she meets them online using Speak Shop ( and Skype videoconferencing.

Since 2008, Speak Shop has enabled certified Spanish teachers like Mónica to teach more than 30,000 lessons online. Speak Shop’s teachers are Spanish instructors who operate their own micro-business teaching from a Spanish language immersion school, PROBIGUA (, or from their homes. Students are able to use their personal computers to reserve 50-minute lessons that fit their schedules and then receive private instruction for about $10 an hour.

Mónica, the Speak Shop 2011 Spanish Teacher of the Year, is committed to individually helping her students learn Spanish and is an expert at customizing Spanish lessons. “Most of my students are adults and each has different interests to learn a language. Some of them need it for their work, others to travel and others because they just like it. I prepare the homework with the subjects they need to practice, or I look for readings that they would find valuable,” says Mónica. “I take the time to correct my students’ homework before class so that they can ask about their mistakes and work on them with me during the lesson. I don't like to impose subjects they don't want to practice, and I try to always make them feel comfortable during the lesson. I also constantly review the subjects that I notice are the most difficult for my students.”

Dorothy, one of Mónica’s students, uses Spanish in her job as a nurse and says, “Mónica’s knowledge and teaching style are superior. Her dedication is very impressive. I had not realized that she often custom-tailors my homework just for me! I am amazed at the amount of time she spends to ensure that her students learn the lesson properly. Homework is sent promptly after the lesson and corrected well before the lesson to ensure enough time to study the errors.”

Speak Shop Founder Clay Cooper says, “Mónica is a very hard worker and is very sincere about providing a wonderful experience for her students. All of our teachers provide personalized lesson plans for each and every lesson. It's a testament to Mónica’s teaching skills that her students were so happy with her lessons that they wanted to nominate her for Teacher of the Year.”

"I feel honored to win Teacher of the Year 2011,” says Mónica, “I am grateful to my students for their comments which help me do a better job every day, always taking into account each of their needs. I am really fortunate to work as a Speak Shop teacher because it allows me to develop myself professionally using technology.”

About Speak Shop
Speak Shop was founded in 2004 to make it easy for everyone to take one-on-one personalized cross-cultural Spanish lessons and to generate economic opportunity for formerly underpaid professional teachers in developing countries. People around the world use Speak Shop to learn Spanish online via Skype. For more details visit

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