It’s important for a student to know the difference between a difficult teacher and an abusive one. Often the two are confused. Sometimes they both exist in the same person, which is even more complicated.
A difficult teacher has high expectations which may not meet your image of yourself as a learner. A good difficult teacher will give you the tools you need to meet their goals, or at least exceed your own. Even a poor difficult teacher will provide you high standards of excellence in what they know and present on which to model your performance. Ultimately you avoid making excuses, do the best you can, and let the rest go.
An abusive teacher has no interest in your success. They are frequently interested in maintaining their image of themselves as master, either of their material or of you, and anything you do to threaten that image will be punished. Questioning their knowledge or their methods may result in some kind of repercussions that could ultimately damage you.
Contributor: Adam Cole, A Jazz Musician Who Writes Books at acole