Teacher of the Week 18: Tracy Galla

Maggie Jakopac | Conant Crier

Tracy Galla teaches her students the math related to chemistry.

Teachers are real life superheroes. Every day, CHS teachers touch the lives of thousands of students, and their work extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom. To show appreciation for these teachers, the Crier asked students to identify teachers that have made a real impact in their lives. A new student and teacher will be featured each week.

This week, Alexander Aleszczyk, ‘17, nominated chemistry teacher Tracy Galla.

Aleszczyk: I chose Ms. Galla because not many people realize how much effort she puts into helping other students. I did not like chemistry at all, and she knew that. She was determined to help me understand the subject. To this day, we still talk on a regular basis about school and what’s going on. Recently, she offered to help me prepare for a placement test that I have to take before I can schedule classes at UIC. Not many teachers would be willing to do so.

Crier: What inspired you to teach chemistry?

Galla: I like chemistry. I was always helping my friends in college to understand their chemistry, and they said, “You should try teaching.” So, I went to a meeting about education and decided to give it a shot. It turned out that I really enjoyed teaching. If I had an inspiration, it would be my high school chemistry teacher. He was really tough, but he made chemistry really interesting. I had him for two years, and he always challenged me to do my best.

Crier: Before entering college, did you plan on becoming a chemistry teacher, or did you have a different goal?

Galla: I had a very different career in mind when I was in high school. I was going to join the Air Force and fly jets, and then I was going to go into military intelligence. However, I always planned on studying chemistry; that was always part of the plan.

CrierWhat is your favorite topic to teach in your classes and why?

Galla: So, I’m currently teaching accelerated chemistry and normal level chemistry, but in the past I’ve taught Advanced Placement chemistry. I definitely don’t enjoy them all at the same time, but I do enjoy teaching stoichiometry because I feel like when the students understand the concepts, they’re like, “Wow, this is so easy.” I love seeing the light bulb go off. My favorite thing about teaching is when people figure things out and realize that they can do it. Of course, it may be tough, but it’s not impossible. In the long run, everybody realizes that they are capable of something difficult. And I think it’s an important lesson because they can use challenging experiences to get through new obstacles.

CrierIf you were an element in the periodic table, which one would you be?

Galla: Most people would think I’d be Gallium because of the relation to my last name, but I would definitely be some sort of metal because they are very precious and super shiny! If I had to pick one element, I would choose Mercury. I like that Mercury is a liquid metal, which I think looks really cool.

Crier: What do you like to do with your family?

Galla: Our tradition is to have dinner together once a week. Actually, my brother is going to have a baby soon, so we like to talk about those plans and get ready for the baby. We like to relax.

Crier: What type of the food is your favorite?

Galla: There is a lot. I do like food, so I don’t know if I have a favorite type or place to eat. I like a variety of things: I love my mom’s cooking, and I like to go to eat with my friends. I love Italian and Chinese food. I challenge myself to try new foods.

Crier: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?

Galla: I have no idea because if chemistry was out of the picture, I would definetly not have gone to another science. Looking back, I loved reading and little kids, so maybe I would’ve gone down a path of taking care of younger children or maybe elementary education. I’m a people person, so I would’ve never gone into research. So, I definitely would have been in a career in which I would be surrounded by other people.

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