There seems to be an inverse relationship between my colleagues’ talent and skills as educators and their desire and willingness to employ authoritarianism and control with the children.

I feel like there is something which might be generalized from this, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.


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14 thoughts on “Observed

  1. Reminds of the classic Isaac Asimov quote “Violence is the last refuge of the incompent” …also puts me in the mind that those who self promote most avidly seem to have little to promote…


  2. Authoritarian control always seems to me to be rooted in a basic lack of confidence in others.

    An authoritarian government lacks confidence that the people it governs will behave according to the laws they make; it lacks confidence that voters will like their policies.

    An authoritarian employer lacks confidence that its employees will competently do their jobs if they are left free to do so.

    So too, an authoritarian teacher lacks confidence that her charges will learn if they are not dictated to.


    • I think this in conjunction with what MRS says above nails it (no pun intended).

      But, damn, it is exhausting. When I’m on the playground with the kids, there might be 2 or 3 situations which I independently intervene in over the course of 45 minutes to an hour. There are probably a few more I do at the behest of the students (though I usually redirect them to use a modeled conflict resolution strategy on their own first). Otherwise, I’m either quietly watching or engaging them on more positive lines. I watch others and they can’t go 30 seconds without giving someone a directive. Ugh, I’d go insane if I had to micromanage so fiercely.


    • Fear is a powerful motivator. Trouble is, it has a short shelf life. Soon enough, the authoritarian jailer becomes the prisoner and the prisoners become the jailers.

      Solzhenitsyn once said only the prisoners in the gulag were truly free to speak their minds. Once you’ve taken everything away from a man, you have no more power over him.


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