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. Fiona

    She put it on her blog...on the Internet...but she thought it wasn't going to be accessible to everyone? And she's a teacher? Wow. Those poor kids.

    February 17, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. Thell

    There's enough speeches of grandeur spoiling this kids. Times they heard the cold hard truth. Study and work hard. You can whine all you want when you get home. Give this woman her job back.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Maria

    Oh, please people.....she should be fired as anyone in private sector would be for airing dirty laundry in public. After all isn`t it her job to motivate these young people. Parents do the best they can, period. Has no one ever been challenged by life while being a parent. My whiney X taught & used to come come home saying he was tired of kids all day after teaching & had nothing more to give. TFB its life....you chose your profession & are paid well. Stop whining. If I complained on line my employer would fire me, esp. if my job was to motivate young people. Shame is that shes suspended with pay! Grow up, so you can raise the child you carry w/ intelligence & dignaty.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Lstrm

      I'll grant you that when a teacher is chronically fed up with their job, it is time to move on.

      It is not the teacher's job to motivate. The general education teacher's job is to instruct in their areas of expertise. The creation of inspiring lessons vs dull ones is one area that separates the gifted instructor from the average instructor. Having said that, due to No Child Left Behind, most curricula are based on scripted programs these days. We are moving toward a national set of standards. A standardized curricula won't be far behind. These boxed sets lend themselves to about as much inspiration and creativeness as a TV dinner.

      Motivation to learn, along with readiness to learn, come from families. Like obscenity, you may have trouble defining it as it presents differently in individuals. I guarantee you'll recognize it when you see it though.

      February 17, 2011 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. relyself

    THE FOLLOWING COMMENT IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM - 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. NO, IT'S NOT HER JOB TO TEACH MORALS AND COMMON SENSE AND PROpER BEHAVIOR -THAT'S YOUR JOB AS A PARENT ¨!!! HER JOB IS EDUCATE, AND YOU CANNOT EDUATE SOMEONE WHO IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION. PARENTS WAKE UP !!!!!! do YOUR job first before they get to school !!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. Unpopular

    These comments won't be popular, but this mob mentality has inspired me to speak up.
    First, I support the free speech rights of the teacher to the extent the blog was fairly anonymous and not identifying specific students. Not sure it will help her with her students, by the way. The relationship between teacher and student is a big part of the success of education.
    Second, do we realize we are talking about human beings here? These are kids.
    Third, do we give up on kids if their parents are a dysfunctional mess. We can rant about parents doing a poor job, but what is the solution? To throw away the kids who had no choice in the parents that they got? Kids with bad parents need more help, not less. Otherwise we end up with adults who have less to contribute to our society. This isn't about expecting someone else do the work, it's about acknowledging that we are somewhat interdependent in this world.
    Fourth, don't the kids simply reflect the same mix that we see around us in adults? There are people who are caring, responsible and intelligent, and people who are mean, lazy and not so smart, and every variation between these extremes. Kids are going to reflect a similar mixture of people. But worse because they really are still developing–their brains are biologically still developing capacity for judgment. What are we teaching them by our own nasty behavior? To be held accountable or to feel like being mean, self-centered people is the expectation in our society?
    By the way, has anyone ever heard of the biological bases for certain types of mental illness? Parenting doesn't explain everything.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      I am pretty sure we are not talking about the type of kid you were. Did you ever spit on a teacher, tell her F***k you , you stupid b***h, or I am going to punch you in the face. We are talking about down right disrepect and violence. For every kid that comes from a bad home life and makes the wrong decisions there is one that comes to school and is respectful and tries.

      February 17, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Unpopular

      I was not that type of student, but I do have worked with kids who do all of those things, including kids in the foster care system. Not naive, but believe we have to work with what we have in the schools instead of getting rageful.

      February 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Randy

    I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for teachers in this situation. Are kids bratty and whiny and a pain in the behind? Well, duh. They're kids. This isn't The Waltons, the days of John Boy and the gang running around all prim and proper are over. Realize this: Yes, it is a parent's job to raise a child and take care of the ground work before the educatin' gets underway, but it's a teacher's job to be tolerant, patient and understanding. It may not be written in the job description, but teachers have to know what they're getting into when choosing to take that career path. It'd be like if a football player cried out because another guy trash talked him on the field. It's part of the game, suck it up and appreciate the fact that you're employed and someone's tertiary role model, right after mom and dad.

    What? Oh, yeah, that's right, teachers are role models! Get that. When I was a child, I didn't really have parents in my life. Mom and dad, they worked all day, and the grandparents who ended up watching me were hard to connect with. I looked up to my grandmother, but only as much as a little boy can possibly look up to a 65-year-old woman. So more often than not, I would form a connection with my teacher. I was kind of annoying and needy as a kiddo, but I appreciated every single second I was with a teacher, because I so looked up to them. They were smart, punctual, very friendly - all things I needed my parents to be, but they couldn't be, as they were working most of the day.

    Some kids need that teacher in their life to be a role model. And if that kid happens to be annoying or a little misguided, please, don't take it out on him or her; take it out on yourself, maybe, for taking a job you know you can't handle. Yelling at a kid or taking out your own frustrations on someone whose brain isn't fully developed, it's just unfair. Had a teacher yelled at me or made these types of comments, I don't know what I'd have done. I'd be a little ticked, for one. And I guess I'd be looking for a new role model.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • jy

      Maybe teaching should be outsourced to china and then you would know the importance of teachers in America. Teachers are humans who undergo vigorous training to get a degree to come and teach. You can teach a 'student' (look for its meaning in dictionary). But you cannot teach a ' reluctant human being' who comes to do everything except study at the school or college. First question that needs to be asked in an admission process is if a person enrolling ihas any interest in studies if not they need not waste teachers time. This is a country that expects infants and toddlers to behave properly but allow thei teenagers to go out of control.

      February 17, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. Boinking Bill

    This woman is a dingbat. She has always been fat, even before she was pregnant. Fat people are lazy people, she is lazy. The reason that the students do not respect her is that she is a horrible teacher. She is only a teacher because of the teachers union. She should have been fired a long time ago.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    ok

    February 17, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. La Vita E Bella

    The way things are in this country, in our schools, I would not be a teacher for any amount of money. This teacher has the right to say what she feels. BUT, when you do that in a public forum, especially something of this nature, it will come back to haunt you. You see it on T.V. every day where some politician, actor, news reporter, athlete says something and then they have to apologize for weeks. They get suspended, chastised, fired. Natalie obviously isn't very bright or she would have known this. Everything I have read that she said is the truth. Kids are uncontrollable. They are rude, obnoxious, they talk filthy, think they know everything, care about nothing but themselves, they think we owe them. I could go on and on. With no discipline in our school systems, they get worse by the year. BUT, Natalie is now suffering for her stupidity of posting something on the internet. She has no one to blame but herself. What she should have done was video tape her class and POST that. The proof is in the video. She would have never had to say a word. Let the video speak for itself.

    February 17, 2011 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. KC

    IN RESPONSE TO CYNTHIA ABOVE. You state that homeschooling can prevent participation in extra curricular areas of the public school environment. My children both attend a public school in which I work. Their school does not have the funding for any extra curricular activites that which you mentioned. They consider them clubs that the rec dept handles and can be joined by anyone withing the county. The school does not have enough books for each student, they have a single classroom copy of their social studies book that the teacher makes copies of so they have a study guide. They have cut recess/break to a 15 minute block before lunch. They must pay to use a locker. If they are riding a bus , the bus has a mix of K-12 students. The homeschooling co ops in my area offer vast oppportunites that used to be within the school system , but with budget cuts and test grades making the difference in those – they can no longer afford them. They meet weekly , have tutors available, and go on monthly field trips together. The universities around here have "homeschool days" in which they open up campus to homeschoolers and have activities and hands on learning stations for all age groups . They allow the older students to use the labs and darkrooms and such. These are attended by hundreds if not more homeschooled children everytime they open their doors. It used to be that children whom attended private schools were thought as "snobs" as you say , and I'm sure you align your thoughts with this stigma too. To dismis homeschooling as a viable option for education because of the claim that the socialization / interaction aspect of a public school environment remains steady – is unfounded and misinformed at best. I would rather have a smart "snob" then a stupid sociable individual , and really , does it matter what means of education you use to get there?

    February 17, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dr Bill Toth

    I think it's great that this woman's comments engage the public in a discussion of parents, parenting, teaching, and teachers. As parents/teachers we are either an example or a warning to our children. Live with Intention, DrBillToth.com/blog

    February 17, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Highschool Student

    From my perspective, being a senior in high school, we are lazy and we whine for every little thing. The worse are freshman (just getting in) and seniors (wanting to leave already) everywhere in between are used to the torture. In my English IV honors class, when the teacher assigns an essay we all complain on how we don't need it and can we do something else. Natalie is correct about us being rude, lazy, and whiners.

    February 17, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. joe

    anyone working in an office with a modernday college grad knows what this lady is talking about. Colleges today turn out complete losers who need some one to watch them with cameras all day long, and wipe their behinds too.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kara

    The biggest problem with school age children is their parents. I work with these 30 somthings and they behave the same way as this teacher described her students.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. randaxe

    Students are getting dumber and dumber. Its pathetic how they think its "cool". The reason other countries are performing so much better in education is discipline. Nowadays a teacher will get sued for any action they may take upon a student. I'm not saying to beat these kids but I do request more stringent action to ensure these kids have a bright future.

    February 17, 2011 at 9:51 am | 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