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."

Post by:
Filed under: Education • Pennsylvania • Technology
soundoff (684 Responses)
  1. An Different Take

    I keep reading these comments, and I am suprised by the number of people that actually give this woman support. As an educator myself, I think she was out of line. She is a professional, an should conduct herself as a professional whenever in the view of her students. I agree that her students are most likely lazy train wrecks, but she doesn't need to come forward with negative comments directed toward her kids. A teacher once indirectly singled me out. Didn't help me one bit. It just made me resent the man. If the truth be told. If she doesn't like teaching, and feels burned out, maybe she should get out. There are plenty of unemployed educators that would love to take her spot.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • woofka

      She did NOT come forward. She was writing on what she thought was a private blog to her friends. Everyone has the right to "vent" in private. It is what keeps us sane and prevents the burn out you refer to.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • bandit

      One problem is teachers like you. Look over your wrong use of words ("and", not "an") and your poor sentence structure and fragments. Even your punctuation is wrong. Thank goodness I didn't have you for English. Wait, maybe I should have!

      February 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I can agree with you that it might seem unprofessional, but you invalidated your moral high ground when you yourself wrote that they are "most likely lazy train wrecks". The only difference is that you can't be tracked down to be criticized.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fatty Teachers Defeding Other Fatty Teachers Who Don't Know English

      Qualifications Needed To Teach:
      ...
      ...
      ...

      February 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kabra

      Teachers have no right to complain about students if they cannot write a properly worded and punctuated sentence.

      February 17, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • TIiredTeacher

      50% of all teacher quit in the first three years. There really isn't a big long line of teachers waiting to get in. . . there's a longer line waiting to get out! I try to keep my composure in class and around the school, but I am tired, frustrated, and an emotional mess around my family. The kids are ridiculous, the standards make no sense, and I have no power or authority over anything. I picked the wrong profession and I regret it every day. Say what you want about me, but come June 2nd I'm going to spent real time with my kids after work and have a decent relationship with my wife. I'm not going to a martyr for every admin above me and every student under my care . . . ANY MORE.

      February 17, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Smitha

      First all that was really immature writing that she is "fat." Weight is a sensitive issue for many individuals and highlighting that is what leads many people into having eating disorders in an effort to fit someone else's expectations of them.

      Now to the issue
      I teach high school Biology. I agree that every teacher has the right to vent about their job. However, the way she did it wasn't correct. Apparently anyone can get access to her blog and now her students really know what she thinks about them and how she feels about her job. People don't realize how transparent the internet makes them. They think they can post some pics on facebook of them partying at the club while on sick leave for depression and the health insurance company won't pick up on it. Come on people, call a trustworthy friend (as long as she won't sell you out like LInda Tripp), don't leave permanent stuff on the net for someone else to find.

      Secondly, I'm sure she probably didn't mean those comments. I think as teachers we all go through those days where you wonder if you ever reaching anyone and we say things we don't mean. Think of all the times we told our spouses, "we can't stand them," didn't mean it, said it in a fit of rage.

      Third, after reading these blogs I'm worried about our teachers. I've always taught in inner public schools. The school has to develop a well structured discipline plan and all the teachers have to comply to a behavioral matrix. Teachers have to utilize best practices and proven instructional models to improve teaching. There are plenty of low income schools that principals have come and worked with teachers and have made them high achieving schools despite the odds. Research them, search for the articles on proquest. Unfortunately none of those principals played basketball with Obama.

      I also agree that we are really trying hard to pass everyone and watering down things. RTI is confusing also.
      I'm not a tiger mother but we need to raise the bar because we're creating false self-esteem and not competence in our students.

      Finally I'm closing with that story about the guy you find on the beach throwing the marooned starfish back into the water. Someone comes up to him and says, "What are you doing? You can't save them all." The guy looks back at him holding one starfish and says, "but it matters to this one."

      February 17, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      A "private blog". Wow, it surprises me at how niave and just plain stupid some educators are. Her blog does not have password protection for people visiting to read the darn thing. This means it is NOT private. If a website, blog, or social network page is viewable publicly to anyone who can find it on a Google search, it is NOT in ANY way shape or form private. If she wanted it to be private, she could have set it so that users would have to input a password, given to them by her, in order to see the blog posts. She did not do that. That means it was a public blog, and any consequences that come from her posting on said public blog are her responsibility.

      Workers in EVERY other industry in the country can be fired for what they post online, and virtually ALL major corporations monitor the social network pages, blogs, etc. of employees. A teacher should be no different.

      It is very sad that, when it comes to the Internet, some teachers have the mentality of a 13-year-old girl. My point is, just like a 13-year-old girl should use her brain before giving some random guy in a chat room her personal information, teachers should think before they post. As should everybody.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Damn typos... naive not niave.

      February 17, 2011 at 3:00 am | Report abuse |
    • KC

      Are you delusional? NOTHING on the internet is private! She chose to make statements and is standing behind them. Doesn't matter if she is wrong or right. Expectation of privacy does not prevail on the world wide web.

      February 17, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Vclemo

    I think we need to start a blog on whiny parents also. I am a strict parent and I expect nothing less than a B on my kids' papers. I have had my share of problems with one of my kids, therefore you cannot blame everything on parents. I think kids today are very selfish and self absorbed. They do not think they should have to be the least bit responsible and many parents think just like their kids.

    This teacher is only telling the truth. It is not the teacher's responsibility to teach these kids responsibility. Their job is to teach academics and the its up to the parent's responsibility to teach morals, values, and responsibility.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • why not an A

      Why not nothing less than an 'A' or is that too much to ask?

      February 17, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Honor480

    So what's the problem? She said some kids are whiny, rude, etc. etc. Sounds pretty accurate to me. A lot of kids are like that in today's schools. The disappointing thing is teachers can't say that to their faces because they might hurt their self-esteem.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Internet Warrior

    A Whiny teacher, with a weight problem, whining about whiny kids...

    February 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • dx2718

      I appreciate your alliteration, but she does not have a "weight problem." She is pregnant.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • She Not Fat, She Beautiful and Intelligent

      You can look at that monstrosity in the photo and tell me she not fat?

      February 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Apple

      Internet warrior you must be an idiot. You're making a comment about an pregnant women's weight? Obviously, your parent's fail in teaching you respect.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Internet Warrior's Armed Personal Guard of Ninja (Not Fat) Women

      She's having retarded twins

      February 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merely Amused

      And someone else felt the need to call her a "monstrosity" because she is pregnant... O_o

      February 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. junior

    As I am writing this response my wife is in her room going over her subject matter for tomorrow's classes ( 130 kids) she had a meeting with a parent today of a child caught running in the hallway and when confronted was told to ***k y*u and nothing came of it the parent just says it was wrong but then just tells the child not to do it again this is just a tip of what goes on it may just be one child but that child interrupts the class and prevents the other students from learning that one child in each class can just mess your day up the teachers who care suffer at home as they are stressed about their jobs and the students performance. Also private schools do not tolerate the behavior of bad kids especially when the parents are paying but public schools have to put up with it.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Team I Eat Too Much To Ease The Pain Of Whiny Kids

    I'm pregnant

    February 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rebecca

    Good for her! I understand where she's coming from.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm sure you know exactly where she's coming from

      the fridge to da couch

      February 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ms. Michigan

    It is amazing how students (college) can go out to ratemyprofessor.com and degrade an instructor and actually identify them by name and that is okay but oh when an instructor puts out information on a blog and writes about students in general it seems to be wrong. I can understand exactly where this instructor is coming from; the students I see in college are totally unprepared, rude, and lazy. The most important thing to them is checking their cell phone and texting during class. I have been called every name in the book and I am so astounded at how ignorant they are when it comes to general knowledge – many cannot not write a complete sentence and many have no clue what a noun is (I am certain they still teach that in elementary school). Let's keep cutting funding for education, let's keep blaming the instructors for not producing well-rounded, intelligent individuals because isn't that what we do here in the United States is blame everyone else for our difficulties, it is a lot easier than taking responsibility for them.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Justin H

    The dust-up over this issue illustrates exactly what is wrong with our education system and society. Everyone has become so hypersensitive to criticism that no one is allowed to actually address the problems. As someone who works with teenagers in a business setting, I can 100% agree that many tend to be lazy and whiny. And there is no sense of accountability when they get caught doing something wrong.

    Remember that old proverb, "I takes a whole village to raise a child". In our society, children are often being "raised" by the TV, the Internet, and video games. It has become taboo to give a kid a "kick in the butt".

    February 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • kaye

      Justin, I so agree with you!!!! Even in the military, which is one of my careers, the lack of respect and the thought of "someone should just hand what I want, when I want it" demonstrated by some of the individuals are insane!! My fiancee's daughter is a teacher in a magnet school in the city and it is amazing to hear her stories, about the good and the bad kids. I'm a nurse and see very similar behavior in many adults, so it's not just the kids.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. I Can't Chase The Kids Running Down The Hall

    My Kankles and Bunions! Huff huff huff

    February 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Teacher Mass

    There is a disconnect on this blog between people who are teachers or who have taught in the past, and people who haven't.

    The comments from people who haven't taught are correct inasmuch as they reflect ideals that we all should strive for. Who doesn't agree that students, or any group of people, should be treated with respect?

    However, the reality of our society and our schools is somewhat different, as anyone who has been a teacher can attest to. Many students are rude, ill-behaved, disengaged, insolent, threatening, or worse. In two schools I have taught in the vast majority of students were that way. Fellow teachers even used prison language in some cases, talking about working on the "inside" and so on. In my current school, a lesser number of students are that way, but it still is almost impossible to carry on a reasonable amount of classroom instruction with certain groups of kids.

    We should have some sort of national service, two years in the army or two years as a teacher, take your pick. At the very least, you would hear fewer silly comments about what teachers "should" do from people who have no experience whatsoever in an educational setting.

    The people who relentlessly attack teachers have their own issues to work out. Sometimes I find that parents who defend awful kids are vicariously fighting their own high school battles, from many years ago. Maybe the teacher attackers are the same way.

    To the people who have an issue with teacher pay and benefits, why not get a job as a teacher? It's easy enough for me to criticize the salary and benefits of a garbageman, but when all is said and done, I would never apply for a job as a garbageman, so I keep my mouth shut. How about you, teacher-haters? Why aren't you signing up for these wonderful, easy, high-paying jobs? They're looking for people in lots of inner-city schools.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • TIiredTeacher

      I'm putting in my two years. . . but honestly, I can't hack it anymore. Good luck to you.

      February 16, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dx2718

    Whatever happened to freedom of speech? I say rock on, Natalie, and show the world what an awesome kid you can bring up, just to prove that it can be done!

    February 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soulcatcher

      Sadly free speech doesn't apply to a classroom or public employment.

      February 17, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. Team She's Never Going To Teach Again For Having an Opinion

    Thank god, cause her opinion blows. I'm sure the preggo fatty will raise her aborted fetus just right.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Leslie

    I would not be a bit surprised if all of the people who are so upset and disgusted by this teacher are parents of kids just like the ones she is complaining about. I am not a teacher nor would I Ever take that job. It is a teachers job to educate our kids not babysit them. it is the PARENTS job to teach discipline and respect! I wouldn't go so far as to say my son would never act like that, but i will say he would never act like that twice.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I'm not a parent, but I'm upset about the comments that the teacher has made. I've taught part-time, and while I was occasionally irritated by the kids' behavior I always made sure to respect them and I NEVER trash-talked them even in a supposedly tongue-in-cheek way. Teaching K-12 students IS hard because it's not even so much about teaching academics as it is about building a relationship with students, which is why I think people who can't realize something as simple as this have no business being educators and probably should consider a career change.

      I think everyone has the right to vent every now and then, but if I were to write about it in a blog I would at least make sure the blog wasn't acceptable to just anyone. College kids have been warned time and again to be careful about the pictures or even the updates they post on Facebook that they wouldn't want (potential) employers to see, and if they get in trouble despite the advice we tend to think, "They have it coming." What is so special about this teacher that people are defending about her "freedom of speech"?

      February 17, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • SweetPeaWV

      Leslie, you said, " I am not a teacher nor would I ever take that job." But the fact of the matter is you did! A wise friend once told me, "A child's first teacher is a parent." I was lucky when I became a single parent of 3 under ten - family, friends, neighbors AND THE SCHOOL supported my efforts; this was my 'village'. Rule #1: There are not many rules, but they MUST be followed. Rule #2: If you get in trouble at school, you're gonna have trouble at home. Rule #3: Inappropriate actions will have consequences. Rule #4: If you LIE about inappropriate actions, there will be SEVERE consequences. "Severe" was defined as being accompanied AT ALL TIMES by either a family member or a trusted adult, aka: friend, neighbor or teacher - ergo, the support. I dropped them off at college with the final 'speech': You have the tools. We've done everything we can to prepare you. It's up to you." I didn't cry (and secretly celebrated!) The result? One drop-out. Two masters degrees (both in education). Long term prognosis? The drop-out is struggling. The teachers will likely end up in other fields; they are STUNNED at the lack of integrety / respect /drive / DESIRE their students demonstrate. But after meeting the parent(s), they understand. After all, this was their first teacher.

      February 17, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. fullerton

    Let public schools kick out bad lazy kids like private schools can and we'll see how involved parents get! Bad parents of bad kids having to scramble around town to find someone to take their 'little angel' will start to change things. We also need to tear down the administrator bureacracy that does everything it can to undermine academic standards and behavior so that they can keep their huge salaries thriving. There are school administrators covering up on campus assaults and drug possessions just so the school district won't end up on the news. School districts operate like the mafia nowadays and teachers need to stand up and fight.

    February 16, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merely Amused

      Having worked in both public and private schools, I promise you the private school kids are no better. As long as Mum and Da are writing the checks, the schools will keep the kids around. The school I worked in my first year out of college was so snooty that it was acceptable for one of the little darlings to announce my (meager) salary to the class and then make fun of me making less than their gardener.

      After dealing with all sorts of teachers and schools (general, magnet, public and private), I'm "unschooling" my child.

      February 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26