Has anyone ever done research on actual examples of the power imbalances behind closed doors?
Behind Closed Doors
I remember a teacher just screaming at us for ages in a classroom once about how we were kids and didn’t know anything. Look, probably true but also a bit of a duh. Like that was news somehow? We were children in high school, after all. Anyway I remember getting bored listening to her bullshit so I started watching a sports ball game of some kind out of the window (I really must have been bored with her crap to watch sports) and then getting in trouble for it. Eye roll. Apparently you are supposed to pay attention to random screaming.
And a uni lecturer once started talking about how he thinks historians are shot first in revolutions. We were all quiet because he had these boring stupid rants on these types of topics that had nothing to do with our classes, and we didn’t want to join in. So he told us we’d all be unemployed forever because we didn’t speak up and you have to speak in job interviews. Never mind that quite a few people in the class had full time jobs and were coming to this class on their breaks to try and get a degree.
That doctor we saw a few times who never spoke, only grunted. We had no idea if he actually understood what we were talking about.
Anyway, no one polices these weird power imbalances and why? Surely they are rife for abuse. An expert or professional alone is not a safe way of operating.
14 Replies to “Behind Closed Doors”
So true. In year 9 I had a maths teacher tell me I would never amount to anything because I couldn’t / wouldn’t do maths. I saw her years later at a school reunion and made a point of seeing her. I just had to tell her that I topped my classes through two Uni degrees and then became a company manager in my chosen field. She apologised!! 😀
It’s that sort of “off hand” comment that really sticks with you though, isn’t it? Glad she apologised.
It’s very rare that the powerful recognise they hold that power over another and acknowledge it. I wish more people did. It’s inevitable in some ways but being more open about it would be a good thing.
I hope most of them just aren’t aware of it rather than are abusing power intentionally. Not super sure ignorance is much better though!
I wish there was more openness and less behind closed doors – people in power in particular should be accountable.
I don’t even know how you’d do it with stuff like teaching and medical but there’s certainly an issue with the ‘bad’ ones in a profession not really being seen and told to shape up or ship out!
As a former teacher, I am sorry for your teacher/student experiences. Some people in every profession allow power to go to their heads. I always found it worked best to get the students on MY side at the beginning of the term. Then we could work together to learn.
I went to 4 primary schools & 2 high schools across two countries plus studied across about 6 unis – so I’ve had terrible all the way through to brilliant teachers. It does seem like a shame that the terrible are harder to find out about and get them to improve (or move on to something else!)
It’s doctors that get me…and their arrogance. I’m often frustrated by them & inordinately surprised when I find a good one (not that I’ve been to one for about 4 years, but you know what I mean…)
Yes – I’d really just rather they admitted they weren’t sure, needed time to look into something, and that I had to come back. Sure it’s inconvenient but it leads to actual treatment… (in theory!)
Oh yes. I understand. For me, being a teacher, there is nothing more annoying or degrading of the profession for students to be put down and talked about or to as if they are ‘underlings’ and what does it matter. It matters alright! I was the principal who had to sort out (not well because there was no excuse) the fact that my assistant principal had told a year 6 girl she looked like a tart.
And medical people. Oh yes, my husband and his multitude of physical issues caused him grief some years back. He is now the one who “auditions” the doctors with kindness and knowledge and mostly it has worked out.
Power imbalance sucks and yes, I have been parented in the 1950s & 60s. Know it well.
Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week the optional prompt is 18/51 Taking Stock #2 4.5.2020. Hope to see you there too. Denyse
It must be such a hard thing to be aware of, let alone manage, in a position of seniority in these situations. How do you even learn when it’s happening?
I’ve always found that interesting too – as someone who sees people behind closed doors, it has always astounded me that organisations I’ve worked for, use things for KPIs which have nothing to do with what’s actually happening behind that closed door. I’d like to think I’m a good enough therapist but I know some crap colleagues I’ve worked with who do fuck all and I hate to think what they are like with clients behind closed doors. But it doesn’t seem to matter as long as they have the stats (which is based on hours spent on client work) to say they are “doing their job”.
Haha…and teachers behind doors was funny because, I had so many crap teachers growing up and two in particular were especially crap but we would have school inspectors come and observe and you would see that day their teaching was completely different and they actually gave a damn as opposed to just saying to us to read the book and regurgitate. I always used to say they should have surprise inspections so they don’t get to prep and feed bullshit.
Oh don’t get me started on KPIs – I’ve never found them to be anything more than ego stroking for execs!
Random inspections do need to be a thing – I once read in a book about H&S inspections in the US being planned so companies had time to hide the books that recorded actual levels of accidents and bring out the doctored ones to ‘prove’ they are safe.