Isabel Hernandez-Amarante

Jun 2006

Well, she was a good teacher at first, showed tenancity, but later after a month or so, before the prestrike of Graduate Students, she started submitting our work late, and suddenly, the strike occured, used it as an excuse not to submit work back. As a result, we never got to know our mistakes if there were any.

Jan 2005

Isabel is a great teacher. Although I had my conflicts with her over certain issues, I learned a great deal in the class. Although she is strict and gives an overwhelming amount of work, some of which is a little ridiculous, she was able to teach a large sum of information in a short period. I would recommend anyone who is interested in learning Spanish in a short period of time, if you're willing to put in the time.

Jan 2005

The December 2003 reviewer has blown things way out of proportion. The entire class didn’t hate Isabel. She doesn’t take off 5 points for accents. She doesn’t speak softly to herself. And although she does speak Spanish quickly and with a slightly different accent, you’ll quickly adapt. ABOUT THIS COURSE: Two semesters are compressed into one in this no-frills Spanish class—no games, no cultural lessons, no movies, no vocabulary(!), few short stories, ALL GRAMMAR. There is also some emphasis on listening, speaking and writing. The pace of the class is fast and you’re expected to teach yourself many of the concepts outside of class. Be sure you know what you’re getting into. ABOUT THIS PROFESSOR: I found Isabel to be somewhat of a disagreeable person. At the beginning, there was definitely some tension between her and a few students, but those issues got resolved. But she always seemed to have a rude tone when addressing the class both in person and in e-mails. As the December 2003 reviewer noted, she won’t hesitate to mark you late or lecture about it, yet Isabel herself was often late to class (she usually blamed it on the copy machine...but is that any more valid than the student’s typical excuse?). At one point Isabel decided that ‘late work won’t be accepted’ but again, hypocritically, she was often very late is returning our tests and compositions -- she usually tried to gain our sympathy by lecturing us on how much work she has as a grad student. The amount of work assigned for this class was pretty ridiculous. Over the course of the semester, we completed the ENTIRE workbook (even the language lab part). The workbook exercises (two chapters worth) were due the day before our quizzes, and the language lab part was due on the day of our quizzes. To genuinely complete the language lab section (yes, she wanted us to do every exercise...) would have taken about 4 hours—I decided to spend my time studying the grammar points for the quiz rather than listening to audio clips of lame documentaries about’s a good thing the audio lab answers are in the back of the book! When she assigns 20 or 30 grammatical exercises I find myself doing a mediocre job on all – assigning fewer would have been more beneficial. Despite my many, many issues with Isabel’s policies and personality, these complaints don’t overshadow the fact that she’s a GREAT TEACHER. She genuinely wants us to succeed in learning Spanish and she tries very hard (and succeeds). She does a good job planning lessons and class time was well spent – attending class was worthwhile. Perhaps most important, she explains the grammatical concepts concisely and clearly and illustrates them well on the board. In the end, I’ve learned a lot of Spanish, but it was a rather painful experience.

Dec 2004

I liked Isabel and her teaching style. Take this class if you are self-motivated in learning Spanish. It seemed that those who were taking the class to fulfill a requirement were miseraable. Drawbacks of the course were limited time to spend on conversation and vocabulary development. We focused mostly on grammar.

Dec 2003

She SEEMS like a nice person for like the first week and she SEEMS like a good teacher for like the first week, but then, sadly, reality sets in and you find out that she is neither of those things. Pretty much the whole class hated her. We didn't learn ANYTHING all semester. We wasted about 3 weeks on this silly short story that's not even part of the syllabus and then when it was time for chapter quizes, she was like "teach yourselves. there's no time." Not only did she not teach us the grammar for this class, which is like 70% of the final, she refused to even review the grammar for the last 2 quizes we had. The first few quizes she gave us were very difficult and tested material we didn't even cover from the book. It was obvious how little spanish our class knew when everyone bombed the departmental midterm (which is the same for every class). I thought it was just very hard, but when I spoke to friends in other 1202 classes, they all told me they did well and that they found it east because- get this - their teacher actually TAUGHT them something! Unbelievable. Spanish used to be my favorite class and Isabel made it torture. She speaks super fast and swallows her words, and you can't understand a word she says. She kind of talks to herself too more than to the class so it's really difficult to have any sort of class discussion. The book for the class (El coronel) is difficult to read and she made us get into groups and answer questions about the book, instead of actually teaching us anything or having us discuss the book. The groupwork was such a waste of time, and before you knew it, class was over. Usually when teachers don't teach, you can say, "well at least they're nice." But, not in this case. She got on everyone's case for being 3 minutes late to class because the clock in the class was 5 minutes fast so she considered everyone late and she kept lecturing us on not being late to her class. After hearing how evil we all were for being 3 minutes late to her class, I just loved how she showed up 10 minutes late to our final exam!!!! In conclusion, avoid this one. Spanish is supposed to be a fun class and she just drains all the fun right out of it. She likes to hear herself speak, doesn't seem at all interested in teaching us, and tells us to teach ourselves. $3000 to teach myself Spanish and to undergo 50 minutes of torture 3 times a week? No thanks!

Apr 2003

I took both her Elementary courses last year while I was a senior. She is an excellent instructor and you really come away knowing a great deal of Spanish. As mentioned in the previous reviews, be prepared to work hard. She expects her students to try and come to class prepared. She is willing to help you as long as she sees you are honestly trying to do well. It's been almost a year since I took Spanish and the other day while I was on the subway, I was able to read a great deal of Spanish from the "El Diario" of the person sitting next to me- that's how well Isabel taught me. I had had no exposure to Spanish before joining her class and received A's both semesters but I also worked hard. If you are really interested in learning Spanish, I highly recommend taking her class(es).

Sep 2002

This is an excellent class to take if you really want to learn how to speak Spanish as opposed to just fulfilling your language requirement. Isabel takes pride in what she does, and if you happen to do poorly on an exam, she makes a point to speak to you about it instead of just returning the test and moving on. She advises you what you need extra practice on. Isabel wants all of her students to do well, but you won't get a free ride. You have to work hard for a good grade. An excellent instructor overall.

Apr 2002

Isabel is a very good teacher. I feel like I really learned alot of spanish in her class. She's also a very friendly person, and her classes are not boring. She's generally very nice and helpful, but if you don't do the work or pay attention, naturally it will tick her off. Her section is worth taking if you are at all interested in learning the language, instead of just getting rid of your requirement.