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So my prof used intimidation tactics on me in class tonight

Discussion in 'Rants, Musings and Ideas' started by Athnys, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Athnys

    Athnys Well-Known Member

    I guess it could be called intimidation. He wasn't yelling, but he raised his voice at me.

    We were reviewing an exam from last week, and the floor was open to questions about the problems in the exam and why certain things on the test were just so. A few others asked questions, and I had a question of my own, so I asked when called upon. My question was why items held on consignment are not considered assets (I'm an accounting major).

    It wasn't because I didn't know the answer to that and that I should have. He didn't challenge me that way. What he did was he raised his voice at me and grilled me about what the journal entry might be for an item held on consignment (since it's not a balance sheet item there wouldn't be one). His posture, tone of voice, and expression were very strong and I was intimidated by it. The professor is one of those business-type people who are highly energetic and always know what to say and have this kind of enthusiasm when dealing with other people that makes them want to deal with him (I guess, since he's told me that I should be more like him and that was one reason why).

    I was in two different mental health clinics when I was in elementary school, and through most of elementary, middle, and high school I was in special education. As an adult I eventually came to realize that the therapists and teachers I had were all training me to become subdued when someone else--like a parent or teacher--raised their voice or used some kind of offensive attitude. I also cannot assert myself to others or speak up for myself or question anything without feeling like I'm going to be slapped or yelled at (or told to leave in a classroom setting), and while I doubt most people would hit me, I can't imagine being anything but subdued if I was yelled at. I don't know if anyone else knows what I mean by this. The way my professor dealt with me felt as if he was hitting all of those submission triggers built into me in special education.

    Fortunately it happened at the end of class, but when I drove home I still felt pretty shaken by it. I don't know what I did or why he did that to me.

    He's also my adviser, and I went to him the week after spring break for career advice, and he all but broke me down there in the hallway outside of his office, telling me that I'm too stiff (I don't know how to un-stiffen, really) and criticizing the way I dress, accusing me of being too negative and unfriendly (he only sees me at class time), not smiling enough, and giving brief answers to questions. He was pleased to tell me all sorts of things that were wrong with me, and all I had done was sought job advice from him, and he made it out like I would not be successful in getting a job at all.
  2. Cariad_Bach

    Cariad_Bach Staff Alumni

    Re: So my prof used intimidation tacticts on me in class tonight

    Oh this sounds really awful. I'm sorry that I don't have any advice to offer you, but it does remind me of a time I felt personally attacked by a teacher.

    I can't remember what I was doing to annoy her - I can remember at the time not knowing what I had done that was so awful, but I just remember her shouting at me right out of the blue, and in front of the whole class, "[my name], I can't decide whether you are deliberately trying to get on my nerves or you are just naturally so annoying".

    It was horrible. I was so shocked I didn't know what to say or do (I was quite young at the time too - maybe 13 or 14, but I was mentally quite young and naiive until my early twenties... and even now I am still sometimes). I cried because it felt so personal and unfair. Not long after, she was telling off a classmate and she said to him "you know I'm only so hard on you because I know you can take it and won't get upset, don't you?" He was really surprised and just sort of nodded, but I was utterly stunned. I didn't know how to handle it or what to think or do. It still bothers me, I guess, because even all these years later, it is still unresolved and I still don't know what I did that was so bad.

    I might suggest that you request transferring to the care of another adviser? Or, possibly, just have it out with him. Later on, when I was more confident and a bit bolshy, I confronted a tutor because I disliked her attitude towards me and the way she spoke about me to the rest of the class when I wasn't there. I did it in private, in her office, and I tried to keep my cool and just be firm because I believed I was in the right. After that, I avoided her and she me, because of what had gone on between us. But the next year I had classes with her, and she and I both accepted and moved on and I held a lot of respect for her. She became one of my favourite tutors and she did a lot to help me.

    I don't know whether either or both of these stories will help you, I just wanted to share. I'm so sorry that your professor was so unfeeling and unprofessional towards you. Good luck.
  3. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    Re: So my prof used intimidation tacticts on me in class tonight

    There seems to be one in every college/uni.

    We had a bully at ours.
    My God did he think he was all that and a bag of chips.
    He was also very fond of hitting on the younger female members.

    He once started in on me because I was ten minutes late (I was a single mother, working and studying) and quite frankly I'd had enough and told him exactly what I thought of his bullying, sexual inuendoes, inability to know when to keep his big mouth shut etc..
    I then walked out to the cheers of my classmates.

    He never bullied me again.

    However, if you don't feel up to that level of confrontation, go and have a word with your student union.
  4. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    Re: So my prof used intimidation tacticts on me in class tonight

    Is it possible that you're misinterpreting things here?

    I have some issues with these kinds of things as well… people being totally jerky to me and then I come home and start punching things wishing I could have just stood up for myself. But then when I see them again they don't even have a clue, and I start to think that maybe I just sort of read that reaction into situations that aren't really like that or where that wasn't the intent. I'm not saying that I doubt you, I'm just saying that it's really hard to get a sense of the situation when we're just hearing your version of it, and again, your mind can play tricks on you with things-- especially when you're obviously uncomfortable with the guy and he does have a degree of power over you.

    Sometimes people are hard on you because others were hard on them or because that's the way they were raised, and in some cases that kind of approach does actually help to give people drive and help to bring them out of their shells… or some people just come off as being really aggressive when they don't mean to be, it's sort of like a habit… maybe he's trying to get you to snap back at him and show him some aggression of your own?

    I seem to remember another thread where you were talking about this same guy and how he was telling you that you had to change… at the time it seemed a lot milder than what you've said here so I just want to say that you should be absolutely sure that you know that this is how he is and not just let your brain tell you things and make up narratives that may make you feel how you want to feel but aren't necessarily true or healthy.
  5. Athnys

    Athnys Well-Known Member

    Re: So my prof used intimidation tacticts on me in class tonight

    Yeah, right along I was wondering whether I was misinterpreting the situation. I had my doubts about that doubt too, since being in class that night felt like I was in special education all over again.

    Last night, however, I talked to a girl in another class, and when she learned that I was in his class, she volunteered that the prof made her lose her interest in and passion for accounting just by the way he teaches and interacts with some of the students. He could sometimes be belligerent in class despite the power-businessman attitude he tries to maintain. This was all before I mentioned the incident to her which I described here before, and when I told her, she said that it was typical of him.

    The time when I had spoken with him was a semi-private circumstance where I asked him for job advice and instead he criticized everything about me.
  6. Wastingecho

    Wastingecho Well-Known Member

    Re: So my prof used intimidation tacticts on me in class tonight

    sucks but some teachers are like that

    was a drama major and senior year required me to take an advanced history of the theater class - instructor was the brand-new department chairperson

    he was short, loud, ego the size of a planet - constantly exclaiming about his work in film (if you see the original version of George Romero's "the crazies", he's the scientist with arms at different length that ends up falling down a flight of stairs - that's it)

    he would walk into class, start his tape recorder and read his notes very quickly - far too quickly for anyone to take their own effective notes - he was really just getting it down on tape to take to a transcriptionist so that they could be turned into a book - he had no true regard for the students in the class at all