Tracy R. Tutor Interview
- Q. Hi Tracy! Why don’t you start with a quick introduction.
A. It’s nice to meet everyone on Cafetalk! I am originally from Missouri, which is a very unknown state, but very green with lots of forests. I grew up on farms and enjoyed playing outside as a little girl. I have a lot of hobbies including cooking, reading (sometimes writing!), drawing and painting, crocheting, sewing, playing video games, horseback riding when I can, and languages!I love to study languages, and started studying Japanese by myself back in high school. I have studied Japanese, Russian, Spanish, German, Korean, and Gaelic, but I don’t remember much from any other language besides Japanese and Russian (they’re my favorite.) For me, it’s interesting to see the different ways languages work and what quirks each language has. I really like grammar! (Although I offer a lot of relaxed classes, I am very eager to have some students who want homework and want to talk about grammar, since I was a student like that! Haha.) Because of this, I studied Linguistics in college, learning about the structure of languages, how to teach ESL and English grammar as well (I am a qualified editor as well and worked for a few years editing novels.)
- Q. According to your profile, you live in the state of Texas. Could you tell us about your current city?
A. I don’t actually know much about my current city! My husband and I moved here about 2 months ago because of his job. He works as a Wildfire Fighter and since Texas is very dry, there are a lot of wildfires which can be dangerous to all the people living here. We moved to Texas state back in January of this year, so it’s our first time living in the desert. It’s very different from what we both grew up in, where it was green and hilly with lots of trees. Texas is very big and flat and things are more brown than green here. But there are lots of new things to see and experience. I am waiting to see my first scorpion still. I don’t know whether to be excited or scared!
- Q. I heard you lived in Japan for a year. How was your life there?
A. My life in Japan was a growing experience. I met so many people and did so many different things. At times, I was quite sad (I was homesick and missed my family and my husband (we were just starting to date back then.)) but I also got to experience a lot of different things and met lots of interesting people. I had really wonderful students while I was there and although I was teaching them English, they taught me so much about Japan and its culture. I think my favorite thing though was participating in the Yosakoi Festival. I love to dance and when I heard that there was a huge festival with dancing, I wanted to be a part of it. I made friends and we practiced hard to do the dance right. It was so much fun dancing along the streets of Kochi with everyone, even though it was hot outside. I even saw some of my students dancing with other dance groups at the festival! When I go back to Japan someday, I will take family or friends so I can share all of the new things with them.
- Q. What do you do in your free time?
A. I have a lot of hobbies and sometimes I have trouble finding time to do everything I want to do. When my husband is home, we’ll often watch movies together, go for walks, or play video games. But one of my favorite hobbies is crochet (I even crochet when we’re watching movies together!) The first time I crocheted, I was about 4 or 5 years old. When I was young, I liked to make simple things, like scarves and eventually blankets and stuff. But now I really like to do complex things. I enjoy making crochet lace because it makes such pretty patterns and I really like to make unique things. I am trying to start a business selling my crochet as well since I like it so much; I don’t have space in my house to keep all of the projects I want to make! I hope some students will take my crochet class (advanced crochet will come soon) so I can share all of the things I love about crochet!
- Q. You’re riding a horse in your profile picture! As I know, you have a lesson, Wild Horses of the American West. Are you familiar with horses, and why?
A. In America, in the west, there are still thousands of horses that roam free. They are called Mustangs. (Yes, the car is named after this horse!) The Mustang is an iconic horse of America because they are wild and free. People can adopt these horses and take them home, but many people don’t because they are wild and can’t be ridden. Before I was even born, my mother was adopting these wild horses. She learned how to train them and has trained almost all of our horses herself.
I was riding horses before I could walk and would often ride by myself around the house when I was a very little girl (4 or 5 years old).
As I got older, I would help sometimes with the training and would travel with my mom to adopt new horses several times a year. We adopted 3 or 4 new horses every year and would train them and then sell them to families who wanted mustangs but couldn’t train the horses themselves. Every day until I started college (and had to move away from home) was spent with horses. The horse in my profile picture was the last horse we trained before I went to college. She was a beautiful little mare with big, gentle brown eyes and a very calm personality.
- Q. What is a feature of your lessons?
A. Hmm, I guess a main feature of my lessons is similar to other Cafetalk tutors: I want to make sure the student enjoys their lesson because I want them to feel like they are achieving something. I’m always very happy when I see the excitement on a students face when they finally understand something. I want students to feel relaxed during my lessons and have the confidence to ask me anything. Another aspect, for the right students because not all students enjoy this, is helping them understand English by analyzing specific aspects. As you know, I really like grammar and examining each part of a sentence to understand why it works the way it does. For me, it really helps when I am studying a language to not only know how to say something, but why people say it that way and what the origins of the phrase are. But I really enjoy both relaxed, casual classes and also more structured classes. Both are fun, so the important thing is that the student is comfortable and learning.
- Q. Finally, please leave a message for our students!
A. For all of the students studying not only English, but all of the languages on Cafetalk, I want to share my love of languages. Language is a way to communicate, to learn new things we didn’t know before. Language isn’t about perfection, but about speaking and listening. When I teach my lessons, I want my students to relax and enjoy themselves more than anything, because when they remember how fun and rewarding learning a new language can be, they feel motivated to keep learning. I encourage students learning a new language to make mistakes (even native speakers make mistakes in their own language!) and not to feel embarrassed or shy about speaking, especially to the Cafetalk Tutors. I really look forward to meeting new people here on Cafetalk!