Last night I went to a dinner with a distinguished speaker, an emeritus professor, who began by talking about past mentors in his field. One of these leaders is memorialized by a statue of him at a chalkboard because he was such an “amazing teacher.” The floor of the statue around him is littered with dimes.
Why? Because when a student, resident, or other trainee answered a question wrong, he would hand them a dime and tell them to call their mother because she was the only one who would love them now.
What an asshole! Instead of being a real teacher who allows trainees to make mistakes and learn from them, he humiliated them in public. And someone felt a statue to lionize this behavior was in order?
Too many of academic medicine’s “elder statesmen” laud the “tough love” of the good old days. Just because some of us survived and thrived under such conditions does not mean they were good for us. I wonder about learners who looked to other fields of work because they were too stupid to follow in this “great man’s footsteps.”
Teachers should have respect for their learners. Public denigration is never the answer. You can correct an answer without humiliation.