I'm writing this partially as a response to another post, but after re-reading it I've decided to make a new thread to get other people's experiences I don't know about anyone else but for my entire school life all 4 of my English teachers were awesome. We could learn more about religion and history in a given English class, especially with one old guy called Chris Hardy. Mr. Hardy was one of those idealist academics - someone that became genuinely depressed when trying to teach someone stupid/apathetic and was only ever happy when he knew for certain that we'd be leaving the class wiser for the experience. His normal English classes followed the syllabus fair enough (even if we did get sidetracked teasing him with infuriating questions like "Was Shakespeare inspired by Jane Austin?") but English Extension 2 (Australian schools here) was an entirely different experience. We'd be given a prompt (optional) and told to write for 30 minutes solid, then we'd read out what we'd managed to come up with and we'd get critiqued by first the class and then the teacher. He really knew how to be brutal and constructive at the same time. It wasn't until today that I realised that that was my first writing group and a lot of the understanding I'd gained from the experience is something I'll never be able to thank him for enough for. I wonder if all English teachers are this awesome or if I just got lucky?