DCSS Teacher of the Year Finalist: William Wright
After working in Albany State University's campus housing department, William Wright decided it was time for a career shift, sparked by the desire to answer one of his own questions.
"We always wondered, why were students coming to college unprepared?" he said. "So being able to teach has given me a chance to work with secondary students as well as elementary-level students to try to fill those gaps."
That has led him to his third year teaching math at Albany Middle School. After two years with sixth graders, Wright is now working with the school's seventh graders.
His students said he's not like their other teachers.
"He's not traditional," Jayden Keaton said. "He's creative and exciting and makes you want to learn math in his class."
"My favorite part about his class is when we have a class discussion," classmate I'yanah Henry added. "Like we'll have some work to do, and we all discuss over it, and we learn some things that we didn't know."
Wright said he's been in some of his students' shoes before.
"Growing up, I was a B student in math, so getting my undergraduate degree in mathematics was a way for me to strengthen that area of weakness for me," he said.
He said that has also made him a stronger teacher.
"I understand the fears students have with math," Wright said. "It's a subject that a lot of people have anxiety about."
He likes to break up his lectures and lessons with games to turn that anxiety into excitement.
"We try to keep the academic rigor high as well as, but when we put that perfect balance together, we're able to get students that can achieve," Wright said.
"It's not like having fun but slacking off," seventh grader Joshua Northern said. "We're having fun, but we're still learning while we're having fun."
Now that Wright has found his way to Albany Middle School, he's not looking back.
"I think teaching is one of the most fulfilling careers," he said. "I've learned that what I'm able to pour into my students and they're able to pour into me, it makes a world of difference."