Kory Wright: How a trip around the country led to a teaching career

Kory Wright
Above: Kory Wright

Career aspirations come from lots of places. For Kory Wright, his decision to become a high school teacher came out of an around-the-country adventure.

For a while after high school, Kory worked a semester and went to school a semester. It was the only way he could pay for school. In 2011, at a point when he was working fulltime, a friend convinced him to take off on a trip to see all 50 states. They weren’t getting any younger!

“We did it in just 64 days,” Kory says.

What happened next changed Kory’s life:

“A friend asked me to come speak to his 7th grade Social Studies classes. I had had aspirations of becoming a teacher when I was younger but this experience sealed the deal for me. I decided I would go back to school and become a science teacher.”

So Kory finished his associate’s degree at LLCC and transferred to UIS in Spring 2015, majoring in biology with a minor in secondary education.

He chose to do his degree online. “I have always been a bit of a night owl and taking online courses allowed me the flexibility to complete my coursework on my own time.”

The Teacher Education Program (TEP) at UIS requires that students meet on campus once for each online course, and this also worked well for Kory:

“Being able to meet the people face to face that I had been corresponding with on discussion posts was a unique experience. We weren’t just faceless avatars on a screen. We were actual people with our unique back stories. They were in the same boat as I was. I’m proud to say that we went on this journey together.”

In his online journey, his personal challenge was time management—“It always has been,” he says—and he also struggled with technology. Every semester he had at least one assignment go missing or had a link that wouldn’t work.

The UIS professors more than made up for these difficulties. They were always available, easy to reach by email, a phone call or even just a short trip to campus (Kory lives nearby in Riverton, Illinois).

Kory enthusiastically recommends classes by any of the professors in the TEP department:
They guided me through this process and made it so easy and understandable from day one until Graduation Day and I know that they will be there if I ever have a question in my teaching career. I can firmly say that I would not be graduating if it wasn’t for the tireless efforts of the wonderful men and women of the TEP department.

If Kory has a bucket list, he was able to cross a big item off when he completed his trip around the country. This year he can cross off two even bigger items—his bachelor’s degree and his teaching certificate.

Next up on the list? “A job! The next school year is right around the corner.”