Ernesto is a lot of fun and a fairly easy grader, but has no qualms about embarassing you in front of entire class if you cannot conjugate a verb correctly. At times he would come to class with a headache or just lack of proper rest and would occupy us with worksheets while he all but passed out at his desk. He doesn't spend a lot of time on vocabulary, mostly on verb use, which I think is more important anyway.
Ernesto is the best thing that happened to the Spanish department. He knows his stuff COLD and he'll give you lots of work to make sure you know it. I went into the first class not knowing a single word in spanish, and I came out feeling like I got so much out of the first semester. He also places a great emphasis on speaking.. he does a lot oral exercises than any other teacher. he's awesome.
Ernesto was a trip, to say the least. There are two things that are important to know about Ernesto: 1. I wouldn't go into this class without some knowledge of spanish. I had already taken some, and I have no idea how people who were just starting figured it out (themselves, I guess). 2. If he likes you, you will succeed in his class. And he likes most people, just don't act stupid or use poor pronunciation. Otherwise the class was a lot of fun; he's a nice, cool guy and can definitely relate to the younger crowd.
I totally dissagre with the previous reviewer's negative comments. Ernesto know's that if a student can't conjugate verbs on demand, they can't speak the language. It seemed like everyday we had a conjugation quiz, so we were forced to know them and use them automatically. Yes it was a pain in the arse, but it certainly helped me. Ernesto understands the nuts and bolts of language, whether it be Spanish, Portugese, or English (better than most native English speakers. Ernesto helped me remember what the Jesuits were trying to teach me during English class.) Ernesto's knowledge about many interesting things run deep. Medieval Architecture, European History, Religion, and English Literature (Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan too!) I remember at time when he was frustrated with some in the class who chose to write their reports on advertising on Beer Commercials, Football, and Cosmetics. And I quote him "You people have a wonderful language, a beautiful language with many of the worlds greatest writers. I hope you will one day use to its full potential instead of just the personals and sports section." No one gets an easy ride in Ernesto's class, and he'll embarrass the hell out of you if you don't know what the #$%@ is going on. If you study hard, work on your pronunciation, and show up for class, you'll be generously compensated for your effort.
I took this class because he had good reviews and I wanted to learn some Spanish. But, unfortunately, I learned nothing. This is a GREAT class if you want to do nothing, get an A and have some fun. However, if you care about learning Spanish I definitely wouldn't take it- there's nothing assigned and Ernesto doesn't really seem to think it's important if his students learn anything.
Ernesto is the greatest Spanish teacher on earth. He speaks with a Castillian accent, which is a little hard to get used to at first, but after that the class just becomes fun. The class goes by the text, but we often digressed about topics we wanted to discuss (like how in small villages there's a tradition where they throw a goat off a clock tower once a year). Usually arrives exactly at class time or 5-10 minutes late. He's a great teacher, and a great guy. Take him if you can!