Teacher Spotlight: Cindy Castanheira

For the last nine years, Cindy Castanheira has been a part of the St. Andrew Catholic School family. Get to know her story and how she brings her faith, experience, and passion for teaching into the classroom.

What did you want to be when you were little?
I always had a passion to teach young children. I am very blessed that God has answered my prayers!

What’s your favorite thing about teaching Pre-K 4?
I love the sweetness about the children and the fun that we can have in our classroom. I enjoy watching them grow from the beginning of the year to when they actually leave at the end of the year. My favorite thing is teaching them about Jesus. They get very excited, and they have a lot of questions. They’re really listening, and they’re so willing to learn and take it in! They love to hear that Jesus loves them, and how He wants them to come to Him.

How does your past experience affect your approach to teaching now?
When you’ve been teaching the same age group for so many years, you grow and learn so much. Helping the children grow socially and emotionally is so important, and in order to do this you have to get to know each child and their family.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?
Watching these kids grow and learn. I plant the seeds and I am blessed to see them bloom and shine, and it brings me so much joy to watch them grow and mature and become little 5 year-olds. I also love to watch my past Pre-K children in the upper grades and see how much they have changed and matured.

What do you enjoy about teaching at St. Andrew Catholic School?
I enjoy teaching them about the Lord and how to pray! I don’t just teach them; I teach them how to pray from the heart, for their classmates and for when they’re not feeling well, or when there’s an illness in someone’s family. We stop every three hours to keep Jesus in our hearts throughout the day. An alarm goes off and we all stop and bow our heads. At the beginning of the year, I will pray, but by the end of the year, they pray on their own. If I don’t hear the alarm, they’ll say, “Mrs. Castanheira, it’s time to pray!” It’s a beautiful thing, and at that point, you know they understand what it’s all about.

What do you hope your students take away from being in your classroom?
To keep love in their hearts, to grow in kindness, and become independent. I try to instill in them how to handle their own situations in the classroom, how to verbalize their emotions, and how to work through conflict. That way, when they’re not with me — because I can’t protect them all the time — they have the skills to work through it themselves.

Get to Know Cindy Castanheira

Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up in Strafford, Connecticut. My husband got transferred with his job about 28 years ago, and we’ve lived in the same house for 28 years!

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I love to go to the beach! I love spending time with my grandson, and I love going to his baseball games. He’s five, his name is Austin! He’s the light of my life.

Q: Do you have a favorite movie or TV show?
A: Oh, I love the cooking channel! Duff Goldman is my favorite.

Q: Favorite place that you’ve traveled, or a place you hope to visit?
A: The Vatican. My husband and I have been there twice, and I’m going again this summer because it’s our 40th anniversary. I like the history and holiness of the Vatican, and we will also get a day where we sit in the general audience of the Pope.

Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: It’s between spaghetti and pizza, but I would have to say spaghetti. I love spaghetti!

For more than 50 years, the Orlando private schools have been helping children grow to their fullest potential and become leaders within their communities. We offer unique and dynamic learning environments that engage students and encourage them to become confident and responsible adults. To learn more about what makes us different, contact us today.