It’s not merely teacher ego that makes us fill the classroom with ourselves, nor is it fear of the students’ power. It’s administration and system. A room full of enthusiastic voices, of students engaged in behavior that isn’t clearly and distinctly and industriously productive, of ‘off-task’ activity, is a room upon which the teacher is judged negatively. Teachers are not accountable to their students, they are accountable to the system, and the system demands obedience, immediately visible productivity, and vigilant, unceasing measurement.
Students actually want a strong teacher in the room, but they want one who listens to them closely enough to know what it is they need to learn. They want to respect a teacher whose authority is earned by knowledge of the subject and skill at the craft of teaching it, not fear.