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. autom

    The only bad thing she did was blogging during school hours in which she was getting paid to work, not blog. Punish her for that, not for what she wrote. Everyone knows that what she wrote is true. But of course, nobody ever wants to admit "their" kids are part of the problem. "Oh no... not my little angel..." Parents aren't doing their job, and seem to expect teachers to be parents, but then they complain when the teacher's try.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sheila

    I was one of those "bad kids." I couldn't sit still, ditched school and was a poor student. A couple of teachers told me their opinions of me. Their negative comments fit right in with the verbal and physical abuse I received at home. I guess I was on the "losers" list.

    Well...I graduated with good grades from college, interned and got myself hired and promoted in an incredible field of work. Then I paid for five years of therapy. Won numerous awards in the community and at work. Married a good man. Became a mom to an awesome little boy. I would NEVER hit or verbally abuse my son. And I don't allow any teachers or other authority figures to provide unsolicited, derogatory comments about him.

    Let's be patient with our kids, okay?

    February 16, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      I agree. As for feeling bad for her because she isn't well payed. I don't. She went to college for four years and made her decision to become an educator. She knew they pay, and she knew there are children with behavioral issues. Don't feel bad for her for having to deal with these children. Feel bad for the children who grow up with terrible parents and then go on to be marked as "the bad apple". Teachers demonize students many times. She chose to become a teacher. Children do not choose to be abused or have mental disorders.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buck

      You may have excelled to prove to prove your worth and prove them wrong. Had teachers not been honest with you, I wonder if things would have turned out as well for you.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ieat

      that's you. For every you, I bet there are many more who turned out to be losers.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sasha

      Great achivement, congrats. You did a really tough thing by overcoming abusive parents. It stings when you get cra@# at home and then from others.
      But here's the thing; that teacher didn't know about your home situation and, frankly, it's a bit asking too much to have everyone running around "guessing" at what someone else's life is like and act/do not act accordingly. You're asking the impossible and frankly, it's immature.
      She got frustrated, it happens. We do not live in a perfect world.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ms. Legal

    There are some good points here. Ultimately, she did stoop to a level that should not be typical for a teacher.

    With that said, I do feel compassion for her. I mean she is dealing with teenagers...teenagers, are the worst!! And not all of them...but a high percentage of teenagers are a pain in the ***!!!!!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |

    It's almost funny how the whimmpyyyy whinnyyyy Liberal parents who's kids fit the mold get upset when the truth hit's them in the face. I agree with what she says. By the way, if the shoe does not fit, dont worry about what she said. There are a lot of kids that dont fit the mold.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ieat

      why don't you find the need to throw politics into this? All conservative parents are good, and all liberal parents are bad? Give me a break. The Clintons have a kid who graduated and Stanford, and the Bushes have kids who have been arrested. So who is the liberal then?

      February 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Macie

      This is not a liberal or conservative issue – its an issue about our future – ALL our futures. Please don't point fingers or degrade anyone – I wouldn't allow it with my students, and you shouldn't perpetuate the behavior.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gucktaree

    It is pathetic when a grown woman let alone a scool teacher stoops to this kind of nonsense. If she does not know what she is doing wrong it is understandable and a perfect example of why she should be fired. She has the audacity to speak about responsibility. Seems she is the one who needs to grow up? The unfortunate part is so many of you take this as a joke and laugh it off as we do with so much in our country now a days everything is a joke while other countries are kicking our collective butts.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sasha

      You must live far away in la-la-land; she got fed up, she vented and got busted. Are you telling me that you NEVER said a bad word about anyone in your entire life? No whining about co-workers, bosses, etc?
      Besides, you apparently don't have any children or you are so lethargic that you just don't get it. It takes a lot of patience and nerve to raise kids when they are your own, but Mrs. Monroe has 34 kids every day she needs to teach; in addition, she cannot "reprimand" or "punish" them as a parent could, if they would choose to do so.
      Please, volunteer at school or at after school projects for teenagers; you'll get it.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Angela

    If it "wasn't for public consumption" then why were the blog entries visible to the public? I think she should be able to say anything she wants online, but if she doesn't want it to be for the public, she should blog somewhere that uses privacy settings so that you have to a a member/friend/subscriber to read. Sorry, her own fault for not protecting herself.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kacy

    I agree with a lot of the previous posters. No, she probably shouldn't have put her complaints online because there is always that chance of information getting leaked. However, as long as there's no name-dropping or description of the children or of who she's writing about... what's the bfd? Mind your business.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    The people criticizing her have obviously never taught anyone at the secondary level. She is absolutely right on.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. WDinDallas

    Sing it Sister!!!!

    Talk about living on the front line, these teachers is doing just that. I am proud of her speaking up!

    She sees these retards for what they are, the next generation of welfare recipients. They can't read or write, lazy, disinterested, good for nothing bums.

    They do nothing in school and then we have to pay welfare for them to sit on their @#$%, have children, diabetes … and don't forget the housing, the flat screen, medical, food stamps, etc.

    We should rent them out to farmers to pick the crops! That way we won't need illegal aliens.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • gucktaree

      It is people like you that need to go back to school, you can't have a decent forum without idiot type messages.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • JT

      Pretty sure "renting them out to farmers to pick the crops" is a pretty bad idea. It's called SLAVERY. Our nation went through that period once. It was embarrassing. I guess its true. Ignorant people will always repeat history.

      February 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDinDallas

      JT....what job will they do if they do not have an education? Look up. Look at the real world and the people that are 3rd, 4th, 5th generation welfare! Look at the cost to society. Even socialist countries in Europe, and Australia have you doing jobs to earn your public handout.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. allison

    it comes down to this- if she used names she she should be suspended, if she didn't there is no reason to jump all over her- I was an adult educator and if I didn't vent about my students and their issues I would have exploded! Parents and students need to have accountabllity, we can't keep blaming frustrated teachers!

    February 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CollegeStudent

    The lazy stupid kids don't have to dig ditches anymore. They can reproduce little jr. morons while on welfare. A ditch contractor will hire Mexicans who actually want to work. All this at the expense of the taxpayer. Isn't America wonderful? Start charging bad parents with crimes and you'd see things turn around quickly. Many parents are whiners though who don't like to be told how to raise their little monsters. Satan needs minions after all.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. swin

    Whether her observations about her students are right or wrong is not relevant. I am a retired schoolteacher – 35 years, high school, inner city. Teaching is a PROFESSION. You would permit, and at times expect, your doctor to discuss your medical history with his colleagues in the profession for the purpose of providing you with better health services. You would also expect a classroom teacher to discuss their students with counselors, administrators, teachers, and other professional colleagues. This so-called teacher discussed her students in a public arena with people outside the profession. Never mind that she may not have mentioned names – at this time in the school year, any classroom will become a close knit group of kids and everybody knows who somebody is talking about without the need for names. This lady committed a breach of professional ethics. Although I would not recommend dismissal since she may have other good qualities as a teacher and has invested a great deal in preparing for the profession, I would suggest the following: A one year suspension, without pay, during which time she spends one semester taking courses in professional ethics and another semester 'student teaching' under the guidance of an older, more mature, teacher who has an impeccable professional reputation.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • prof

      I disagree. I have been teaching at the university level for almost 30 years. She has the right to free speech. She did not name them. Also, I accept my doctor may discuss various cases (including mine) with anyone as long as names are not used. He also has the right to free speech.

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

      swin: You are the problem. This PC crap is killing America. Call a spade a spade. She doesn't need sensitivity training, the parents and kids need to be called out!

      February 16, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kent

    Kelly inPA, I would like to know where exactly a teacher is making $95,000 a year to teach. In case you haven't noticed teachers across the country are taking pay cuts in order to keep their jobs. While many others are losing their jobs completely after years of dedicated service. What you fail to add to your comment is the fact that teachers don't just work from 8-3 and then go home. Most teachers work in excess of 60 hours at work, and then bring even more work home. Teachers are raising children of people who are too lazy to raise them themselves. You say there are lazy teachers, I'm sure there are, there are also lazy doctors, lawyers, and people of other professions. I say to you, if you think teaching is so easy and they make so much money, why don't you go back to college and earn your teaching degree. After you have been in a classroom for at least a year, teaching students who do not care about learning or even trying to be successful, then you may pass judgement.

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

    And they put this teacher on a leave? She deserves a medal for speaking the truth. The parents will squash her like a bug because school principals have no spine.

    February 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikel

      Administration represents the school board. Unfortunately most school boards agendas aren't really based on educating a kid these days. How many school boards out there are made up of building contractors, parents of athletes, etc. get the picture. Whiny school boards = teachers with their hands tied behind their backs.

      February 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Buck

    I taught for a couple of years and I can see her point. Teachers are forced to spend a ridiculous amount of time having to control students who are aware that they have the advantage in a battle for the classroom School administrators and teachers are running scared because accountability only applies to them and not to the students. This is symptomatic of teenagers who are also in charge at home. Parents feel guilt because they cannot spend more time with their kids, so they give them possessions and power to fill the void.

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