Mar. 30th, 2007

mirrorshard: (Vigee Le Brun)
I keep hearing, from one source or another, about how English teachers completely turned them off reading, or how English teachers sparked their lifelong love of $author(s). (If English isn't your first literary language, substitute. Or not, as you prefer. You know the drill.)

A lot of them have seemed a bit absolutist - don't like anything we read in school, usually. Oddly, it doesn't seem to go the other way, but then I don't think I've ever met anyone who liked everything.

My experience was always that I'd make up my own mind about each piece, and I don't think it was the teacher (or the fact that it was In School) that did it. Then again, that might be because I was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of books, with family that approved of my reading, so books were nothing special to me. Intellectually, I understand that there are people who don't have this experience, but it's not something I've ever discussed with people - are any of you in that position?

Of course, it probably helped that I enjoyed school - or at least most lessons - too. I was always enthusiastic and engaged, though occasionally over-snarky about something I'd decided I didn't like. My likes and dislikes never seemed to divide themselves along genre or form lines, at least, and I don't recall having to study anything I actually disliked.

I did manage to OD on Death of a Salesman, and I probably wouldn't have finished Jane Eyre if it hadn't been for A-level English, but then it would have been years before I discovered Jane Austen otherwise, too.

So am I that atypical? (This is probably a rhetorical question, given the skewed nature of LJ. I'd be interested to find out if any of you had the "classic" turned-off-by-teacher experience.)

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