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Three kinds. I've had three kinds of teachers in my life: academic teachers, trainers who taught skills, and spiritual teachers. I'm deeply grateful to the teachers who taught me usable skills: language, cooking, music, sculpture and dancing come first to mind. I'm grateful to the academic teachers who set me free and encouraged me to learn on my own. Spiritual teachers want disciples rather than students. That whole idea is simply wrong. Schooling people in a religion or any other system or framework for spiritual development is ludicrous, ultimately hideous. But spiritual teachers were valuable when they taught me skills or encouraged me to explore my own self development. Proving once again that it ain't the meat it's the motion.

Lectures suck. I never had much use for the traditional lecture based teaching I got in subjects that didn't focus on physical skills, like geography and math. I can absorb that kind of material more readily from a book or screen. In most cases I'm not looking to absorb it anyway, just get a little nugget of understanding or wisdom from it. Why memorize crap you can easily look up if you need it? Memorizing the times tables up to twelve was useful. Beyond that I just needed to understand the operations and a few key ideas, like the practical uses of trigonometry and abstract numbers. And have the good sense to avoid situations where I'd be called on to use the fucking ridiculous order of operations.

Mom and Dad were my best teachers in childhood and among the best I ever encountered. My dad was a genius teacher, engaging and encouraging my natural curiosity about the natural world again and again. Mom simply did what she did transparently: I was always welcome to jump in and participate if I wanted to. Every moment was a teaching moment if I made it one. Neither of them ever discouraged my explorations unless they had legitimate concerns about my safety. I didn't tell them about exploring caves using a pop bottle of kerosene with a burning rag stuck in the top as a torch.