Christy Verhelst

Christy V.

Urbana, IL
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About

Christy passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Christy delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
and Ages 6+

Teaching since:
January 2011

¡Hola!

I was exposed to Spanish throughout my childhood from my dad who is from Colombia, and from my amazing Spanish teachers in secondary school. After minoring in it at college, I perfected my fluency from living in Spain for 2 years and studying it for over 15 years! My adventures with the language led me to pursue an MA in Spanish. I am currently a PhD student in Spanish Literature and work as a university instructor for basic Spanish and Spanish conversation. I've also been tutoring individual and small groups of all levels for the past 5 years -- Young children, high schoolers, college students, and adult learners! I enjoy leading creative, interactive lessons that are different for each student I work with. My students have gone on to pursue bilingual positions, live in South America, or improve their performance in Spanish class by 2+ letter grades! I truly enjoy the work I do in helping others learn an important new skill.

Because I became fluent while immersed in the language, I believe language learning comes from speaking and communicating! So, my lessons focus mainly on speaking. I create interactive activities that help students learn speaking skills like making comparisons or ordering food. I also make sure to cover other aspects of the language (grammar, listening comprehension, reading, and writing) through explanations, in-class activities and homework. But, every lesson I teach is different! I tailor them to each student according to level, goals, pace, and learning style. And I make sure to get feedback from students at the end of each lesson to help plan future lessons. Overall, I am a resourceful, enthusiastic, attentive and creative tutor. I strive to challenge students while creating a comfortable and fun learning environment. Students of any level are welcome!

I look forward to possibly working with you... ¡Hasta pronto!

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Experience

Instructor of Intermediate Spanish Conversation
Aug 2016 - Present
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Created original lesson plans to foster speaking and comprehension skills about specialized topics.

Private Spanish Instructor
Jan 2011 - Present
Self-Employed

Gives one-on-one and small group Spanish lessons to students ages 8 to adults, from beginners to advanced learners. Some classes are unstructured, focusing on conversation practice. Other classes are structured around a theme with a grammar concept and corresponding vocabulary.

Also tutors high school students and college students from beginners to advanced.

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Instructor of Introduction to Spanish Grammar
Aug 2015 - May 2016
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Taught third semester Spanish: Introductory to Spanish grammar. Led interactive class activities to practice grammar concepts. Facilitated class discussion, moderated online discussion boards, assessed student compositions, and graded final and midterm exams. Also provided one-to-one grammar explanations to students during office hours.

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Instructor of Introductory Conversational Spanish
Aug 2014 - May 2015
University of Illinois

Taught 3 sections of introductory conversational Spanish. Led conversation activities that helped solidify the students' knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Also moderated online discussion boards, assessed student compositions, and graded final and midterm exams.

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English Language and Culture Classroom Assistant
Oct 2010 - May 2011
Estepa Language Academy, Spain

Worked in Spain, leading weekly classes for adult students learning English as a foreign language. Worked with students ages 14-65. Created and led conversation, vocabulary, and review activities appropriate to students' levels.

English as a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant
Oct 2009 - May 2010
Junior High la Llitera, Spain

Worked as a language and culture assistant in Spain. Led weekly English classes to improve speaking, reading, and listening comprehension.

English as a Foreign Language Teacher
Jan 2008 - May 2008
Center for International Educational Exchange

Led a Spanish class for two adult students with an advanced Spanish level.

Spanish Teaching Assistant
Aug 2007 - Dec 2007
Illinois Wesleyan University

Led weekly conversation groups for students in 100-level Spanish classes, helped with homework, and proofread compositions.

Education

PhD in Spanish Literature and Culture
Aug 2015 - Present
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Master of Arts in Spanish Literature and Culture
Aug 2013 - May 2015
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Arts in Music, Minors in Spanish and Psychology
Aug 2005 - May 2009
Illinois Wesleyan University
Spanish
Jan 2008 - May 2008
Universidad de Sevilla

Languages

English
Fluent / Native Proficiency
Portuguese
Limited Proficiency
Spanish
Fluent / Native Proficiency

Awards

Summer Research Fellowship
Jun 2016
University of Illinois Spanish Department
University Graduate Fellowship
May 2013
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Illinois Wesleyan University Alumni Scholarship
May 2009
Illinois Wesleyan University
Thomas J. Watson Scholarship
Mar 2005
IBM

Affiliations

Sigma Alpha Iota (ΣΑΙ)
Oct 2006

Sigma Alpha Iota is a professional International Music Fraternity for women. Formed to uphold the highest standards of music and to further the development of music in America and throughout the world, it continues to provide musical and educational resources to its members and the general public.Sigma Alpha Iota operates its own national philanthropy, Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc.

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Alpha Phi Omega
Sep 2006

Alpha Phi Omega is a national coeducational service organization founded on the principles of Leadership, Friendship and Service. It provides its members the opportunity to develop leadership skills as they volunteer on their campus, in their community, to the nation, and to the organization. With more than 400,000 members on over 375 campuses, Alpha Phi Omega continues to provide more service on more campuses than any other collegiate service organization.

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Photos & Videos

After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University.

View
Visiting the royal palace in Madrid

View
The view from Monserrate Cathedral in Bogota, Colombia.
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42 Reviews

Write a Review
Kasia Aug 15, 2017
Spanish · Online

Very prepared for the first class, looking forward for to our next meeting.

Andrew Jun 29, 2017
Spanish · Online

Sabrina Jun 27, 2017
Spanish · Online

Trish F. Jun 25, 2017
Spanish · Online

Christy is very good and I feel confident that we will work well together to accomplish my goals!

Trish F. Jun 25, 2017
Spanish · Online

Totally feel comfortable with her. Christy is going to get me where I want to be. Thank You!

Aleta-Tim R. Jun 10, 2017
Spanish · Online

Very prepared! Even without knowing anything about us, good prep for a first lesson!

Natalie May 30, 2017
Spanish · Online

Joey&Alli K. May 27, 2017
Spanish · Online

My kids really enjoyed their first lesson and they learned a lot! Thanks for making it fun!

Lisa K. May 14, 2017
Spanish · Online

Monique Mar 8, 2017
Spanish · Online

Kim T. Feb 18, 2017
Spanish · Online

She is very friendly and I learn a lot on my first lesson

Amber E. Feb 12, 2017
Spanish · Online

Love the speed and I feel like I am already learning so much!

miral Jan 16, 2017
Spanish · Online

Christy is the best instructor ever. I am on my 4th lesson and have learnt more than i expected to learn. I have a deadline and I really enjoy lessons with her. I am 29 and a physician by profession so I expected to not learn at the pace I am quite frankly. The lessons are fun and she is very open to questions. Would recommend her to anyone in a heartbeat . yes she is that good. But having said that respecting your time and your teacher's time is of essence the more dedicated you are to your work the more you will gain. It does not take away from the fact that I look forward to working with her for all of my spanish language needs.
gracias christy

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Vanessa H. Jan 10, 2017
Spanish · Online

Great first class!

Kristal H. Jan 2, 2017
Spanish · Online

miral Dec 27, 2016
Spanish · Online

excellent patient kind all words describe christy
i have learnt so much in a single lesson and it was far from boring
i went in with an open mind and was more than happy with her. looking forward to the next lesson!

Sabrina Dec 20, 2016
Spanish · Online

Uzo M. Nov 13, 2016
Spanish · Online

Claire Nov 7, 2016
Spanish · Online

Christy has been a great teacher for my 6 yr old daughter. She's using a nice mix of songs, pictures and dialogues to keep my distractable child engaged the whole time.

Kelly B. Oct 29, 2016
Spanish · Online

Christy is great!! I've learned so much and it's only been a few weeks. She was able to adapt to my knowledge level, abilities and preferred learning style. I'm not really a book learner and I have limited time - Christy recognized that and adjusted the lessons and homework to match my needs, which makes me a lot more motivated to learn.

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Isabella F. Oct 13, 2016
Spanish · Online

Christy is a wonderful Spanish tutor. She is very attentive and patient. She is very knowledgeable and has a great strategy for teaching and learning and making it fun. She has been so helpful! We would definitely recommend her! She has been incredibly helpful in aiding my daughter in learning and understanding Spanish. She is amazing! Highly recommend! She has made a world of difference in my daughters life!

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Becca Sep 29, 2016
Spanish · Online

Simply put: Christy is the best! I love having her as my Spanish teacher. She is super patient, extremely knowledgeable and she's able to explain complicated grammar rules in a way that I not only understand but also remember. In only a few weeks I can already see major improvement in my Spanish. I highly recommend her!

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Becca Sep 29, 2016
Spanish · Online

Christy is FANTASTIC! My one golden piece of advice is for you to let her help you learn Spanish! With her patience, keen knowledge of the language & excellent instruction I was able to really get a handle on the subjunctive tense. I'm so glad I have her for a teacher!

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Kelly H. Sep 10, 2016
Spanish · Online

Great 1st lesson, looking forward to working with you. Thanks!

Antonia M. Sep 4, 2016
Spanish · Online

Really good instructor

Chizitelu Aug 19, 2016
Spanish · Online

Excellent. My daughter likes her. She was very happy with the 1st lesson . I like her myself. She is very friendly and has a good way of engaging you to like the subject. She responds promptly to emails and phone.

Tony Jul 15, 2016
Spanish · Online

Christy is fantastic. I have had a couple lessons with her now. I am very happy with her. She did a great job with her initial assessment of my level of Spanish comprehension. She provides guidance on what she believes I should cover next and she is still working towards my specific learning objectives at the same time. I would recommend her to anybody.

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Zamir Jun 27, 2016
Spanish · Online

1st lesson for my son was great. Christy had good videos. She incorporated music which he loved. Gave some sites to use to continue to practice. Overall great lesson. If you want someone patient with kids she's the one.

Bracken Jun 7, 2016
Spanish · Online

I'm a collegue of Christy's and have been impressed by her creativity and resourcefulness when it comes to planning her lessons. She is able to bring grammar and vocab to life with the activities she creates! She also is good on her feet when it comes to explaining difficult concepts that students struggle to understand. I think that's why she is able to work with students of all levels! Christy really cares about helping her students learn, and it shows.

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Sara Ann May 31, 2016
Spanish · In studio

Christie is an experienced, attentive and knowledgeable instructor. Can't recommend enough!!

Kelsey May 26, 2016
·

Christy has been my colleague as we worked towards our Master's degrees and is also a good friend of mine. She is very fluent and has a high level of knowledge about Spanish language and culture. She is a very smart and conscientious person with lots of tutoring experience. I highly recommend her as a tutor!

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Tina May 26, 2016
Spanish · Online

Christy has an excellent knowledge of Spanish and is always prepared for lessons. She makes things practical and interesting. She is on time, interested in her students and very encouraging. She makes learning Spanish fun!! I highly recommend her.

Regina May 26, 2016
Spanish · In studio

I attended the same school as Christy and was able to practice speaking Spanish with her. She is very enthusiastic about sharing her passion for the Spanish language which is clear in her detailed, helpful lesson plans. Since she lived in Spain for two years, she has a very high level of expertise and is able to aid both beginners and more advanced students. After practicing with Christy, I can speak Spanish with much more ease.

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Jessie Dec 8, 2015
Spanish · In studio

Christy is very knowledgeable about the Spanish language and she always prepares fun and thoughtful lessons. She is very flexible and willing to address the specific areas where her students need or want further instruction. She is reliable and friendly, and I always enjoy my lessons with her.

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B.B. Nov 16, 2015
Spanish · In studio

I had a very hard time with spanish, Christy was able to elevate much of the stress through breaking down the language and going through practice problems. Available to meet almost all the time.

Ann Nov 14, 2015
Spanish · In studio

Christy is an excellent Spanish teacher! She is always prepared, and has creative lessons planned. She is friendly, professional, and knowledgeable about her subject. She is also very flexible, and works with you on an individual basis, so that you can progress at the rate that you are comfortable with. I highly recommend her!

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Marie Nov 12, 2015
Spanish · In studio

I took Spanish lessons from Christy this summer and was very happy with the quality and effectiveness of her teaching! She tailored lessons to me, what I wanted to learn and my previous experience and made it fun with quizzes to test my memory and some home lessons to help further my learning. Christy was super friendly, professional, and a Spanish expert. I could tell she really has a passion for the language and cared about helping me learn. Thanks Christy!!

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Yu-Ying W. Jun 24, 2015
Spanish · Online

Christy is a very good teacher. She is very attentive to my son's needs.My son's grade went up quite a lot. I am very happy with her. I highly recommend her.

Mary Elizabeth B. Jun 24, 2015
Spanish · Online

Christy is so awesome! So helpful! Disciplined and really motivates you to practice and do your homework! She pushed me but not too much. So it was still manageable for me! Thank you Christy!

Mary Ann D. Jun 10, 2015
Spanish · Online

She's very eager to teach, and great about correcting in a non-critical way. Christy is willing to work with my schedule, and has been very accommodating. Her knowledge of Spanish is fantastic, and I look forward to every lesson.

Denise B. Aug 12, 2014
Spanish · Online

After having 3 Lessons with Christy, I can say that I am very happy and highly satisfied!

C F. Jul 22, 2014
Spanish · Online

I have been working with Christy for over a month and could not be happier with my decision to choose her as my teacher. I am amazed at her ability to customize her lessons to fit my needs; helping to reach my goal of speaking Spanish with confidence. Additionally, Christy is always maximizing our time in ways that help me get the most from our lessons each week. When I am having difficulty with a topic or theme she breaks the components down into ways that I understand and starts to build from my current skill level until I grasp the concept. Often times when a topic is challenging Christy sends me helpful tools to study before our next lesson. Working with Christy is awesome and I look forward to working with her each week!

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