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. Granite Sentry

    Quite a contrast between Natalie Munroe and the yahoo teachers in Wisconsin. A post on it at http://www.granitesentry.com.

    February 18, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. moebius

    HOW did she expect her blog NOT to be read by the public??? That shows how clueless she is about the internet!!

    February 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Carmen

    Dude. She has the right of free speech and she didn't target any individual students to humiliate. Leave her the f*** alone and let her get back to her job. And don't let that Huffington post commentator anywhere near any laws either. It's "child abuse" to have a kid who is bored in school? Parents can ALSO be doing everything they can and wind up with a kid who doesn't give a flying flip about school. There are also parents who are abusive who produce kids who go to school and work their *** off. Let's encourage some personal responsibility out of the kids too. Isn't that the whole problem to begin with?

    February 19, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Catherine

    To all,
    MUST SEE!!!! Richard confronts Mandy and gang.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbhnRuJBHLs&w=640&h=390]

    February 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Venetta Smith

    You know what I like to see. I want to see public schools shut down. Yes, it will save government billions of dollars. But, that means parents everywhere has to pay for private schools. Think about this. What will these private schools with former public school teachers charge to educate your kids? If a doctor, lawyer and dentist can charge you $195 for 20 minutes of service, then so can a teacher in private practice. Remember, no government regulations are allowed.

    February 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alberto Flores

    The real problem here is the hypocracy of the society that is willing to hide the problems people face in the educative system. I believe she is describing a situation that reflects what goes around in classrooms due to lack of parents´s involvement in the education of the children, which is at the same time caused by a system where people don´t have enough time because of their working activities and the stress most face in the dynamics of the society. How about the means of communication? Why don´t they say much about it? Isn´t it logical to think that kids are getting the wrong messages from the internet, the TV, the movies, etc. As an example let´s think of the music kids hear, rock and roll in its worst categories where everything is about crime, drugs, and violence. That is what has to be regulated; of course it isn´t going to happen because for the industry is more important producing money to make someone extremely rich than the life of children in the lower classes of society. If they don´t like words like "lazy" coming out from a teacher´s mouth, then hypocrites have to look for beatiful words to describe these sort of issues. In the end they don´t have to forget that teachers are criticals intelectuals that have the right not only to share their opinions problems in the society, but also the right to change it; otherwise why Socrates ended up being murdered in Athens!!!!

    February 24, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Alberto Flores

    Bad thing people attack others and not the real issue. Listen up, do your homework well, read to understand the society you live in, and don´t go on silly arguments becuse your are afraid to admit reality or because you have an economic interest to protect or an ideology blocking your mind. Of course I mean this for the people playing wrongly; for whom it is more important destroying the dignity of people rather than cominp up with logic supportive statements.

    February 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. firemunroe

    Does anyone find it ironic Munroe is guilty of exactly the same behavior she loathes from her students? Anyone care that she blogged about them during the school day and crowed about it?

    February 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Teaching Moment

    Want to read a real teacher's blog? Then enjoy this one, A Dixie Diary, at http://www.adixiediary.com. The recent visit rate has been astonishing.

    Actually published a few days ago, this unique teacher's journal shows a different look at what happens in the schoolhouse ... by a rookie teacher who loves his work and his students, but he expresses his thoughts and observations in a hugely different way than Mrs. Munroe. Sure, there are some intense moments, even some choice words, too, but mostly it's world-class hilarious, heartwarming ... like reading a good book. It's the teacher's blog we've been waiting for. It's simply mesmerizing.

    February 25, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. firemunroe

    Munroe's conduct is unprofessional at the very least. No doubt she'll be terminated, and I think the courts will uphold the disciplinary action. Before you go crying First Amendment!, be sure to look at PA law and PA teacher contracts.

    March 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. firemunroe

    I can’t fathom how anyone could support a woman who ironically demonstrates the same behavior she loathes, or accept as gospel, the rants of a woman who can’t exercise enough restraint to refrain from hurling online insults. Now, she’s insulting our collective intelligence by trying to reinvent herself as an education reformer. I have no doubt she’ll be terminated, and think the courts will uphold the disciplinary action. Her conduct was unprofessional and indecent, and I doubt she’ll be protected by the First Amendment.

    March 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Richard K

    OK. after reading all of firemunroes post I am convinced. They must be right, with all the name calling and repeating of the same thing over and over. I guess if you call it a pig long enough it turns into one right? (I do hope everyone is catching the sarcasm here.)

    This is not about her or what she specifically said. the discussion is on freedom of speech. ANYTHING ELSE is just a personal opinion and and there is no point in arguing about those.

    ok fire. please provide us with a full list of who is allowed to complain and who is not. we already can see that teachers are not... I am guessing from the general tone of your post that whatever your profession is they are allowed too. I only hope mine is included in the complainers also in case I decide I want too at some point..

    we await your response so we can all know just how to proceed from here....

    March 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Richard K

    TAP TAP TAP.... is this thing on...

    March 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard K

    Did this discussion end?

    March 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WIBruce

    Asian Handicap
    Asian handicap or disability is a value assigned to a team / player at the expense of others. Let's say we have a match between two teams, X and Y and X team is weaker than Y, and bringing it on par would be a handicap of two goals (ie, if X starts the game with two goals at the end of the match the two teams would be tied Ermine village). This eliminates the opportunity to bet on a draw. If team X has the handicap of two and the match ends in a 1 goal difference in favor of Y, then X team won. If Y fails to beat a difference of two goals, then the bet is returned (bet there is no winner or loser)
    Number of goals (over / under, total number of goals as the half with most goals, odd / even)

    April 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
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