Teaching assistant turned vlogger helps people learn Spanish and boost their mental health in lockdown
Ruth Darby has been helping people as far as California learn Spanish and improve their mental health during lockdown – from her home in Shilbottle.
Learning support assistant Ruth Darby has been putting up Spanish lessons on YouTube since the start of the first lockdown in March – even accomplishing the ambitious task of uploading 100 videos in a hundred days.
Ruth, who used to teach Spanish for the Northumberland Adult Learning Service, set up the channel to help adult learners as they could no longer access learning centres because of the pandemic restrictions.
The channel, called Learn Spanish with Spanglish Fantastico, has attracted over 400 subscribers from the North East to Florida, California and even Mexico.
Ruth, who is a learning support assistant at the Duchess’s High School in Alnwick, had to balance working from home with filming, waking up as early as 5 am to create the videos.
She said: "It got me out of bed every day and it got me dressed.
"It’s certainly kept me healthy and happy by giving me an extra purpose. I’m feeling quite jolly, whereas I might not have been feeling very jolly if I hadn’t had this.”
"I would like to keep going with it, it’s certainly a hobby for keeps.”
Apart from language enthusiasts, the channel has also brought the community together, as people have been sending Ruth pictures of their doors for the videos’ thumbnails (a preview image of each video).
Ruth said: "The number of each lesson is a door number. People all around Northumberland have sent the number of their front door, so I can use them on my thumbnail. One lady sent me 15 images of doors, which she photographed.
"It’s definitely a community and something I feel people are joining in with.”
As England goes through its third national lockdown, Ruth said picking up new skills can help people to fill the void created by the restrictions and feel a bit better.
She explained: "Making a decision to start doing something is a great decision. Once you have a task for every single day, or two tasks per week, you’ve got that routine, which can help replace some of the thing we’ve temporarily lost during lockdown.
"It’s about filling these spaces so we don’t feel lost.”