Although math is currently the passion on which Molly Wright focuses, it hasn’t always been that way. Music was once her dream, and can still be seen in many of the things she does. Although it is less noticeable in the classroom, her music can still be heard behind the sounds of confused students learning calculus. This passion for music was started by her mother, the music director at the high school she attended in Statesville, but she would eventually come to realize that there was more she could do than just music.
As a senior in high school, Wright was still unsure about what she wanted to do, and where she wanted to go to college. Although she had narrowed her choices down to NC State, UNC Chapel Hill, and UNC Charlotte, she was still unclear as to what she wanted to major in. She knew education was her place, but being around music and her mom so much had made her believe that music education was her only choice. Or, that was the case until her band director finally talked to her.
“He told me, ‘Just because you want to go into education, it doesn’t mean you have to go into music education,’” Wright said. “Because of that I started thinking about other subject to teach, well, really just English and math, but I didn’t want to grade papers, so I went with math education.”
With the decision for her major finally made, Wright applied for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, and, to her surprise, got in.
The Teaching Fellows Program is a system in which North Carolina teachers who teach in North Carolina for a minimum four years receive a forgivable loan.
At the conclusion of her senior year, Wright chose to attend NC State University to major in math education, and math.
“The reason why I chose to major in both math education and math was because a major in math only required a few more credit hours than math education, which is only around one or two classes,” Wright said. “It would also let me teach higher level math classes, which I always enjoyed more than the basic math classes because they give you more freedom to learn.”
Although she was majoring in a STEM field, her passion for music never really quieted down, and she even went so far as to get a job working with music in college.
“I ended up getting a job at a radio as a DJ for my last three years in college. I ended up going back in my free time during my first year as a teacher because it was just a great escape for me,” Wright said. “I mostly played indie music, but I loved all genres of music.”
Wright taught at schools in the Raleigh area for six years before finally deciding to make the switch to a smaller school in Western North Carolina.
“I loved teaching in big schools, but I felt like it was burning me out. All the drama that large schools generate just wasn’t working for me, so I decided to try something new. I decided to look for job openings at smaller schools across the state, and ended up here. I lived here before I moved to Statesville, but I was too young to remember it. When I applied for the job I had no idea that AP Calculus was being offered with it,” Wright said. “At my old schools, I taught IB Math Studies, but teaching AP Calculus was considered an honor, and teachers would fight for opportunity to teach it. I couldn’t turn it down, so I went to the AP training course over the summer, and signed up for Calculus 1 through Harvard’s online program.”
By: Evan O’Donnell