Becca Herndon Tutor Interview
- Q. Hi Becca! Would you kindly give a brief self-introduction to the Cafetalk community?
A. Hello! My name is Becca and I am from California in the United States! I’m 25 years old and I graduated from University about a year ago. I received a degree in Communication Studied, and I love to travel! Right now, I live with three dogs, a cat, and six other family members in a small town in Northern California!
- Q. Tell us a bit about where you’re from. Where did you grow up, and what is the town you live in now like?
A. I am from Redding California. It’s a small city in Northern California, about four hours north of San Francisco. It’s very beautiful and has great weather. There are two beautiful lakes near the city, and I’ve spent many summers swimming with friends there. My parents still live in the same house that I grew up in, and ever since returning from South Korea, that is where I am living! I’m hoping to move to a bigger city in the next few months because I miss being around people from different countries and cultures.
- Q. Before returning to the US, you stayed in South Korea for quite a while. Can you tell us a little bit about your time there?
A. I have lived in Korea a few times. Once during University for a year a half, and this last time for six months. South Korea was the first place I ever traveled out side of the United States. My favorite place in Korea is Seoul, and I plan to return to it many times in the future!
- Q. And you also studied in Japan, Osaka for a while. What were some highlights of your stay in Japan?
A. I stayed with an amazing family in Kishiwada for about a year. I was able to see the famous Danjiri festival while I was there, and of course experience the very colorful Kansai dialect. I traveled to Tokyo a few times and visited Hiroshima and Okinawa! I adore Japanese food, and I was really spoiled by all of the homemade food I got to eat.
- Q. When you are not teaching on Cafetalk, what are you usually up to? Do you have any special hobbies or interests?
A. Honestly, my main hobby right now seems to be hanging out with dogs (and my cat). Like I said, we have three (and now a puppy that we are taking care of for two weeks) so my house is always full of animals and people to spend time with. I also like to read! Fantasy is my favorite genre. The Harry Potter series and the Artemis Fowl series are some of my favorite books that I could reread a million times. I also like going out with friends, and my current go to drink is a Sierra Nevada beer.
- Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What’s your “lesson style”?
A. I really try to build an atmosphere where my students can take their time to answer questions or make sentences and not worry about making mistakes. I try really hard not to interrupt them, because that was something I hated when it happened to me while studying Japanese and Korean. One of my favorite parts of using skype is that I can use the chat box to make corrections while my students are talking, so I don’t have to always interrupt the student and mess up the flow of the conversation. I feel like the main goal of my lessons are to get into a comfortable place with the student, so they can try their best without worrying about saying something wrong. I want them to leave my lesson feeling like they actually enjoy speaking English, and that they can do it after all!
- Q. You mentioned that you studied both Japanese and Korean. How has studying these languages had an effect on your development as a teacher?
A. When I was studying Japanese and Korean I was able to experience both the good and bad sides of studying a language. There were many times where I got really discouraged and dreaded going to class. I also felt dumb. A lot. Studying language is a really humbling experience.
So no matter how bad at English you think you are, I assure you that your English is a million times better than my Japanese/Korean, and for that you already have a lot of my respect!
- Q. Your most popular lesson is a lesson pack covering a variety of lessons. What kinds of lessons can students take with you, and do you have a lesson you can generally recommend to anyone?
A. My favorite lesson is my 45 Question lesson. I have this list of interesting questions that we go through together. I am always really interested in hearing my students’ answers, and I think it’s a great lesson for just about any level.
It’s also great if you are worried about what we would talk about!
- Q. Finally, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?
A. I know studying English can be really difficult sometimes, and its easy to get discouraged, but it can also be a really amazing experience to open your world and talk to all sorts of new and interesting people!