Middle School's Silvering Named Master Teacher

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The middle school’s Michael Silvering was recently named a New York State Master Teacher by the governor’s office, part of a program that began in 2013 to enhance science education and STEM career preparations while recognizing science, technology, engineering and math educators who have demonstrated exceptional skills in mentoring peers and furthering their professional development. Silvering currently teaches eighth-grade general science and honors earth science as well as seventh-grade general science, and mentors students on the Islip Middle School Science Olympiad team.

A member of the Science Teachers Association of New York, Silvering received a bachelor’s degree in geology at Binghamton University, where he researched sedimentology and groundwater remediation, and earned a master’s degree in earth science education at Stony Brook University, with studies focused on Long Island glacial features. His fascination with earth science was sparked as a child while visiting caves, exploring beaches and state parks, and fossil hunting in upstate New York. He strives to share his passion for science with his students and help them relate each lesson to real-world applications, a quality which led fellow teacher Ashley Bloch to encourage Silvering to sign up for acceptance as a Master Teacher, a long, tough process requiring numerous tests, interviews, essays and a demo lesson.

“It is such an honor to be accepted into the Master Teacher program,” said Silvering. “More than 500 STEM teachers have been recognized across New York State, and I feel privileged to be considered a part of this incredible group of educators. Each person contributes a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm. Being named a Master Teacher means a lot to me because it's an acknowledgement of all the hard work and hundreds of extra hours I put into giving students a meaningful and engaging learning experience.”

Silvering has only been a Master Teacher for several months, but has already met and collaborated with other Master Teachers 10 times, and has regularly attended a monthly meeting of all Long Island Master Teachers, where the assembled educators are developing a mini-course on the chemistry and physics of earth science" mini-course; learning techniques for using games to reinforce or review concepts in small, student-run groups; and undertaking professional development at the American Museum of Natural History to learn new ideas and techniques for teaching science. He also attended a STANYS conference involving Long Island glacial deposits, fossils and climate change.

“I owe much of my success to the other science teachers in my school who mentored me when I was new, share resources and ideas every day, and continuously inspire their students with engaging activities and lessons,” said Silvering.