I've had many teachers. I've had a teacher that bullied me, a teacher that exhibited sexist discrimination towards what I chose to don my body in (never mind the fact that it's not the female's fault when boys are distracted, it's the boys who can't handle their hormones), a teacher who used to toss tootsie rolls that had been softened by the overhead heater to students who answered the right questions (he was the best!), and even a teacher who gave me a graduation present, one whom I continue to be in contact with to this day.
But there's one teacher that remains an important educator, one who, at the time, said something I felt repulsed by, but that I now look back on and thank, for she was right.
It was sophomore year at Kenai Central High School. I was shuffling along, looking longingly at the clocks in every classroom counting the hours till the boring and domestic drudgery could end and I was free to go and dance my heart out after school.
There was a new teacher in town, and she taught my favorite class: English. At that time, I was as much a writer as I am now, but my future was full of hopeful aspirations in the entertainment industry. I was pursuing modeling, acting, singing, and dancing, a career bright with paparazzi and fame.
It was after class, and as I was putting away my journal, that I realized I was the last one to exit the room. As I smiled at my teacher on the way out, she stopped me.
I don't exactly remember the precise details of how this came about, but I think we had just been handed back written papers. A paper I had probably and unsurprisingly scored an A on.
She looked at me and said: Elan, I know you're a talented performer and want to be in the entertainment industry, but you are a fantastic writer and you should never give that up. You have the potential to make a career out of this, I just want you to consider that.
Like I said at the beginning, I was turned off by the comment. In a time where my only concerns were how to pose best in photographs, dance with soul, and be the first one to sit front row at auditions, I couldn't believe that this teacher had the balls to tell me I should pursue anything but a career in the arts.
I look back now and think my gosh, she was absolutely right.
Don't get me wrong, I would still love to sing, act, dance, and model, but what really sets my soul on fire is writing.
I always knew I had a voice. And at the time, I communicated it through different outlets: dance, song, performance, photography, and through my fingertips as they raced across the keyboard and frantically went to work on paper. This teacher saw that, but she noticed that it was best exhibited through writing, and she wanted me to consider the possibility of making that a part of my career, a career in communication.
She encouraged me to consider other options. She inspired me to pursue something I hadn't really considered a possibility, and I thank her each and every day for that.
I see now that my future belongs in communication, as my passion is sharing/telling/presenting something that needs to be said to an audience. Whether that's through dance, song, performance, or modeling, I can now count writing alongside those options.
All along, that teacher was write (Pun intended. By now, you should know that all of my puns are likely intended).
And for that, I thank you, Mrs. Nabholz.
Here is a VERY throwback photo for you. Elan, wee age of 16, a sophomore in high school...
I also still have that sweater. Wow I keep clothes a long while.