CHICAGO — In the fourth floor band room at Chicago’s historic Lake View High School, Ms. Anne Gallery plays the flute, saxophone, trumpet and more.

“I wanted to be able to actually show students,” Ms. Gallery said “So, if a part is very tricky, I can tell them I know and also here’s a way to figure it out.”

In her tenth year of teaching at Lake View High, Ms. Gallery said it was her frustration with limited access to music classes for Chicago students that led her to the classroom.

“I became a teacher because I was a little frustrated with not having music in elementary school,” Ms. Gallery said. “I wanted to teach high schoolers here to help students who need to catch up to students across the country, who get to start in 5th or 6th grade.”

Now, she gets to work with her students everyday, building their confidence to perform in front of an audience

“I like to make sure I move about the room and I’m playing with them as a fellow musician instead of just a conductor too,” Ms. Gallery said.

According to her students, her style of teaching is a big help toward developing their abilities with an instrument.

“She was very patient with all of us,” said Henri Wojtach, one of her tenth-graders. “And everyday, it was like, ‘I can do this now,’ and it was all because Ms. Gallery was there each part of the way.”

After being under Ms. Gallery’s tutelage for so long, a group of tenth-graders got together and were the brain trust behind getting her nominated for WGN Teacher of the Month.

“I made a group chat called ‘Children Nominate Ms. Gallery,'” said Tina Almendariz, another one of Ms. Gallery’s tenth-graders.

“When we start talking about Ms. Gallery, you cant help but smile,” said Lauren Chico.

Award sponsor Howard Ankin stopped by the school to present Ms. Gallery with a $1,000 check, which she said will go straight to fixing instruments.

“The money is definitely going to go to repairs,” Ms. Gallery said.

Beyond music, her students say Ms. Gallery is hitting all the right notes, advocating for them as a part of the schools’ climate team, leading peace circles to resolve conflicts, and valuing their opinions.

“I think a big part of learning an instrument is it’s a skill that helps you with planning,” Ms. Gallery said. “A lot of big problems you have in adulthood seem daunting. And if you have the skill to break something down into smaller or manageable tasks, even if they don’t do those things with an instrument, they’ll be applying that life skill later.”

Ms. Gallery said the school’s music program is always in need of more instruments, and they’ll fix them up too, so if you have any you would like to donate, you can find a way to reach out to Lake View High School here.

If you know of a fantastic teacher who deserves to be honored, you can do so at this link.