I remember back in high school learning about the phrases, "might makes right" and "power corrupts." I grasped fairly easily the first one, I mean the history books are written by the winners. The second one I always felt skeptical about. And even as we saw some examples of this, I thought surely there are people who, once they found themselves in power, did not succomb to the temptation for corruption. And in my mind, I decided that power only corrupts if you let it. And when I have been in positions of power, either as manager or landlord, I have remained true to my inner belief that every one is just trying to do their best with what they have. And that everyone deserves a minimum of respect. Maybe that makes me stupid.
Now, as I look at all my students and classes I've given over the past five years, I see that power does indeed change people. In fact, the higher the position the person holds, the less likely they are to come to class, do homework and learn from the process. Maybe it's because they have built in respect (being the boss and all) at work and coming to class means giving over the reins of power to me, if only for a couple hours. When you learn a new language, you have to be willing to subject yourself to a certain degree of humiliation, since your worth is measured more by your ability to digest and use new information than it is by your title. Department heads are the worst, and they often show frustration when I point out their errors. (I point them out so they can learn from them!) Usually after two or three classes, they stop coming, refusing to better themselves. (Hey, they're already power brokers, they don't need no stinking pipsqueak teachers.) Give me a class of underlings any day.
So now, sadly, I have to agree, that power does seem to corrupt. It corrupts ones personality.