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. real american genius

    i meant "lady"

    February 16, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Margaret Wells

    She was absolutely correct when she said "the fact remains that every year, more and more, students are coming in less willing to work, to think, to cooperate". As a teacher it felt good to hear somone else in the profession say this publicly. The causes of this are many. I would cite a preoccupation with social media and video games, lack of direction from parents, and a lack of of climate conducive to education in many schools. Many of my students are below the poverty level, parents laregly absent because of work, and have no one at home to encourage them. In addition, there is a narrative common in the media today that teachers ( and therefore education in general) is worthless. We had better get it together here in America. We do not value education or think of it as vital to our survival as a country. It is.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Monjambon

    As a high school teacher, I 100% agree with her assessment that students are less prepared every year, and they care even less. Even worse, because of the instant access to information available at their fingertips, the need to think is their lowest priority. So, yes, as a society, we need to stop and figure out why this is and how to fix our educational system's problem. That said, how can this teacher think anything put on the internet is only for a small group of people? We are supposed to show our kids to think about the consequences before they act, and clearly she did not. If she wants to fix the educational system's problems, complaining on a blog about your students is not the way. I agree with the school board's decision to suspend her, but I think she should be fired. Would you want her teaching your child after this?

    February 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. teacher

    I agree with this teacher, as my wife is an elementary teacher and I teach at a community college. It amazes me how lazy students of all ages are and how they seem to just want all of the answers to be handed to them. Heaven forbid they read a book, do research on their own, or study. I give homework that is word for word out of the text book and somehow the students still can not fill in the blank with the right word. This is just plain laziness and should be addressed. While my wife and I enjoy teaching and passing on our knowledge to the next generation, learning goes beyond the classroom. In grade schools, the responsibility falls on the parents to get involved through meeting with the teachers and working with their kids on homework; not allowing kids to just sit in front of a TV, computer, or video games all of the time. If teachers are not allowed to punish students for misbehaving in class or not turning in assignments, what does the parent expect. Too many times have the teachers been blamed for students not succeeding and most of the time the parents do not consult with the teacher until after it is too late. Parents need to do their job and help their kids succeed. At the college level, students must become responsible for their own actions, not rely on some curve by the professors to get them by. I disagree with curved grades because what does the student learn from this: it is okay to be lazy? Well they need to learn to get off their butt and learn to read, write, and work. Sometimes I wonder if breathing was not automatic if some students would still be alive, as they put no effort whatsoever into learning. Life is not about having fun when in a classroom. So, again this teacher has every right to be frustrated with her students and voice her opinion. Again parents think that their kids are perfect: News Flash: They Aren't!

    February 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. equid0x

    CNN or others abusing the "report abuse" button appear to be censoring postings. I made a constructive comment touching in many points of this article which is largely in disagreement with the common consensus in this forum, and it doesn't appear ever to have been posted. However, wordpress indicated that I have already submitted the response... I am disappointed in CNN's censorship and will likely discontinue visiting this site or viewing their broadcasts on TV.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hannah the student

    I'm a college student in MA. You adults out there would be shocked to see the type of incoming freshmen schools are getting. They're coming to school drunk, (or still drinking) they talk openly over the lecturer, they have no qualms about cheating or plagiarizing. These kids are the result of the teen described in Ms. Munroe's blog. I support her 100% with whatever comments she has to make as long as she makes them on her own time. (like a personal blog) She didn't do this on school property, she did it in her own home. I hope we see more teachers act like her and hold kids and parents accountable.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • carashere

      Clearly you have not read her blog. She did it on school property. Find a cached version and read it, and see if you believe she is any more mature than the students she derides.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. keith

    she speaks the truth, which parents don't want to believe.....too many kids these days are whiney and think they can do what they want. Compared to years past, too many parents do not properly raise their kids to show respect to others....parents don't want to think their kids do any wrong, because they don't see how their kids act. Their kids are gonna act good around them, but when the parents aren't around its another story.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kate

    My son has "optional homework" in his honors Algebra class because the teacher doesn't want to take the time to correct it. What kind of message are you sending kids when you are letting them know you are too lazy to correct their homework? I know there is a way for a teacher to post problems on a website that students can log into from home. The computer can correct their answers and bring a copy of that for the teacher to see. For Gods sake they should at least do that. Know wonder our kids are so stupid in math and science.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. carashere

    I've been a teacher, and this woman is a discredit to the profession. If you think otherwise, you haven't read the full text of her blog entries. She derides students for being quiet and shy, along with the ones that she deems to be unworthy of an education. Find the cached version and read it before you come to her defense. Teaching is a very hard job, and she clearly is not up to it.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Teach2thewall

    You keep complaining about lazy teachers and students, but the politicians believe they have a say in education.
    1. Not every student is going to pass a state test, no matter how good a teacher is.
    2.Teacher must teach students that are violent or insubordinate because they have emotional disabilities and cannot be discriminated against.
    3.All students must graduate in 13 years, including Kindergarten.
    Before people start complaining about teachers not doing their job, think about how the politicians have tied our hands.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. VelveteenLady

    @Steve: you are dead wrong. I am in the process of completing my undergrad education to get my elementary ed teaching license. Currently, I have one bachelor's degree and two Master's degrees. I can honestly tell you that I have NEVER worked as hard on the other degrees as I am working on this one. Until you walk a mile in the shoes of a teacher, especially an elementary ed teacher, you are in no position to comment about their hours, retirement, etc. In my state, and in quite a few others, teachers do not have protection from anything. This is a "right to work" state and teachers can be fired, without protection from unions. We have no active teachers' union in my area. Let me remind you that folks in the private sector would not have those jobs if it weren't for teachers. Teachers are the first to be blamed when schools do not reach their certification goals. They are the ones who have to deal with parents, many of whom don't give a rat's ass about partnering with the school in making their child's school experience a success. They are the ones who listen to things like, "I ain't gotta do what you tell me to do," which is what I hear and experience in the middle school and high school classrooms. Many teachers teach during the summer, or they have summer jobs. Many cannot afford to have summers off. From the Scientific American: "Putting high-quality teachers in the classroom will not eliminate variability among students nor guarantee equally high achievement from all children, but ignoring teachers as a salient contributor to the classroom environment represents a missed opportunity to promote children's potential in school and their success in life." So, Steve . . . go suck an egg.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. docN

    It's amazing how comments can go so off target. there's nothing in this teachers contract that says she can't blog. She has every legal right to voice her personal opinions and shouldn't be held liable by the school system that is afraid of whats PC. Parents and school administrators now will have to answer to the blame that is should not always be with the teachers. It belongs to the parents who have never laid down a foundation for proper achievement and respect. School is more than propagating the child's social network.I hope its not too late.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. carlyn

    I pay my taxes and will always support the public school system. But my children will always attend private schools.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Teacher

    If you have never been a teacher, then you have no idea what it's like. I completely sympathize with her. If you teach kids who could care less about being in school, it's almost impossible to get them to care when mom/stepmom and dad/stepdad don't care enough to be invested in their lives. What you see in schools isn't Hollywood, so stop assuming that every or even most teachers are going to turn around every degenerate's life like Dangerous Minds or Freedom Writers.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob Tickle

    I have been a teacher for over 10 years now. I have noticed a decline in student performance over that time. If this trend continues, our country will be in deep trouble in the near future.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
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