Teacher & Student Highlight
We would like to introduce you to two faces you will probably see if you come to Excel English Institute anytime soon. Don Gleason is one of our Intermediate English teachers, and has been with us since we first opened. Celio Fernando Miller is one of our students that started in the our Beginning 6 level seven months ago and has successfully moved into Advanced 1. Over the months at Excel, Celio has earned the distinction of being one of the hardest working and dedicated students at Excel. With every successful student, there is an outstanding teacher. Don Gleason, a veteran teacher and long time Excel favorite, is one such teacher who goes above and beyond to make sure his students succeed in school and in life. We sat down with Don and Celio to find out more about them, and their lives inside and outside Excel English Institute.
Don Gleason | Intermediate English Teacher
Don Gleason was born and raised in New York. He teaches the intermediate level classes at Excel English Institute. When asked what his favorite part about teaching at Excel English Institute is he said, “I love seeing the ‘light bulbs’ go off on my student’s faces when they realize that they are able to speak English.” Don majored in English in the university because it was the one subject he felt he was good at. As for minoring in Education, well that’s another story.
He entered university at the age of 17, and he was extremely shy and inhibited. That all changed during his sophomore year when he met the most dynamic pair of people he had ever known. Their names were Richard and Elaine, and they were two of his college professors. They taught him that you didn’t have to be a rock star, in the movies, or even famous to make a difference in other people’s lives. Teachers could do it too. “That was over 40 years ago. I am still not sure what they did to me, but I graduated from college a completely different person than what I was.”
He says to students who are considering studying English, “Do it! Learn as much as you can when you are young. The investment in yourself will help you in the future.”
Don believes that the most challenging aspect of learning English for a foreign student is getting past the realization that the language is irregular and has things that just don’t make sense. For example, many times the spelling and pronunciation just don’t go together.
A typical day for Don is waking up at 5:30 am and arriving to school around 7 am to grade students’ work, make up tests, etc. From 8:30 am to 9 am he tutors any students that need help. After that, he teaches from 9 am until 2 pm. When he is finished with his morning classes, he goes to the gym to exercise, or he goes home for lunch and a nap. He is back at school by 4:30 pm to teach his evening classes until 10:30 pm. Then he finally heads home for the day, gets a good night’s sleep, and wakes up to start the whole cycle again.
What is something unique, funny, or interesting about Don? Well… he himself is funny and unique, but he still describes himself as conflicted. What does that mean? He can’t explain it. But, when he is in the classroom, it is the one place that he feels completely at ease. It is there that you will see the real Don Gleason, and experience all of his humor, care, and… well, sometimes just plain craziness.
When Don is not teaching, he loves to watch dance performances, walk in the park, work out at the gym, and get together with family and friends.
Celio Fernando Miller | Advanced 1 English Student
Celio Fernando Miller is just one of our many students from the beautiful country of Brazil. He mentioned two reasons for studying at Excel. First, he thinks Excel has “very good teachers, and also when I started to study at Excel, I liked the didactic that the teachers used.” He also needs to learn English to enter the university and achieve his goals in life.
Apart from learning English, his favorite part about studying at Excel is “that I learn, and learn about different cultures.” Celio says that the most difficult part about studying English as a non-native speaker is that “I can identify in myself many mistakes. This doesn’t make me sad because I know I can improve, but the worst part for me is learning to write.”
The best experience he has had in the Dallas area is the first time he talked with a native English speaker and had no problem communicating. Celio describes himself as calm, helpful, and serious. He also says that despite being the kind of person who prefers to be alone, he is not rude and enjoys helping others. In his free time, he likes to watch TV series, ride horses, play viola, do exercise, and play basketball.
Our Teachers & students make learning english fun
These two outstanding people at Excel make learning and working fun, rewarding and an experience that will stay with you even after you leave the school.