High school teacher an advocate for students and families learning a new language
This story is part of a series that celebrates Teacher Appreciation Month. Each day, we will introduce to you an outstanding educator within our Flipgrid community. Stories by Angela Tewalt.
Luis Oliveira arrived in the United States from Portugal at the age of nine.
At the time, he thought of himself as a pretty good student. He was eager to learn and excited to start anew. But then he started school on a Wednesday.
“I went from doing a really good job in school to having no confidence and feeling like I was stupid,” says Luis, who now teaches English language learners in Rhode Island. “And the reason I felt this way was because I couldn’t verbally express myself.”
Luis recalls a math class in which the teacher was going over times tables. She had different problems up on the board and was asking the class for answers.
“A lot of students were struggling,” he says. “I knew the answers, I just didn’t know how to say it! I was so frustrated that I got up and went right to the board to just write them down myself. I learned English pretty fast after that.”
Years later, he remembers that child vividly as he guides his students today.
“Just because a student isn’t able to communicate does not mean they don’t have anything to say,” Luis assures. “We just have to find a way to bring their voice out.”