Blog post on how power corrupts when the person wielding it is in a low status position (as teachers are in this country)
To elaborate on my point about teachers: Teachers in most traditional schools are given almost complete power over the moment-to-moment lives of children and teenagers and then paid little, blamed for all manner of social problems, and generally disrespected. There are going to be some exemplary human beings who fill the role with honor and grace, but the overwhelming situational forces are constantly working against them. Most will burn out and leave or succumb to the ever present little tiny compromises that eventually lead them into acting in ways they would never have imagined when they first set their heart on helping children to learn.
[Thanks to the Situationist Blog for sharing insights from the research literature!]