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. 4master

    Ok really? what happened to the first ammendment? she didnt name names, commented more on the possitives than the negative, and truly, kids are like that a large percent of the time. Not always. but often.the people who use the "the teachers job is to overcome those obsticles" are uninteligent. they are part of the problem. she shouldn't have posted it on the web. this is happening more and more to teachers. the parents, the kids and to an extent, the teachers are to blame. but really it is socciaty as a whole.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ProperVillain

    She has the right to say whatever she wants on her personal blog, the school needs to stay out of it. Besides, she was only saying what most teachers lack the courage to say out loud...

    February 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ReasonableGuy

    My kids were both good students. On more than one occasion each complained about: 1) students who were ill-prepared for High School, because their elementary districts were underfunded; 2) students who were in good schools, but had no interest in learning.

    As a nation we have to remember that WE ALL BENEFIT when our population is educated.

    As parents we have to read to our kids when they are young, and encourage them in school. As parents we have to stand up to the schools when they retain bad teachers, because each class that suffers with a bad teacher is a class that is less likely to do well the following year.

    As a society, we need to make sure our schools are properly funded and supported.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sam

    "'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?'"

    Since when was that a teacher's job? They're teachers, not babysitters.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Don

    This teacher is RIGHT!!!! and she has every right to express herself an a citizen of these United States of America. The problems with the public schools now days is that they have become "government" schools. They are hostage to the federal and state money and mandates that have come from an increasingly liberal minded government and teachers unions. Most of the people at he helm of the teachers unions have never served a day in a classroom or it has been so little time or such a long time ago they don't know their butts from a hole in the ground when it comes to education.
    The LOCAL school boards should run the schools. That's where we pay the tax dollars to do just that. Otherwise, I'm infavor of a tax revolt and withholding taxes until the local school board starts doing their jobs and running the schools and telling the state and federal officials to keep out of local affairs. We need to return control of the schools to the teachers and administrators, return corporal punishment. If a student commits an offense that warrants punishment then the administrator should give it out or have the parent come in and administer it or the student is suspended/expelled from school until the parent does take action.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kim

    Woah, let's not proceed into generation-bashing here. Yeah, the people I see in gen-ed classes I have to take really makes me worry for the future of America, but let's not group every teenager under one umbrella. I know plenty of kids who are respectful and polite to teachers. I don't really think that it's really just the generation. Rather, every generation has a group of poorly behaved people, well-behaved people and everything in between. I feel like it's the perpetuity of a common sentiment the old have for the young that's been going on for quite some time.

    On a different note, this teacher is totally in the right. She can say what she pleases as long as she isn't naming names.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. the_dude

    Of course the article leaves out the racial makeup of her class(s). I bet this has A LOT to do with her posting...students of a certain race. We all know who.....

    February 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • asrael

      Really...?

      February 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sydney australia

      yeah – the HUMAN race you dip stick!

      February 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sjm

    I have been a school nurse for 14 years and have seen many changes in the kids and their parents. The kids in my school are generally lazy,disrespectful,rude, and whiny. They and their parents have every excuse in the book for their behavior and it is ALWAYS someone else's fault. These kids have been enabled their entire lives and think that they should be given everything. Their parents contact and harass the school board until they get the grades they "deserve," not the ones they earn. Not the same as when I started. She didn't name any names and she has every right to complain.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Karen

    @BigBill8517: You may be onto something with schools at differnt levels making kids sign pledges. I was an honors student who loved to slack. Maybe a semester stuck with psychos and idiots would have been a perfect scared straight for me in my freshman year. Thankfully I came to my senses and have been lucky enough to earn multiple degrees. But many people would do well to learn early on that they are the only ones who determine their fates.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ruth

    You are so correct I truly agree with you, as a bus chauffeur in the Philadelphia school district I can write a Best seller ! These kids are totally disrespectful, have no respect 4 themselves or any other authority not even their parents which is where it starts ! I took my children out of the Philadelphia school's so they wouldn't get caught up in the nonsense & placed them in a Private boarding school where they could have a great opportunity of being educated & great role models 2 their peer's, respect 4 their teacher's & themselves it was the Best move I could have made ! Those kids u spoke of, all u did was tell the truth & the truth will set u free they are whiners, lazy, have foul language coming out their mouths & can't spell or read 4 that matter & just don't want 2 learn all they know is how 2 be DISRESPECTFUL !!! Let's not talk about how they dress !!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Neerav

    It is sad what kids have become. I graduated from high school in June 2000, but the arrogance of our children is pretty disgusting. I am frankly afraid of raising my kids in this society, where kids are rude and disrespectful to elders and those in authority such as teachers, parents, policemen, etc... What this teacher expressed is what teachers across the nation have been feeling for years – it is high time that RESPECT is learned and relearned by our teenagers!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rosemary

    Natalie is a hero. Of course we teachers love our students but sometimes the absurdity of their antics including unwillingness to participate or be prepared and/or slovenly, uncivil behavior including back talking and downright rudeness demands we vent about it. I tell my students to their faces and in class in front of others when they are out of line; there's nothing to hide, certainly, as it's out job to help students prepare for a future beyond the classroom. Telling it like it is IS our job as educators! That Natalie should be on suspension at all is outrageous. Way to be Natalie!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bruce Heinemann

    I say good for her.

    Everybody these days blames the teachers for everything relative to a student's performance. Teachers are dumped on with the good, bad, and the ugly of American kids who go to public school. They given the thankless task of not only trying to help the kids learn and think for themselves, but all the time teach kids who are disruptive, often violent, and even more often sent to school unprepared by their lazy ass parents who don't seem to think its their responsibility!

    Yes, there are some bad teachers that need to be weeded out, but I fully stand behind teachers. They work hard during school and after school trying to make a difference. I'm all for grading parents.. its called "personal responsibility"

    Gee, where have I heard that before? Oh, ya, isn't that what self-righteous right wingers yak about when they criticize the educational system and the teachers union?

    February 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ichi

    Kids! I don't know what is wrong with these kids today! KIDS! Who can understand anything they say?? KIDS! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs! Noisy, crazy, sloppy lazy, loafers!

    doodoodoo...

    February 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. janet

    There a good teachers and there are lousy teachers.This teacher obviously enjoys teaching and wants her students to come to school prepared and engaged.If she didn't care she wouldn't have complained.Children will behave how their parents allow them to. Teach manners and hard work at home and the child will go out into the world and behave properly.The grace ,dignity , respect ,and hard work of past generations is fading far too quickly.Be accountable,as a parent,student, teacher,and human being.And no, I'm not a senior citizen,but i have immense respect for their generation.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
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