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. Horf

    One of the major problems with reporting on education is that we often hear about the bad stuff and not enough about the good stuff. Our education system has problems, but there are lots of really great things going on too.

    One big problem is people who don't know about education speaking as if they do know about education.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. justathought

    She is so right about students! they have become unbearable ,rude,ignorant and selfish brats.
    BUt then again how can we expect them to go to school and learn when out wonderful Government,in the name of
    budget cuts is closing schools and firing teachers?
    For once, we have a teacher who has the courage to speak up and care about what is happening and they suspend her!??
    No wonder we rank low in Education on the list of the "civilized" world.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • s

      I couldn't agree more. She speaks the truth and realities of the class today.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. s

    If parents would do their job then teachers could actually do theirs. You would not believe how much time is wasted on behavior and social issues that should be dealt with at home. I couldn't agree more with the Huffington Post Commenter.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Shiloh280

    Wow, she's only speaking the TRUTH. Why punish her?

    February 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ron

      The truth is this lady is completely mean spirited and evil hearted. Thats why she needs to be punished.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Warp0

    I try my best to educate the students that I have.

    Some are great, some are not so great, but I have an obligation to try my best for them all.

    Labeling them and complaining is not helpful.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David

    I am almost 50 years old, retired military. I am now a teacher, still trying to save lives, but this time through education. Kids have changed over the years, as have parents, and society's expectations of teachers. Education only works when all three sides of the pyramid work together. Parents cannot expect teachers to do everything. The teacher will teach, but the student has to learn, and the Parent has to be there and drive home the value of an education. Yet what I'm seeing more and more is in line with what Ms. Munroe was trying to point out: for example, the increasing use of profanity and lask of respect for authority is a valid concern. Students are less willing to think out a solution to an exercise because they're getting more used to using the Internet to find answers. Knowing why two plus two equals four is more important than simply having the calculator give us the answer – kids don't make this connection, and the easier it becomes to find information, the less effort they (we all, for that matter) want to put out to find it. Its easier to keyboard than to write. Its easier to play video games than play baseball. Its easier to velcro a shoe than tie the laces. Its easier to let the Internet, XBox, and DVD player babysit than to spend time with your kids. We are all guilty of this, everyday, some more than others. Let's not throw the first stone, please. Let's all look in the mirror. Let's allow our adult brothers and sisters to express themselves freely without fear of persecution. Let's not jump to conclusions and make judgments by taking things out of context. Let's work together to build the pyramid stronger for a better future for our nation. Please.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • asrael

      Thoughtful post: thank you...

      February 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sasha

      Bravo, thank you for your thoughtful input; few and far between these days.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jared

    I love this country. If you speak the truth that's on the minds of nearly everyone in this country people get outraged by it. Here's an idea – Why don't parents do their job? Nah, I know, bad idea. Better to just pretend like everything is fine and ignore the issue.

    Ya know, there's a reason we have a slight teacher shortage. It's because most get burned out quickly in the profession.

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

      So true, so very true. You would have to pay me big bucks to deal with other people's off spring – the government incentives and tax breaks are not quite enough.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Teacher

    I am a teacher also. I have no problems calling my students "lazy liars" because that is how some of them are. I say it to their faces and describe them as such to their parents. Most parents tell me that they agree. Am I going to get suspended for typing this blog too?

    February 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Karen

    You know, it's actually a very good thing in my opinion that this issue is being brought to the forefront. This teacher was expressing her frustration over dealing with what many teachers today are faced with, that is students who come to school unprepared for the challenges the classroom presents to them. Many students today, and I have personally been told this by a teacher friend, are unprepared to deal with not only the academic challenges in school today, but also the social challenges. Where does the majority of the responsibility lie in the role of preparing these students for these challenges? Some would say that it is in the home, the place where they are nurtured and disciplined in what should be equal measure but my question to those reading these comments and also those who are dealing with these issues personally, is there a possibility that these two fundamentally crucial parts of parenting being implemented in the majority of homes today? Without adequate nuturing and discipline, (the kind motivated from love and meant not to harm, but teach a child for the purpose of supporting their individual growth and well being) how well equiped are children today to meet the challenges in their learning enviornments if they are not given the tools they need to start with at home? This teacher has sparked, as a result of her comments, a very important dialogue and I don't think she should be fired from her job for expressing her frustrations over what I am sure are very real and serious challenges teachers are faced with in the school system today!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Davey Jones

    Kids are lazy and stupid because their parents are.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Davey Jones

    This is why nobody wants to teach. Consequently, you get teachers who are just in it for the money.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • m

      What money?

      February 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Levin

    Perhaps this woman needs to find another line of work. Teens have ALWAYS been unmotivated. No news there. But good teachers somehow manage to break through and inspire.
    And her decision to broadcast her inability to cope was a supremely dumb move. She has no business in the classroom.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon Doe

      Kids are worse these days and the teacher was only writing what any rational person not living under a rock knows already...you cant reach kids who dont want to be reached..you can only try....The kids dont give a damn and the parents dont either....These same model students get jobs after graduation and cant hold them..they treat their supervisors and co-workers like crap...Just Awful...Give the teacher a break!!!! she deserves a MEDAL!!!!

      February 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sasha

      I somewhat agree with you; I think it's funny how the older generation always puts down the next one. Amazingly, the generation before me did the same to ours. Funny.
      I think what we have here is the idea that "no one left behind" is actually possible. When I was a teenager (25 years ago) we had motivating teachers, we had good ones and bad ones. Our teachers understood not all children will turn out "successful", whatever your definition of that word is. It was accepted that some people will become CEO's, others support staff and yet others those that have several children and will need society to support them for the rest of their lives.
      Maybe that's our problem today; we think everyone can be a "winner" when, in reality, that is not possible.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Prd2bCdn

    another example of why you need to be mindful what you put out there on the internet when you hold a professional position. when are people going to learn?!!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. amanda l.

    that.is.RIDICULOUS!! all she did was vent about 'some' students on her personal blog- and now she's suspended until they decide about 'legal' action!?! and these same people who are complaining put teachers at fault if these kids fail...THE PARENTS are the ones that need to take responsibility for their kids..u cant blame the teacher if the kids choose to not do the work or put in the effort.. and say that the teacher isnt doing their job..but u should blame the parents for not enforcing good morales, manners, and respect..thats who kids learn from 1st..obviously the parents havent done their job- i pray this teacher is cleared of all this nonsense ASAP-

    February 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sy2502

    This is such a perfect example of "shooting the messenger"! When I was a child, if the teacher (or any other adult for that matter) told my parents I had been disrespectful or I had misbehaved, they would thank the adult for the information, then punish me. They didn't go after the adult.
    I understand that modern parents aren't just bad parents, but also don't want to be told they are bad parents. So, now we know why their kids are the insufferable brats the teacher describes: because the parents are insufferable brats to begin with.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
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