The blog post above and the comments have said as much about teaching as about writing. If you reflect upon them, you will begin to understand how complex teaching is and how unfair teachers are treated. Is every teacher an effective teacher of writing. No. But some are and many more could be if given the support and time to learn deeply about writing. But we are in an era where that does not happen in many school districts. I teach those who coach teachers to improve their writing instruction. If you would like to know about how hard this work is and how many obstacles arise, write to me.
You probably won’t be writing about poetry on your student choice essay—most just aren’t meaty enough in terms of action and character to merit a full-length essay on the themes when you don’t actually have the poem in front of you (a major exception being The Odyssey ). That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be reading poetry, though! You should be reading a wide variety of poets from different eras to get comfortable with all the varieties of poetic language. This will make the poetry analysis essay and the multiple-choice questions about poetry much easier!