Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Anderson.
Hi Brittany, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Hola! My name is Brittany and I teach adults conversational Spanish. My dad often inspired me as a kid when we went to Mexican restaurants. Even though he didn’t actually speak Spanish, he would say the silliest things like calling me a “cabeza de piña” (pineapple head!) in front of the staff to get them to giggle. His goofy style of communicating, just to connect with someone and glimpse a smile on their face, is the best tool I could offer anyone and has continued with me throughout my language acquisition and coaching.
I studied Spanish Literature at the collegiate level and spent time living in Spain and Argentina. Afterwards I taught high school Spanish for one year. Children first learn language through listening and speaking not reading and writing. Therefore most public education is doing the whole thing backwards. Many adults reflect to me that after 4 years of high school Spanish they don’t remember a thing!
With this understanding, I realized I wanted to do things my way, work with adults who were committed to learning Spanish and teach mostly speaking and listening. I started tutoring Spanish in 2016 as a side job and now it has grown into my full time career. I love teaching and exploring the language with my clients. We have a lot of fun and my program has proven to be extremely efficient and approachable. I’ve sent clients to internships in Spain and across South American road trips with the tools they need to explore the world, improve their careers, and connect with new cultures.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
After 9 years of being completely fluent in Spanish, I STILL get the jitters every time I speak with a new native Spanish speaker! However, the fear I feel has been pretty much taken care of through a rule I follow every single time I encounter someone who speaks Spanish: I ALWAYS approach them and speak with them. I don’t shy away. I don’t act like I don’t have time, or that I don’t speak it out of fear of making a mistake or sounding silly. I make it my priority to at least say hi, how are you, and have a little chit-chat. Often it leads to more amazing conversation, but sometimes it’s just a hello.
I get to accomplish two things. One, I break their possible stereotype of a Gringa who doesn’t speak Spanish and that might not care about them or their culture. And two, I change my own perception of fear and never let that mind game win! I dive in with my imperfections, my fear, and my jitters and always come out stronger because of it. I practice my language muscles relentlessly. And in doing so, I also practice my courage nonstop. Everything about this helps me be more of who I want to be: fearless, kind, and growing.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Vamos Denver?
My goal as a Spanish teacher is to provide accountability, consistency, and fun! If I am not engaging someone every session we have, then I know I’m not meeting my requirements as a teacher. If you’re engaged and enjoying what you’re learning, then you’re more likely to remember the content.
I try to help my clients have reasonable goals and a strategy when it comes to learning Spanish. Thinking of ourselves as children is so valuable. Children often can only speak 2 word phrases by age 2. They can understand a lot, but speaking takes more effort.
In a lot of ways I do more confidence training than Spanish teaching. In a standard course you can get really good at the Spanish grammar without ever speaking it. If you end up scared to death just to approach someone, how could you ever improve? Or move forward? Or ever do anything with Spanish?
This is why the majority of my program is conversation based. With my guidance you speak Spanglish, mixing both languages until there is less and less English in your speech.
Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Everything I do in teaching adults how to speak Spanish, is to help them connect with others. There is no doubt in my mind that this industry will continue to grow for many years to come. We have a booming Spanish population in the United States and interacting with our neighbors is the surest way to a happier healthier community.
One of my favorite ideas is based on how language can bring people together from an Arab proverb; “Learn a language and you’ll avoid a war.” And isn’t it true? How can we resolve problems without first communicating? From the micro to the macro, interacting with others is necessary in handling conflict as well as promoting thriving communities.
As you learn Spanish, you start to realize all the ways to communicate something. The power of communication and connecting with others is one of the most beautiful things on this Earth and it is well worth the effort.
Thank you for taking the time to read and learn more about me and my business.
Spanish Conversation Coach
Pono Media, @pono_media