North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Laura Wright, English Teacher

Elyana Kachaochana

What is your name and what department do you work in? My name is Laura Wright and I work in the English department. 

What experiences or moments in your life led you to pursue a career in education, specifically teaching English?  My mom is a teacher and my grandparents are both teachers as well. So I come from a long line of teachers. When I was in college, I really sort of eliminated all the things that I knew I didn’t want to do. I sort of went to teaching from there. I also had the opportunity to do a college summer urban project in the city, and we were given the chance to teach middle schoolers and that’s where things fell into place. I was adamant that I would not be a high school teacher yet here I am.

What do you hope students take away from your AP Language classes, both academically and personally? I hope that they are able to see U.S. history from various perspectives, particularly from perspectives of people who are different from them. I also hope that they get lots of practice with writing, that they become better writers and more confident in their ability to express their ideas on a page, and think critically.

Are there any particular books, authors, or pieces of literature that have had a profound impact on your life or teaching philosophy?  A lot of the books that I’ve taught before have had a big impact on me. I enjoyed all the things that I read well, most of the things that I read in college and in high school. When I reread things, like The Great Gatsby, or The Grapes of Wrath, so many times it leads me to discover new things in them every single time. If it’s a really good piece of literature, then there’s always something else I’m noticing that I haven’t noticed before. One particular book that I teach, and I have loved teaching, really opened my eyes so much that I have a different perspective and connection to history. 

Outside of teaching, what are some of your passions or hobbies? I really like spending time with my family. I like to do crafty things depending on what’s available. I’m doing painting right now. I like to create things that are tangible because it’s relaxing. I also like to travel. I have been to France, England, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and Germany.  

What lessons or insights have you gained that you wish you could share with your younger self? Don’t worry so much. I tend to be a worrier but everything tends to work out. That’s the advice I would give my younger self.

What are some of your fondest childhood memories, and how do you think they’ve shaped who you are today? My mom is a reader and she would go to the library, weekly, and she would get lost in the stacks. I remember my brother and I would always be running around looking for her. I don’t know if she was intentionally trying to lose us or not. She has always had a book, in the living room, and by her bedside table, and she would read multiple books at the time. When I became more of a reader, I realized that watching her do that probably had a good impact on me. Also we did a lot of playing outside in the creek, and getting dirty on my grandma’s farm and I just feel that those are good memories for me, because my children are such city children. They’re really indoor children. I had a different experience than my children when I was growing up.

What are some of the most important values or principles that guide your decision-making and interactions with others? My faith is important to me. It’s a guide for the decisions I make and how I behave, hopefully, and treat people. I have a big sense of responsibility to my students, to my colleagues, because when you’re a teacher, and you have the responsibility of these young minds in your classroom, I take that seriously. I try to make decisions that are best for them, as well.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I don’t know that I’d want to live anywhere else because I love living in Evanston and I teach in Skokie, and both of those communities, I think have really great things to offer like diversity. 

Who are some of the people who have had the greatest influence on your life, and what lessons have you learned from them? My mom and my dad, my mom has always been a big advocate of education, in particular, the education of young girls is very important to her. Then my dad just loves to work. He’s a very generous person. They are people who take care of other people.

What is something you’re passionate about that you wish more people knew or understood? To help you out, I like history but mainly the royal family is interesting. I do love that, too. 

Is there anything from when you were younger that you were passionate about? A lot of different things and it’s hard to pinpoint one thing. Actually, faith is probably one of the things I’m most passionate about because it’s a part of my identity. 

Can you share a pivotal moment or experience from your past that significantly influenced your outlook on life? Moving from Western Illinois, up here to go to college at Northwestern was very eye opening. There were lots of things that I didn’t know, having grown up in a smaller town. It wasn’t a small town, but it wasn’t big by any means either. So the learning curve for knowing people from diverse backgrounds was large. Within those pivotal moments, there was a time when I spent the summer in Chicago, living there and learning about the plight of people who live in food deserts and all those different kinds of things. 

Looking ahead, what are you most excited about for the future, both personally and professionally? I have four more years after this one and then I am retiring. There’s a big sort of question mark in my mind, because I don’t know what I’m going to do next. I’m excited about what that might be. But I will miss teaching a lot. Figuring out what happens next is what I’m most worried about and what I’m most excited about.

The most important question of all, who is your celebrity crush? My celebrity crush is Jason Bateman. So boring, but that’s who it is.

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About the Contributor
Elyana Kachaochana
Elyana Kachaochana, Reporter
Elyana is a junior at Niles North. She enjoys spending time with her nieces/nephews, she spends her time diving into history and conspiracy theories, and she hopes to make a change within the justice system or government one day.

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