By: Mary Ann Cozza
“The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires,” according to William Arthur Ward, the prolific inspirational writer. And what does the “exceptional” teacher do? Just ask Gabriel Silveira, an urban education student who is fulfilling his destiny as a teacher and was recently recognized as an “Exceptional Teacher Candidate” by Quest for Quality.
Silveira began his university education on the path to priesthood at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. A mission trip to a leper colony in his native Brazil opened his eyes to his life’s true calling – helping others by any means necessary. To that end, Silveira became a teacher at Kumon Learning Center, an after-school supplemental learning center, and drew crowds because of his encouraging and open demeanor. With this experience solidifying his decision to teach, Silveira enrolled in UHD’s Department of Urban Education. Today, he is on track to graduate with honors and an Early Childhood – Grade 6 Generalist Certificate in May 2013.
According to his professors, Silveira is a leader in his classes, volunteers to tutor homeless children at the House of Tiny Treasures, participated as a student discussion leader at UHD’s Freshman Convocation, assists a departmental professor with research and facilitated a professional development field trip for his peers.
Of his teaching ethos, Silveira says, “My goal is to meet students where they are and guide them towards self-realization and their responsibility in contributing to a world community. My familiarity with age appropriate materials, including educational computer software, enabled me to design fun lessons covering the required curriculum.”
Silveira was nominated for the “Exceptional Teacher Candidate” honor by urban education faculty members Colin Dalton, assistant professor, Leigh Van Horn, associate professor, and Kim Pinkerton, assistant professor.
Dalton said of Silveira’s work at the Kumon Learning Center, “After six months of tutoring from Gabriel – focusing on the scope and sequence of specific learning objectives coupled with appropriate, timely assessment – his students progressed at least one school year in reading, writing and mathematics.”
“Gabriel Silveira is easily in the top 1 percent of all teacher candidates with whom I have worked. He is bright, energetic, and an inspiration to those with whom he comes into contact. He exemplifies what it is to be an exceptional teacher,” said Pinkerton.
Van Horn said, “It is an honor and a pleasure to know and to work with Gabriel Silveira. I have no doubt that he is going to be an outstanding, creative, and caring educator, and one who will continue to inspire others.”
Quest for Quality, a collaborative project between CREATE (Center for Research, Evaluation and Advancement for Teacher Education) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, is designed to highlight exemplary students, faculty and practices in university-based teacher preparation programs in Texas.