We’re so pumped about our conversation with Dannia Gazley. Dannia is a Spanish Teacher & Founder of ¡Hola! Learn Spanish and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this. Check out our conversation with Dannia below.
Hi Dannia, thank you so much for sitting down with us again. For folks who might have missed our initial interview, can you start by briefly introducing yourself? I am a Spanish teacher and owner of ¡Hola! Learn Spanish located in Denver, Colorado. I discovered my passion for teaching Spanish in 2016 after a decade of working in corporate America. I am originally from Lima, Peru. Through my experiences of learning English as a second language, I bring a deep understanding of what it takes to master a new language. My teaching philosophy is to guide you in this journey with patience, compassion and kindness, allowing you to grow at your own pace.
How has your business changed since the pandemic began? Before the pandemic, I was teaching Spanish classes in-person and online. Since I started ¡Hola! Learn Spanish, my vision has been to reach as many people as possible and to grow my business outside of the state of Colorado. This is why, since very early on, I set up my business to offer online Spanish classes. When the pandemic began, I was already prepared to transition to teach online classes only. In a way, it was very easy for me and thankfully all of my students that were taking in-person classes at that time, were very receptive to the idea and adapted to the new format quickly. Soon they were very comfortable using this modality. Among my students, I have the pleasure to work with a few senior citizens, and even they have found online Spanish lessons to be very friendly and fun. ¡Hola! Learn Spanish has grown in this past year and I am proudly serving 8 states in the U.S. My coverage extends from the East Coast to the West Coast and also the South of the country. I have recently reached the milestone of teaching 1,500 virtual lessons! I still can’t believe it! This was so unexpected to me, especially in such a challenging year that brought so much uncertainty to our lives. I can only thank my students from the bottom of my heart, for trusting me to lead them in their journey of learning Spanish and for their support by continuing to choose me as their teacher.
What was most surprising to you about this past year? What it surprised me the most about this past year was to realize how resilient we all are. In such an incredible circumstances, my students continued to show up for classes every day. They were ready to learn and had a great attitude at every single class. They would all present their homework timely, just like before. When they could have offered many excuses, they would offer none. They were continuing with our Spanish classes on top of everything else they had going on at work and their personal lives. My students have even attended our classes when they were sick with Covid! They would tell me that they didn’t want to miss our lesson. I remember at the very beginning of the pandemic, when I switched all of my in-person classes to online classes. I had a conversation with one of my students, I was thanking her for continuing with our Spanish lessons, and she said to me something that I have kept present in my mind all this time, she said “we have to keep living”. That is a choice we make and we make it every day. It is not lost on me all of their efforts and what it takes for each one of them to be present in every class. I have said it before, I am my students’ biggest fan and they are my greatest motivation to be the best teacher I can be.
Tell us about your Online Spanish classes? ¡Hola! Learn Spanish offers online Spanish classes, which feature all the benefits of in-person classes. Students will learn Spanish with me, a native speaking teacher and will have live lessons, where we can interact in real-time. Online Spanish is not self-taught, I lead the Spanish lessons and provide support as we go through the exercises. This is a completely interactive, virtual learning environment for students to learn. This level of interaction is what sets ¡Hola! Learn Spanish apart from traditional online Spanish classes offered by colleges, universities, institutes and language centers. Online Spanish classes are all about flexibility, it is the most convenient and practical way of learning Spanish. Spanish online is also the most economical option to learn Spanish and will offer you the same results.
What would you say to someone considering taking online Spanish classes with you? I would encourage them to sign up for online Spanish classes with me. It is never too late to try something new and different. It is also a very safe way to continue pursuing our goals in times like this. Students that were hesitant before about taking online Spanish classes have been pleasantly surprised and now, they truly enjoy them! It is a lot of fun and students learn just as much as they would with in-person classes. As a teacher, I take advantage of technology and utilize different tools available to educators that allow me to create an interactive virtual classroom. It is important for me to keep students engage during my online lessons; I make sure they are being offered a high-quality service.
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