Interview with the Teacher of the Year

By: Ashley Womack

Mr. Galitioto was selected as HHS teacher of the year for 2016-2017. Both student and faculty agree that this honor is well deserved for his noteworthy contributions as a teacher for Hamden High School.  Mr. G. inspires his AP Psychology and Sociology students to maintain a rigorous work ethic to attain enlightenment.

Enjoy his interview below.

Question: What is the greatest success you have had in teaching?

Response: “What is my greatest success for teaching…yeah… working with students on all levels. For instance, when a student has trouble or I’ve seen struggle over the years gets into college or succeeds in something that they have had a hard time with. You know it’s reassuring for me that we are doing our job and we are helping them succeed. Furthermore, seeing students succeed that’s a success for me.”

Question: Why do you want to teach at an AP level?

Response: “It wasn’t something I originally ever thought about doing but when the opportunity came up to do it I was excited about the possibility of teaching a new subject…The AP for me is such a rigorous class and there is so much material involved but it’s a nice challenge for me to try to arrange the material in a fun and interesting way while keeping up the rigor of the course.”

Question: What personal strengths do you find especially helpful in your teaching?

Response: “…I think you have to be a good communicator, one thing I’ve learned is that the ability to talk and the ability to talk to a lot of people of all different personalities is important. You have to make a connection with the students, and it’s not always easy. Sometimes you have students who are shy or outgoing and I work to balance out that for everybody’s best interest. Think endowed makes a good teacher.”

Question: What do you like most about teaching as a career?

Response: “Personally, I enjoy interacting with the students. I mean that’s why we are here… Nay, the opportunity to work with different students and learn about them… I teach sociology and psychology and it’s about learning about people. For me, the best part about teaching is working with different people. In addition, I teach half year classes, so I could have 250 students a year but for me working with all those students and learning all those personalities is the most important.

Question: What is your philosophy of education?

Response: “I think that every kid, regardless of background should have equal opportunities, in a safe and encouraging environment. But above all, every student should learn with dignity. Hamden High School is a safe place, it’s a place where students can feel they are getting the most out of their education.”

Question: When did you decide to become a teacher?

Response: “I probably decided to become a teacher my sophomore year of college with the desire to give back to the community that has been so good to me. In hindsight I was trying to find a profession that was rewarding and meaningful… As an adolescent I watched my mother teach third grade students and assimilated the belief that this was something I could do.”

Question: How do you motivate your students to become active learners in your classroom? Or How do you encourage class participation?

Response: “I motivate my students by allowing them to have a stake in the class, not just with their grade but give them the tools to relate everyday lesson to something in their life. I’m lucky enough to teach something that affects them on a daily basis… having real world implications is important. As far as class participation goes, I want students to feel comfortable and create a safe environment for them”

Question: What do you want to be doing in five years?

Response: “What do I want to be doing in five years… probably the same thing. I have my administrative degree but I really believe my place is in the classroom working with other students. I don’t really see myself leaving education.”