Meet MC’s newest teacher, Ms. Galvan


Rocco Mancilla

Ms. Galvan teaches Spanish and is MC’s newest faculty member.

Ms. Alexandra Galvan is Mt. Carmel’s newest addition to the faculty. She teaches Spanish but is also an assistant art therapist working in the South Shore and South Chicago Neighborhoods. Ms. Galvan is from St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Parish, where she grew up in a Spanish-speaking family. At the time she was being raised by her grandparents who spoke predominantly Spanish but with her friends and mom, she learned to speak English as well.
Ms. Galvan chose to attend Marist High School despite her house being closer to Queen of Peace. “My principal at St. Bede called the principal at Marist and was like this girl has to be in all honors classes. She is gonna be a great addition.”
During freshman year Ms. Galvan played basketball and ended up joining a travel team but unfortunately dislocated her knee resulting in her season coming to a close. Her sophomore year is when she joined cheer leading for Mt. Carmel all the way through her senior year. Getting closer to the end of her senior year Ms. Galvan thought she wanted to be a doctor and took up pre-med while in college until she realized it was not the field for her.
“I ended up taking a social work class,” she remembers, “thought it wasn’t for me, came back to it later eventually, and then after that, I went into world language education.”
Ms. Galvan attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study Spanish as well as World Language Education and Educational Policy. What piqued Ms. Galvan’s interest in the University of Wisconsin-Madison was how big the campus was, with lots of nice buildings, and lots to get involved with. “I had a really great experience at Wisconsin and met a lot of great people,” she says. “It was so cool to room with someone who had such a different life experience and so interested in my life experience, too.”
As a social worker, Ms. Galvan has worked in a homeless shelter and has had a lot of clients who don’t speak English. Being able to speak Spanish in that environment has been great to make people feel heard and has given her the opportunity to get to know people that she otherwise wouldn’t know and help people she otherwise wouldn’t be able to help. What matters to Ms. Galvan is others understand the Spanish-speaking culture and get people to connect with each other.
“In a country where we do have a lot of people here who maybe don’t speak English or are coming from Spanish speaking countries and could really use that support it feels so good to be understood.”
While in college Ms. Galvan spent a semester abroad in Seville, Spain, and lived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, for a summer teaching English. She had to adjust because students in Spain learn British English which was a little different from what she normally studied. She would end up staying there for six months during her sophomore year. “When I talked to my advisor the topic of world language came up,” she says. “Then I found out that if I wanted to teach world language I had to study abroad that next semester.”
Ms. Galvan was originally put onto this opportunity to teach at MC by her long-time friend, Ms. Kerri Fagan, an English teacher and Head Cheer leading Coach. Ms. Galvan has always been involved with Mt. Carmel, whether it be cheer-leading during her high school career or coaching alongside Ms. Fagan. Teaching in an all-boys private school is a new experience for her, but working with students of all ages has been a passion. Although she is only teaching for five more weeks, she is still happy to be a part of the MC community. “I’m really enjoying getting to find creative ways to help students learn the information and it’s really cool to see growth,” she says. “As a teacher, it’s very gratifying to see how students are doing and to get some insight into where we need to focus more.”
Presently Ms. Galvan is pursuing her Master’s in social work at the University of Chicago and has plans to work as a school social worker after graduation in 2023. She has come far from growing up in a Spanish-speaking home to teaching the language.
“In social work you are there to serve, you are there to be a resource, you are there to do what the people need of you,” Ms. Galvan says. “Speaking Spanish is a really big need.”