professor
Lara Tucker

Jan 2015

Lara was the best Spanish teacher I have had since I started at Columbia. I absolutely suck at Spanish and in other classes with native speaker teachers I felt a lot less comfortable speaking Spanish. She is very encouraging and worked on the things the class actually had problems with. She managed to correct many of the basic problems that had been overlooked by my previous 2 professors. Her class was the most comfortable I have felt speaking Spanish because she does not correct you every time you make the slightest mistake like the native speakers tend to. If you are struggling at Spanish or learning it for the first time I highly recommend taking her class.

Jan 2015

Extremely by the book but very nice in our class. Classes were not the most exciting but learned a lot and assignments were pretty clear. A lot of My Spanish Lab, worksheets to take home, four compositions. Lots of group and partner work that was fun and easy during class.

Aug 2012

Wow, I'm a bit surprised by the last review. My experience of her class was the opposite. Personally, I thought Lara was a great instructor. I really enjoyed the way she introduced questions about the texts (which could be pretty dry and boring) and she did not allow our class discussion to operate on a lower level just because we were speaking and writing in Spanish. She was also just really nice which created a safe environment for participation. She always listens to what students say but be careful; she will call you out if she can tell you haven't done the reading. We were able to practice our Spanish speaking skills and I feel that my writing improved as well. I'm not sure what happened with the last reviewer but I actually think that she has been the best graduate student instructor I have had at Columbia.

Apr 2012

ON LARA TUCKER Lara is one of the worst instructors I've had at Columbia. Every class was like pulling teeth it was so painful. First, she would get in front of the class and give her interpretation of the texts. This interpretation was like law for her but the sad reality was that it was normally pretty superficial. Next, she would ask the most pedantic and insulting questions imaginable: she would point to a sentence, and then ask "what does this mean?" The meaning would be blisteringly obvious to everyone in the class and I personally felt demeaned answering these obvious questions. Someone, however, would eventually cough up the answer she wanted and then we'd move on. Next, Lara would give us a handout that asked more of these absurd questions... we had to do a scavenger hunt to find examples of the things she was looking for. Once for example, we had to pretend to be psychiatrists and "diagnose" what was going on with a culture by looking at the "symptoms" in the text. (This is when I would want to bash my brain in...) Lara also very clearly had an opinion about what the texts "meant" and she didn't really jive when people wanted to debate her. She would tense up and become defensive and would be totally unwilling to concede a point. Great way to lead a discussion based class! Finally, Lara just seem disorganized. She was always changing the dates of when assignments were due and it was hard to keep track of what was due when. ON THE CLASS So much of the readings were abstract bunk... No one would do them because of this. Crazy, wandering stuff that would be near impossible to understand even in English. I honestly would prefer to (a) either read literature or (b) have a real history course. This critical theory / cultural studies middle way drives me up the wall. If you're considering doing the Hispanic Studies minor or major, I would try and talk to people who've taken these courses (Intro to Study..., Hisp Cult I, and Hisp Cult II) and then decide. They are SO painful... honestly one of the least intellectually satisfying experiences I've ever had. Also, they don't really improve your language. At best, they help you maintain it, but I'm not even sure of this. All that said, these courses are THE easiest As at Columbia. I know this for a fact b/c on the back of my transcript it says everyone gets an A in these courses and everyone also says that this is true. If you want an A+ without that much sweat, I guess you might be able to deal with all the above (Lord knows I've managed!).