Teacher Natalie Munroe defends blog comments about 'whiny' students
Teacher Natalie Munroe says her blog posts griping about students were not meant for public consumption.
February 16th, 2011
05:07 PM ET

Teacher Natalie Munroe defends blog comments about 'whiny' students

A Pennsylvania English teacher who called her high school students "rude, lazy, disengaged whiners" on her personal blog is standing by her comments after being suspended from her position over the controversy.

"I'm sorry it was taken out of context but I stand by what I said," Natalie Munroe told ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday.

The 30-year-old expecting mother said she wrote the posts on natalieshandbasket under the name Natalie M. with the intention that only friends would read the blog. The posts are no longer available on the blog but searchable in a cached version of the site.

"I was writing it not about anyone specific. They were caricatures of students that I've had over the years, things that I would say if we weren't limited in the canned comments that we're allowed to write. And again, it was partially meant tongue in cheek for me and my friends."

In several posts between August 2009 and November 2010, Munroe vented her frustrations - and shared a few positive experiences - with students she found to be "out of control" and lacking "honor and good moral character."

She has been suspended with pay, and her lawyer said she is waiting to see how the school will proceed before deciding whether to take legal action.

"It was not meant for everybody to see but if it's going to get out there, maybe it'll start a conversation that needs to be had," Munroe told ABC.

And boy, did it ever. The subject has topped Google trends and Twitter for the past two days, sparking heated discussions online and in real life over whether Munroe was out of line.

"Her comments about her students may or may not be on point. But as an educator, isn't*** her JOB to get through to these problem students and put them on the right educational track?" said one commenter on PhillyBurbs.com, the hometown newspaper of Bucks County, where Munroe teaches.

"To me, it seems as if Ms. Munroe is more preoccupied with complaining about her students than she is educating them. Her 'canned comments' look like something an eighth-grader would come up with. It's not helpful to anyone, and just illustrates how ineffective she must be as a teacher."

The controversy has also generated discussion on the timeless topic of what's up with kids today, anyway?

"She is 100% correct. There is no way she should lose her job," a Huffington Post commenter said. "When will we start holding parents accountabl­e? Perhaps if we make it a crime - a form of child abuse - to send a child to school unprepared, perhaps parents will become more engaged. If parents are fined for their child's behavior, maybe it'll knock some sense into both parents and child. I've taught in public schools and let me tell you it is hell for the teacher and any kid that really wants to learn," a Huffington Post commenter wrote.

As the controversy grew over the weekend, Munroe wrote a post titled, "Where are we going & why are we in this handbasket," lamenting that the public had latched "onto pieces of what I wrote without A. knowing any back story, and B. knowing the whole story."

She also noted that of 84 blog posts, 60 of them had nothing to do with school and work.

"Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, I didn't - and don't - feel negatively toward all students. As I mentioned in another blog that nobody chooses to talk about, there were delightful students in school, too. I fondly discussed some wonderful students who shined in the school's Jazz and Poetry Festival, and I even said that I was proud to be part of the school at events like that," she wrote.

"But the fact remains that every year, more and more, students are coming in less willing to work, to think, to cooperate. These are the students I was complaining about in my blog. The same way millions of Americans go home at the end of the day and complain about select co-workers or clients or other jerks they had to deal with, I came home and complained on my blog about those I had to deal with."

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Filed under: Education • Pennsylvania • Technology
soundoff (684 Responses)
  1. Mark Yelka

    http://www.geographic.org/country_ranks/educational_score_performance_country_ranks_2009_oecd.html

    Yes, Americans now are officially stupid.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jameson

    You know what my parents did when I told them I got disciplined by my teacher in 5th grade?

    II got beaten! YES! you read right! instead of complaining to the principal or filing lawsuits I actually got beaten when I told my parents they disciplined me in school!

    My siblings and I all grew up to become decent productive members of society!!! but you bet ya behind I never told my parents I misbehaved and got whacked in school ever again!

    February 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Terry - Indiana

    If you want to know where whiny students get it from, attend a parent teacher meeting and listen to the whiny parents. It is like fingernails on a blackboard.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    The teacher is absolutely correct. Students care about nothing, parents can't make one meeting a year, never return phone calls and when it hits the fan, blames the teacher for everything. There is no disgrace or embarrassment for failure, ignorance or stupidity. Isn't it funny how the students with involved parents do well and those with uninvolved parents flounder and fail? Should the teacher be suspended? The teacher should be given a medal and the parents should be put on notice.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    I agree with Ms. M... Kids today are total brats. Parents do not parent anymore, they simply breed this spawn and then unleash it upon the school system and expect someone else to do the job they should be doing as parents.

    We need to go back to the days of corporal punishment. I remember thinking twice about being a distraction. While the urge to be a goof grew, the thought of 10 whacks with a 1" thick wooden paddle would clam me up, at least until lunch or end of the day.

    Bring it back, and watch how fast these little brats shape up

    February 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rikki

    I think its time for all to remove their heads from their bums. Some kids are whiny with horrible behavior.(more so these days in my opinion) There are bad teachers. Just like any other profession in the world, some just aren't cut out for that kind of work, or some are just in it for the money. How does this crap even make it to the news page?

    February 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. twigal0513

    I work in an elementary school. Yesterday, a fifth grade student turned in a paper that was too messy to read. The teacher sent it home as homework last night. Guess what happened. The parent disagreed that the paper was messy and prevented the child from re-writing the paper. This morning, the parent called the school and complained about the teacher and the assignment. Guess what the child learned. The child learned that he/she doesn't have to do anything the teacher tells him/her to do. Also, guess what the child shared with all of his/her little friends. Now, they're all wondering if they have to do what the teacher tells them to do.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    I just can't imagine that all her students behave like this. If her students all behave like this she must really focus on a new method of teaching. All children learn in different ways and the teacher needs to make it interesting and motivate as many as she can. Most teenagers will give you the respect if they feel respected and I do not care where you live or what level of income you come from. Many teenagers are going through so many changes and are expected to behave like adults but yet if you are raising teenagers we understand that they are still children. I was a teacher for years in one of the top public school districts... great experience, great kids, and yes you have a few parents that just can't imagine their child doing any wrong. I also had a few children that yes could be rude at times but as a teacher I found a way to get to know them found out about their interest. When you build that relationship between parent/student/teacher you will get all the support you need. I also have three teens now and trying to get them to do homework every night or take school seriously is a never ending job. I can see where a teacher could say one of my kids is lazy not motivated etc. of course they are teens they might not care about Chemistry... whatever.. teens are like that at times. Teens are really into friends, social events, trying to find their way in the world. I can say when I saw this teacher on the news today I am SO GLAD she is not my childrens teacher. She does not like children, does not care about their feelings and does not deserve their respect. The school district should fire her! She is rude, a whiner and does not have a good understanding about teens... Freedom of speech I understand but what about the children do they also have the same freedom of speech? A teacher is suppose to set the example she is a bully. BULLY I thought we were trying to teach our children not to bully others. This teacher is putting down the children by saying things about getting a job at the trash company down the street. What would happen if the president of the United States said all the people in Kansas were lazy, rude, disrespectful etc. get the point some things are just not OK to say! I hope when her baby is born and it is in a day care while she is at work that who ever is caring for her baby takes good care of her baby. I hope the day care worker loves her baby with their whole heart.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Granite Sentry

    Finally, a teacher I can admire. Way to go Nat! And way to stand your ground and not go running off to rehab or something. If there's any species of life that is more full of itself and insufferable than a teenager I can't imagine what it would be, aside from viruses. Glad you put a few of them in their place; it's an experience that will do them more good than harm, though it may take a while for them to realize it. http://www.granitesentry.com

    February 16, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. guitarharry

    I emphathize with this teacher. I am a former high school teacher and I had to quit because I could not teach the students anymore; they are too distracted and their parents do not care if they learn or not. Most students these days are exactly the way she describes them. Sorry parents, but it's the truth. If students would spend as much time reading books and employing their minds in something productive as they do obsessing over their social connections and having fun with their video games and TV, we would not be facing the huge problems we do in education. This teacher was just saying out loud what most teacher already know; America has become a second-class country and it is getting worse. Solutions? If schools do not completely ban all cell-phone usage within the school building during class hours, this problem will only get worse. Teenagers do not have the discipline to put the thing away and learn something. It's not the teachers' fault: that lies fully on the shoulders of the indulgent parents and their lazy, self-obsessed offspring.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ....

    I myself am a high school student, and I obviously know that it is difficult for teachers to put up with certain students, but if you don't enjoy doing what you do and you complain all of the time about your job, then that is obviously not what profession you should be in.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. brown

    Sounds like she is telling the way it is and the PC crowd is offended by the truth! You go girl ... it needs to be said!

    February 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Teacher

    We should run schools as a business, but for financial reasons, we cant and teachers get the shaft. In any business, these kids would be fired and not allowed to attend classes for their poor behavior, but since the schools only get paid if kids attend school, the teacher gets screwed with these worthless kids that dont want to be in class. There is nowhere to send disciplinary problems, as the principle simply states, "Deal with Them" Parents dont want them at home, and always place blame on the teachers or schools, and are quick to file suit. It comes down to babysitting 40 percent of the class, teaching to 45 percent of the class, and trying to teach one on one to the other 15 percent with special needs. All for NOT ENOUGH Money!

    I wish all teachers would complain, then maybe they might get some help with these little flat spare tire kids. Yes, they are worthless. The world needs ditch diggers too.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dee Smith

    There was a time in our country when education was considered a privilege, not a right. Schools were local, teachers had to be certified on an annual basis, there was no such thing as "collective bargaining", and taxes did not go to support the schools – the local communities built and oversaw them. Children were admonished by their parents to sit down, shut up and learn the material, because that was their job – to learn. Families provided the school materials for their children – this included text books.

    How far we have fallen. No wonder teachers sometimes feel the need to complain. I doff my hat to all of you. Between having to teach to pass exams (rather than teaching to master the subject), to dealing with disrespectful administrators, parents and students, you are much braver than I. You have taken on what probably often seems an insurmountable task.

    Lay off the lady. This is a tempest in a teapot. She has a right to her opinion and I admire her for standing by what she wrote. She merely verbalized the dirty little secret that many educators, parents and students already know: the system is broken and sorely needs to be fixed.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. oakrode

    I am a teacher and she is so right! I tell my students when they are lazy. People are way to touchy. I have a daughter and if her teacher said she was being lazy- he/she would probably be correct. Teachers spend more time engaged with peoples children each day than most parents.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
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