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)

    It seems funny that if a teacher says something about students, no names metioned and people get upset! But it is okay for parents and student to get on thier computers and bad mouth teachers, and no one says anything. something is'nt fair. just saying

    February 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Max

    If there's one thing thing that rude, lazy, disengaged whining students hate, its being called rude, lazy, disengaged whiners.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ozymandias Rising

    " Pennsylvania English teacher who called her high school students "rude, lazy, disengaged whiners" on her personal blog"....Regardless of what Natalie Munro says, there is no mistaking she commited a heinous betrayal of professionalism and trust. Her students should not be placed in a position of seeing themselves characterized in any way on an open forum...like it or not, a teacher is supposed to be a role model, the epitome' of someone who is an adult with all the skills, values, and sensitivies so necessary to a well conducted life of good character. Natalie Munro earned a big fat "F" for FAILURE. It isn't that she is incorrect in any observation, but it is about professionalism and exhibiting good judgment about what you express in open forums...any adult of her age and educational level cannot have missed the recurring issues of problems with people making inappropriate posts on ope forums...has she learned nothing about the world of computerese? I hope she has alternate skills because she should never be permitted in a classroom again...this profound lack of good judgment and social behaviors is not the kind of model any children, of any age, should have in their classroom. I hope the day comes that she is able to acknowledge her poor behaviors and the hugely negative impact upon both the children and the parents...her entire message is lost because she inflicted such pain in an uncaring and impolitic manner...she has taught nothing except revulsion.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      I came to change my mind about what kids should or should not hear ..
      Maybe it's time the little snots were told they are in fact "little snots"...
      We reward kids just so they won't feel left out , when we reward the ones that actually deserve it.. And are too careful not to point out some negative thing about their character..
      Well, how can they improve if they think they are wonderful? Maybe it's time for some constructive criticism as opposed to underserved praise?

      February 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mary

    Trust me..I worked with school kids of all ages for 25 years and I can tell you, you have no idea how many of them were unlikable..
    You think your kid is wonderful? Yeah, maybe..
    But probably not~!

    February 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. whattheh

    you dont complain online (facebook or blogging) first of all. That is what happy hour is for. She is pretty stupid for doing that. But what she said is right. students are getting out of control. this "parents" that are against the teacher most likely cant control their 2 or 3 kids. Right now classroom sizes are reaching 30+. I would like to see some of the parents control 30+ kids before they run their mouths.
    IIf a parents wanted to they can drop their kids off at 6am pick them up at 6pm, eat fast food, shower, then off to bed. (that is the life a many many many many many many many many.....kids right now) Maybe some parents should buck up and spend a little more time with THEIR kids. If you want teachers to teach...teach your own kids values/morals/being responsible....Teachers should do reading/writing/math.... parents you get the rest.

    And stop complaining about taxes too. Gets where about 1/2 of your state tax goes.....schools.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Weix, Palm City FL

    I was a "bad boy" in high school. Then an ex-marine football coach pasted my butt up against the lockers and told me how I was going to behave if I ever hoped to see 18 years of age. My behavior changed, but not because I suddenly saw the light, recognized that teachers deserve respect, or any other the other psychobabble that is mainstream today. My behavior changed because of fear. You can't force someone to do or behave like a decent human being, unless you can enforce it with action.
    I once worked at a woman's shelter and could not help wondering if the abuse would have stopped had their abuser known that if he ever he ever abused them, he would be taken out and had the sh#! beat out of him.
    You can beat a bully by beating him. You can demand proper behavior the same way.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CYA

    Have had students show up for school with no paper, no pen, nor a notepad. They had no school supplies, but the students did manage to bring their ipods, make-up, cell phones, and of course their pocket video game systems.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GI Josie

    For what teachers get paid and the invaluable contribution they make to society they are more than welcome to complain about the lazy whiners in my book.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jason

    Amen to you. Somebody needs to say it because kids are idiots anymore. And it doesn't help when the queen idiot Sarah Palin runs around spouting off about how it's wrong of Michelle Obama to think that parents can't raise their own kids. THEY CANNOT!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GI Josie

    Considering what teachers get paid for the invaluable contribution they make to society they are more than welcome to complain about the lazy whiners in my book.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fly on the wall

    If you are not a teacher, you would need to be a fly on the wall for an entire year to understand what a teacher has to go through on a daily basis to teach unappreciative, unmotivated (unless it's about facebook, video games, girls, boys, or gossiping), and disengaged students can be – NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE TEACHER IS. Your children (mine included) are not angels and sometimes MANY of them don't care about learning. They only want to do what they want to do and nothing more. If they don't like reading, they use Spark Notes, if they don't like math – they fail, if they don't want to write a paper – they pay someone else to do it for them, if they don't want to do a project – they half a** it enough to not get an F. Teachers do not have enough time in the day to teach, baby sit, psychoanalyze, and beg our children to do what they are there to do. Don't forget that they have other responsibilities in the school other than standing in front of a class and talking. If you could get teachers to break their code of silence and be brutally honest with you about their job and your child, YOU WOULD BE SHOCKED. We are killing our teachers daily by lack of support. I for one made drastic changes in my househould after volunteering weekly in a teachers classroom. I didn't know what I didn't know until I chose to get involved. She said the truth. Though it came out wrong on her blog and she could have been a little more classy in her choice of words – her feelings and thoughts are probably shared by many -maybe even your child's teacher. They will never say it publically. That profession is suppossed to be one of honor whose members would never dream of saying such things no matter how true they are. However, we have pushed teachers to the edge by not setting expectations of our children and demanding respect for the teachers and their duty to perform and BEHAVE at their absolute Best. No I am not a teacher. I am a parent who got involved. I know more about some of the children and their behavior and abilities than their own parents do because I am present and accounted for. Take a personal day, holiday, vacation day, anything and go spend some real time in a classroom in your school and you will see for yourself.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. solorguy

    She speaks the truth, parents are not doing their job, you can't paddle them like we were and my children were. They have no respect for teachers and other class members. This is a discussion the needs to be had.
    I believe George Carlin was right about education in America, now the families are help make poorer students.


    February 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. My My My

    To all you nay sayers, I know now why this poor teacher is so frustrated. Nobody in their right mind or who has an once of common sense - yes I know it isn't to common anymore - should realize that you can't expect anymore out of a child than their irresponsible, lazy, can't be bothered, ignorant parents muster up. As a member of Public Safety let me tell you this, a teacher is just that, a teacher. She or he ISN'T a cop, an army drill sargent or any other form of a implimenter of dicipline. They are teachers. Nothing more or less. And teaching is their job. Their ONLY job. They are not there to raise the worthless offspring that these degenerate parents turn out like cars on an assembly line. Let me remind you who want to disagree - and that is your right to be wrong - even the military don't want your delinquent children anymore as they once did in days gone by. So get off your backside and raise your kids with some gualities that just might be useful someday in society or get on your backside and go and get "fixed" so you don't throw anymore of them onto the world to try and take care of.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. elaine bienenfeld`

    I'm a t eacher and I agree with her. Everyone comes to class with ipods and cell phones. (against school rules) and I take at least 2 away each day. ( i return them after class) Why such an uproar against her b ecause she spoke her m ind. Right on sister, you spoke the truth...like it or lump it.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. real american genius

    This lasy was RIGHT ON THE MONEY.
    If this nation had any real respect for teachers or education these wimpy principals and school boards would stop letting the kids and parents get away with everything.

    February 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
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