I wonder how many more of us have had similar experiences with teachers and whether those experiences may have had any effect on our interest in words.
Interesting subject to me. As I've mentioned previously (some time ago), I had some real cretinous teachers and some real gems. The only time I ever recall having had my English corrected and still strongly disagreeing was in HS over a poem I'd written http://www.geocities.com/elbillaf/timely.html
. But it wasn't a severe disagreement, and I actually liked this teacher a lot, and thought she was pretty good. Also, she gave me a B once and called me on the carpet once (but I don't mind being reamed when I deserve it). By asking me questions, she got me to figure out that the 'little lame balloon man' was actually Pan.
I don't so much worry about bad information. I expect teachers to make a lot of mistakes. I'm more concerned with faulty educational procedures and displays of utter lack of concern or understanding of the subject matter. I'm not even annoyed by a display of minor ignorance in the subject area.
I can't think of a word example, but I had a science teacher in one grade whom all the other students loved and whom I thought was buffoon. The guy reasoned poorly and didn't understand what he was teaching very well. But he was a nice guy and he spoke authoritatively. So everyone else thought he was sliced bread.
I did have a teacher once (also HS) who chewed me out for not following along in Julius Ceasar read-aloud, because I had Cyrano D'Bergerac stuffed inside and was reading it instead. (I'd read JC about 5 times at other schools). This same teacher called me a jackass once (in so many words, and it was very well-deserved). I didn't like her at the time, but in retrospect I think she was okay.
One thing that got me interested in words was just being bored at an early age and finding some way to pass the time in the dictionary. Also, taking a course in etymology in middle school was pretty provocative. And taking the two years of Latin in HS sent me further down the track. Also, just reading really got me. How come two guys can say almost the same thing, but one guy's stuff is hohum and the other guy's stuff ya just wanna read over and over and over? Some writing is like a jingle you can't get out of your head. Further, I had a few teachers who would let me just go off on weird tangents when I got the rest of my work done - so I got to spend a lot of time reading other things. Also, the expanded reading selection I've had since I graduated introduced me to a lot more words and a lot more ways of using them. The AI and CS stuff has made me think not just about words, but about context and meaning, and interpretation. Finally, conversations with my friends have had maybe the biggest impact. Just talking things through with other people. As well as reading arguments about words that other people have had. I'm interested in the inherent ambiguity of words in context - and I'm intruiged when I find examples of two people ostensible talking about the same things in different ways, or two people believing they're talking about the same thing, but in reality different things.