Where to begin? Ok first thing to know, get on his good side. If he likes you, you will get an A. If he doesn't like you or is in the middle, you shouldn't bother keeping your hopes up. I was warned about him in the beginning of the semester but I chose to ignore the warning - He picks his favorites and they stay that way. They are the ones he picks to talk during discussions when you have something to say and you are the one picked to talk when you have no idea what the discussion is on. Speak up the first day, seem interested, kiss up if you must but at least you'll have a chance in his class. He's not a bad person - I mean he's nice I guess but he can't teach. Sticks to the syllabus (a blessing and a curse), speaks mostly spanish in class (which is fine but he'll try to explain your question in spanish and he can't do that in english anyway, so your screwed). Basically, don't take his class...Take Int. Spanish II but just don't take it with him.
Carlos - what a nice guy! what a terrible teacher! Carlos was indeed lovely and smiley and funny in class, but could never explain things; often didn't understand your questions; often explained simple concepts with the most complicated, linguistic vocabulary ever and for the love of God, would not veer from his departmental syllabus - even if we were truly curious, or it would explain things or really, anything. You will not learn anything that is not on the syllabus - even if Carlos really thinks you should. He will never (unlike other Spanish teachers I've had), teach you something "that you might want to know, but will not be tested on." Nope, if its not there on the syllabus, you ain't learning it. He also tests you (at least on the first test and on the essays) on stuff that he neglected to tell you about, or that you knew, just didn't understand the directions "change into the present perfect subjunctive." I got the third highest grade in the whole class on that first test - and that grade, mis amigos, was a 72 (and he wouldn't curve it). I was often also frustrated by his essays, where I'd be marked off for getting something wrong, I'd try to correct it (since I didn't get it), and on the final version it would still be wrong, because it was an idiomatic expression. But, according to him, I couldn't have known that - but, Ishould have looked it up, so its still wrong, so, you're still marked down. This made me livid. Also, his tendency to speak more English than Spanish seemed to annoy most of the class. Also, as someone stated before - if he likes you, you're gold. If he feels "eh" about you, then you're screwed. I sound bitter, but, honestly,he was a really nice, funny, smart, interesting guy. To get him to like you more, go to his office. If you really want a carefree or even difficult, but education way through intermediate II, this isn't the way. This was just painful. I think he'd be really good in upper level lit classes (where all this has been covered already and he doesn't need to explain - dear God, don't make him explain). But, yeah, I don't recommend this. It hurt and I didn't learn enough for it to hurt so much.
In my opinion, Carlos is an easy grader if he likes you. Class participation is very important. His intro. classes are very different from his more advanced classes: in the former he has a hard time teaching students with varied levels of familiarity with Spanish (like many professors), in the latter he is wonderful, introducing contemporary debates in other fields and making his courses interdisciplinary in a new and exciting way. I highly recommend his more advanced courses.
While many of my friends complained of numerous tests and long and difficult readings in other classes, my class did not require any additional work than what the syllabus required: grammar exercises from the textbook, 4 essays, 2 tests, and the final. Professor Riobo was a generous grader, which made up for his teaching style. Although he "covered" the material and tried to get students in my class to understand it, he was not very successful. Basically, one needs to spend some quality time with the textbook to really understand the complex grammar. Riobo would spend time in class, talking about the grammar but refused to write on the board due to "allergies to chalk" and did not have any worksheets to practice the grammar we had to learn. He also allowed us to use a great deal of English which was opposite to the previous Spanish classes I have taken. All in all, Professor Riobo is a really bright guy, but I think our class suffered from his lack of preparation. If you are looking for a painless and relatively easy way out of the language requirement, Riobo is the professor for you.
Riobo is a really nice man, but a horrible teacher. He is extremely disorganized and often forgot to grade papers, percieved instructions differently than the students, and once didn't remember to prepare the second half of a lecture. However, he is very flexible as well as understanding. The students can tell he sincerely wants to be a good teacher, but his abstact and jumbled way of thinking often prohibits him from doing so. Also. he teaches this same class in Spanish and confuses what he told each class. On the upside, he grades fairly easily.