I’ve been reflective lately, thinking about how I got here. Why things are how they are and not like how they aren’t.

And with looking back comes the inevitable nostalgia. It’s not like I think high school or—God forbid—middle school was all that awesome. But, I became myself then.

Or, at least, the trajectory I find myself on now was born out of circumstances in high school. Who we are, I suppose, changes on the context in which we find ourselves. Our beliefs and friends and ideals and autonomy changes over time.

And entering adulthood is pretty personally tumultuous. But I digress.

* * *

My junior year of high school I took AP English with Ms. Butz. Everyone knew that her class was the hardest English class offered. Everyone knew that you would have to write. I groaned alongside everyone else, but I secretly looked forward to it.

Because I longed to be put to the test. I longed to be pushed. I wanted to be stretched.

And I was.

Ms. Butz made me work, but she was also the first person to suggest that I major in English. She still teaches at my high school, pushing young minds to become something.

When I came to ACU, I took a piloted version of Core, run through the Honors College, taught by Dr. Stephenson. We were looking at the way literature, through time, handled race.

He, too, put me to the test. I wrote my first serious paper for that class.

Dr. Stephenson was the first to suggest that I should pursue graduate work. After that, I took as many classes from him as I could. For all four years of my undergrad, Dr. Stephenson was a guide, teacher, and mentor.

And during my junior year, I took my first Rhetoric class. It was with Dr. Williams. We focused on the intersection of Rhetoric and Social Justice. For any of you who have been around my blog for any length of time, you can chalk up some of my pontificating to her.

Once more, she put me to the test. She supervised my undergraduate thesis, molding and shaping me into the beginnings of a scholar. She was the first to suggest that I do graduate work in Composition and Rhetoric.

And, of course, there are many more teachers I could write about. Many more scholars and professors and writers and teachers who took an interest in me. Who saw a potential and pushed me.

And, no, it was not always fun. It’s still not always fun. And, yes, I expect many more difficult classes and semesters before it’s all over (if it’s ever all over!), but I am who I am, at least in part, because of Ms. Butz and Dr. Stephenson and Dr. Williams and the others.

And so, today, I am thankful for my teachers.

P.S. This is a continuation of the Thankful Tuesday series here on the blog, originally inspired by Micha Boyett.