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. ieat

    why can't she talk about her whiny students? The kids are whiny and they don't want to hear it? Actually if my kid is a whiner and she tells my kid to his/her face, I'll call her a good teacher, and definitely will not be asking her to be fired!

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

    The teacher was unethical by posting/venting to the public. There should be a consequence for it. But blaming just the teacher isn't going to be enough; the parents of the dysfunctional child and the dysfunctional child should be as guilty as well. Stop pointing fingers and go to the root cause of it. Why not put monitoring cameras in the classrooms and hallways? Its to protect the good teachers and the few good students that is still left. A system should be created to deal with this kind of things from occurring.

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

    As a fellow educator, I do not have a problem with Ms. Munroe writing about this topic on her blog. Sometimes we need to vent about something that happened and when we do not have anyone to talk to, writing about the situation may help one cope with it. If Ms. Munroe was using the names of the students, than of course it would be wrong. However, that is not the case. Using her blog to write about the problems she is having in class is a great way to receive input from her friends which could also be educators. Good luck Ms. Munroe, and hopefully you do not get reprimanded too harshly!

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

    I fully agree with Ms. Munroe. Perhaps not a wise decision to post feelings online, but I do believe she is protected by her freedom of speech unless she signed a contract address behaviors outside of the work place. But, I digress from the point I want to make. The truth is, kids are getting lazier. How do I know? Because I teach at the college level. Everyday I am faced with students who do not want to work and expect everything to be handed to them. I have seen some comments on here saying if she was a good teacher then she would find a way to get through to them. That's honestly laughable. I figuratively banged my head against the wall trying to get through to the ones who were disinterested, and in 99% of the cases it was to no avail. Now, I concentrate on the ones who demonstrate a desire to learn and succeed. The truth is, whether it's at the high school level or at the college level, a teacher cannot not make a student to anything. All he or she can do is enforce consequences at which students more often than not laugh. The correction in behavior needs to start at home and at a young age. Many parents are not teaching their kids the value of hard work and manners. Trust me, I get back talked and eye rolled everyday and I can't tell you how many excuses I get on a daily basis from students. In all honesty, those of you who bash Ms. Munroe for what she said can deal with the truth that we are raising a selfish and unmotivated generation. Secondly, you have no clue what it's like to show up to teach class everyday, and despite your best efforts, despite trying every angel you can think of, despite talking to colleagues for advice, you look out among a see of students who sit at their desks never taking a single note and never asking a single question. It's sad the direction we are going. I look out among my students a sometimes shudder to think that some of them will one day be taking care of my generation. However, I always have hope, and I always have a few students who really want it, and those students are the ones I stick it out for.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TC

    Some times the truth hurts. The majority of kids nowadays are part of the "what's in it for me" generation. They don't want to work but they want the same privileges hard working adults have earned. They expect instant gratification. Traits like respect and integrity are pretty much nonexistent anymore. A lot of parents are lazy themselves and toddlers are running households – "If I say no he get's upset". Kids can't entertain themselves any more computer games and the tv does it for them. Imaginations? I think those are gone by the age of 7 any more. It's a sad sad state. Now remember I said majority, not ALL kids.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shaun

    Yall are dumb and ur kids are bad, the reason ur kids are bad cause uld rather blame this teacher then ur bad kids! My kid don't act like that crap cause he knows what will happen! If ur kids bad in school ita cause the parents would rather ignore it then deal with them. And some one said something bout a kid getting suspend it for talking bout another kid on net? Hire a lawyer, if it aint school related theb school has nothing 2 say. Teachers get treated like crap by students! Its a fact! We all done it one time or another! But I guess that's the teachers fault? How's the teacher supose 2 punish them? Call the lazy parents that's 2 worried about american idiol? Deal with ur kids! If ur kid don't turn out better then u then u failed as a parent!

    February 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TC

      Yes parents need to be more involved. However, I really hope you are using short hand because you are sending this message from a cell phone – because if you are sitting at a keyboard typing then it's really hard to take your post seriously. "Ur kids" " supose 2" "bout" ?? How difficult is it to use correct or close to correct spelling and grammar?

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

    Another whiny teacher complaining about kids she can not reach. Imagine if we could constantly make up reasons for why we can't accomplish our goals at work. Her job is to teach, if she can not teach she can not do her job. She should be fired for incompetence.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hayden Strong

    As a psychiatrist with three offices and 12 associates we see every day children who, at first sight, fall in the description given by this teacher. Digging deeper however, we find those kid's reaction to the outside world as those of confused and unguided children, missing the understanding of words like privilege and discipline, even in the most liberal meaning.

    The cause is usually found in the cascading lack of understanding of these words/principles by their parents who themselves suffer from a lack of value transfer from their parents etc. – the usual reason for this "lack of value transfer" is very often found in the socioeconomic environment of this age of "I can have my cake and eat it too".

    A responsible parent can not simply become such and continue to live life like they did before. Parents need to understand that a child will never reach its full potential if there is no parent at home to guide it, or, if a parent is at home, the parent is too busy being distracted by the "life-static" TV, Internet, Game Consoles etc. bring with them.

    A child does not come with a manual and is not a status symbol. This situation has arisen because many people don't understand this before becoming parents and are not prepared to take the economic toll of one parent to stop working for the first twelve years of parenthood and to live up to their responsibility of turning off that television/computer/game console and to engage their children intensively.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cassandra

    The teacher is 100% correct. Kids nowadays are lazy and spoiled. Parents should be held accountable instead of blaming the school system or charging it's the teacher's responsibility to motivate a student. How about it's the parents' responsibility to motivate their kids? Parents work all the time and we have more and more latch-key kids being raised by video games and shows such as Teen Mom that glorify teenage pregnancy. My 16 year old niece is a good example. Throughout her whole school career, she's been a troublemaker. She tells a teacher to "f" off and then gets suspended and what does my brother do? He goes to the school and cusses out the principal. Well, she couldn't hack it in real school so now she's in alternative school and getting ready to get thrown out of there too. Oh, and by the way, she's pregnant. Isn't that a treat? Bottom line, parents, hold your kids accountable! Check their homework and ensure they have everything completed. Most schools have websites where you can keep up with your kids' assignments, etc. If parents would become engaged in what their children do on a day to day basis, the kids would be more engaged and motivated to learn. Oh, and let's bring God back to the schools. Ever since he was taken out, the school system has gone to hell in a hand basket.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jon Doe

    I agree with the Teacher..Many kids today are whiners, very rude and dis-respectful...You cant get through to kids who dont want to listen..You cant make anyone learn...Give the Teacher a break!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 4master

    Hey jt, 1. try teaching. 2. teaching ethics is the parents responsability. the teacher reenforces them but if there are none the kids wont listen anyway. 3. do you wine about work? she shouldnt have put it on the web i give you that. 4. it is everyone involved's fault.the kids for not paying attention, the teacher for not trying hard enough, (but that is an aN assumption) and the parents for not being involved. 5. i am a kid and i think her getting in trouble is messed up. some kids get suspended on purpose to get out of class. so that argument doesnt work. 6. if sociaty wasnt so messed up, she could sey it to the kids' faces. 7. the teacher needs to maintain appearences outside of school? well then students should maintain apperances IN school. Sorry about the length but at least i know how to write.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Edward Nashville, TN

    I went to school to be a teacher, but left after one year because I felt it was insane to have to go to work fearing for your personal safety and trying to teach students who didn't care, while their parents skirted all their parental responsiblities and blamed the teachers for all their kids school problems. I should have known better than to go into teaching. During my student teaching, all the teachers talked about in the teacher's lounge was when they would be eligible to retire.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. vpro

    Unbelievable. Believe me, none of your precious little darlings are perfect, and perhaps if they got their butts in gear and actually applied themselves they wouldn't be called lazy. And don't even get me started on the failures of the parents!

    February 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. diana

    right you are, natalie munroe!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lety

    Typical teacher, most of you parents here defending this teacher will fall over backwards if you heard the way these teachers talk about these kids on a daily bases. Working in a school myself I am more disgusted by the way these so called "educators" behave and talk than I am by the way children act.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
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