To learn a new language (or improve your knowledge) is a great decision for life. It is a wonderful opportunity to challenge yourself, break mental schemes, learn new structures and ways to communicate, open a door to infinite forms of arts and culture, learn about diversity, respect and explore other cultures and countries, and see the world through a different lens. And of course it is also a great skill that will open many opportunities for studies and work in the future.
Spanish is the 4th most spoken language in the world (after English, Mandarin and Hindi) and the most extended official language among the world's countries. Right now, the United States is the second country in the world with more Spanish speakers (only after Mexico), and the use of Spanish is growing every year.
Is Spanish too complicated for English speakers? No. We have the same alphabet, a somewhat similar structure, and most of the words in English and Spanish have their origins in Greek and Latin. Here’s an example:
He is a student of biology at the public university.
Él es un estudiante de biología en la universidad pública.
With attention and patience, it is possible to understand Spanish (at least the general idea). And you can also learn it fast. Spanish is in the Category I of Languages: 24-30 weeks (600-750 class hours), according to the U.S. government (https://www.state.gov/foreign-language-training/).
There are no secrets or magic formulas for learning a language. Your need at least 3 things to learn a language:
Motivation: Students can learn any language when they are motivated. Languages with different writing systems, phonetics and structures are learned very quickly because people are motivated (even for languages in category IV). For English speakers, Spanish is a lot more similar than other languages. Since this is an elective class, it is my expectation that all students will be motivated to learn and have the best attitude. If your student does not feel motivated to study Spanish, I recommend that you talk with your student and the school counselor in order to make the best decision for your student.
Hard work: Students need to study. Things like vocabulary, structures or rules might be challenging, and the only way to learn them is to study. Students need to take time and use different tools to study. Do the exercises and complete the assignments. Minimal work results in minimal results. My classes are focused on school time and I don't require too much time for homework outside of class. Students have plenty of time to study.
Practice: A language is learned because people repeat and use it. Little kids learn languages just by repeating as a natural process (no books or grades). Students in this class need to practice every day. Studying very hard the day before a test will not help to have a real learning experience. Students need to use the language regularly.