Russell Chudy is in his element as a chemistry teacher


As soon as you walk into chemistry teacher Russell Chudy’s room you can tell he is far from the typical teacher.

Besides being recognized for his stellar Random Acts of Talent skits and setting up cardboard cutouts in front of his door before test dates, Chudy is also known for his colorful walls filled with Chemistry posters, such as the classic ‘Carol didn’t wear her safety goggles, and now she can’t read Twilight anymore’ posters.

Chudy is well known for blasting Chemistry songs like “The Element Song,” “Polyatomic Ions” by Yah Boy Money, and a fan favorite Chemistry inspired song, “It’s a Mole,” through his speakers for all surrounding classrooms to hear. While his students’ year of Chemistry is full of music relating to whatever lesson they just learned, his soundtrack to his high school and college years would be written by Billy Joel.

“[Billy Joel] brings back all the memories of high school and college and the good times,” Chudy said. “I just think he’s an amazing person, songwriter, piano player, [and he] probably likes Chemistry too.”

Another thing Chudy is known for is his multitude of Chemistry puns. Imagine a couple of steps above dad jokes. For example, ‘I make bad chemistry puns because all the good ones Argon.’

“The Chemistry puns have kind of come about over the years,” Chudy said. “You hear other teachers say them sometimes, but a lot of times, they just came to me.”

Besides getting puns from other science teachers, Chudy also got some of his classic jokes from former students that he has had the privilege of teaching throughout the years.

“Like five years ago, one of my students said ‘Hey Mr. Chudy, are you going to enter our grades into the chem-puter?’” Chudy said. “I was like ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I never thought of that.’”

Even though some of his puns can fall short every once in a while, he knew his dream of being a teacher wouldn’t.

“I always liked school,” Chudy said. “I enjoyed being at school because all of my friends were there, but I also enjoyed learning. When I graduated college, I went to school to be a teacher and never had any regrets or doubts.”

For some people, it’s the subject matter and what unit is being taught that makes a class exciting. For some, its who’s in the class, whether it be a friend or the same kid in your past hour, but for Chudy, it was his high school biology teacher that made the prospect of teaching look exciting and the subject of science enjoyable.

“My biology teacher was really awesome,” Chudy said. “He was just really excited about what he was teaching, and you could tell he really liked the subject matter, and he really liked teaching us and sharing information.”

While teaching is a hard task no matter what subject is being taught, adding the aspect of working with chemicals, getting lab stations ready, and getting equipment equals copious amounts of prep time.

From setting up Bunsen burners and flint strikers to adding the right amount of solute to different solvents, preparing for a lab takes plenty of time, especially when you have to prepare for five classes and several lab groups to attempt the lab.

“As far as lesson plans, I’ve been doing this enough that I know what I’m doing,” Chudy said. “It’s the grading that eats at my weekends and weeknights.”

I always liked school,” Chudy said. “I enjoyed being at school because all of my friends were there.”

— Russell Chudy

Throughout his twenty-five years of teaching and grading labs and quizzes during his free time, Chudy has had time to pick his favorite elements. To be specific, his four favorite elements out of all one hundred and eighteen elements.

“I’d be four [elements],” Chudy said. “[I’d be] Carbon, Hydrogen, Uranium, and Dysprosium because [the elemental symbols] spell my name.”

And while Chudy could spell his last name with different elemental symbols, he prefers to describe himself as indescribable.

“I describe myself as something that can’t quite be described or explained, yet you know it’s there,” Chudy said. “[I guess you could say I’m] like a rash.”