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. Robbie

    "It was not meant for everybody to see" she says? Come on-it is a blog! Did she really think only friends would read it?

    February 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ally

    The way I see it, she wasn't posting this in a forum that she expected to be seen by co-workers or parents. She used a pseudonym and posted stuff for friends and family on her own blog, not naming any names. Maybe it wasn't the wisest decision, but I feel she has a right to voice her opinion. Still, the first amendment doesn't really enter into this issue. She isn't being brought up on criminal charges. You have a right to free speech, but you can still be fired from your job for unprofessional conduct. Try telling your boss what you really think of him one day and see where that gets you, free speech or not. Employers can fire you for lots of things that the courts can't touch you for. That being said, I totally agree with this lady. She's right on the money. I see kids getting away with stuff today that appalls me, both in and out of school. We aren't doing them any favors by coddling them so much either. They're going to get a very rude awakening once they're out in the real world trying to hold down a job where no one gives a crap about their "issues." I work in the court system and I see what these kids grown up into every day. Lots of adults these days are pathetic whiners, and they're raising their kids to be the same way.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. peetz!

    Make all students pay tuition!

    February 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Ask any teacher and they will tell you the same thing. I have teacher friends on Facebook that say much worse. The people that say "isn't it her job to teach my kid things like good behavior?" are the problem. Unfortunately they are clueless.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. elvls

    what happened to freedom of speech?

    February 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Andrew

    In Washington the teachers contracts always expire at the end of the summer and they don't seem to have any problems going on strike if the new contract isn't what they want. Whiny kids? That's something they learned from their teachers. If they put the kids first like they claim to they would not strike.....

    February 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • mycatsbreathsmellslikecatfood

      god you are ignorant. the teachers which arent tenured will be pink slipped and some will be rehired based on seniority and positions available. these teachers strike, not because they are "whiny", but because in their profession, their head is on the chopping block at the end of each school year.

      wouldnt you be upset if you had to go through this every year until a tenured position was offered?

      February 16, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bothsides

      "Mycatsbreath..." chose another perspective if you want support. In the non-union, non eduction field, our jobs are often on the line every day. "Employee at will" is the legal standard in many states. I am very empathetic to the challenges faced by dedicated educators in today's' society, and feel that inadequate parenting skills are the bigger root cause, but too often I encounter educators who are unable to appreciate employment and retirement advantages they have.

      February 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. what's a girl to do

    Did she give names of of students? If not, what's the problem?

    February 16, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark Yelka

    Wake up! American kids aren't motivated compared to other countries. In the 2006 assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 57 in mathematics and 29th out of 57 in science. So, go ahead and censor the teacher for saying the truth. Is it better to pretend and feel good or to publicly say the truth?

    February 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Melinda

    I see snow flurries of special snowflakes. We all know she's telling the truth.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Trent

    "But the fact remains that every year, more and more, students are coming in less willing to work, to think, to cooperate."

    Isn't that the truth.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Yelka

      Soft love is only good if you never have high expectations. It's good for a pet hamster. Hard love means telling kids and their parents that they have failed. No sugar coating.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. m&m

    She was venting on a blog. She was not naming any specific student. She did not threaten to kill anyone. Let her vent.

    Freakin' thought police mentality. Double-plus Good!

    February 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. New Fairfield, CT

    Parents are the biggest problem, period. They refuse to raise their kids. And the kids sense it.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. OMG14

    For businesses: just a reminder that these rude, lazy, disengaged whiners will be applying for jobs at your place in the near future. It's time for you to get involved in the education process and workforce development. Otherwise, start taking management courses to learn how to manage very difficult people.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DJ

    Ha, ha, whew, this is good.
    I was taught by Catholic nuns. They would have told you to your face you were lazy, stupid and wasting your parents tuition money. After being told that in front of the class (and not on a blog), they would have then had you write a letter of apology to your parents and apologize to the class for wasting their valuable learning time!
    And guess what?!? They were RIGHT!
    No one in our class brought in a gun, kids didn't get shot and we learned. Yes, some of us learned more than others because we were not disrespectful jerks but the children learned respect for authority, respect for our parents and learned to respect ourselves.

    February 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gnuut

      Totally agree. This country has gone downhill over the past 50 years to the point where many of the children are barely capable of reading, writing, or speaking their native language, much less earning enough to support themselves without government subsidies.

      February 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Michael Riggs

    Believe me...even the best teachers are saying the same thing about their students....BECAUSE IT'S TRUE! They just may not say it on a social media site. Many kids today, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc... are out of control with their blaitant disrespect toward authority, laziness and are overall just whinny brats. Some of you will say that they are just kids and that's just the way kids act and I will correctly point out that you have not stepped foot in a classromm for many years and don't know what you are talking about. Kids today have taken this type of behavior to a whole new level and it's as if many parents approve of their kids behavior which is really sad. Put your kids in check people!

    February 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • MurphyCas

      I would have to agree. I love going to work every day and working with my students. Children on the whole are bright and engaging. They are "endless possibilities" waiting to be nurtured and encouraged. Unfortunately, over more than two decades in the classroom, I have seen a huge shift in public perception of and participation in the educational process of young people that has resulted in more and more students expecting "something for nothing."

      Finger pointing never serves any purpose, but each participant in the upbringing and education of children needs to start asking the difficult questions as well as discussing ways to change what is on a downward spiral. Children are more important that petty, political grandstanding. Right or wrong, which remains to be seen, Ms. Munroe has hit many nerves, which should spark conversation. Mudslinging serves no purpose. Only mature, focused discussions will spark improvement.

      It sounds to me like the local community near her school needs to do a needs assessment regarding student engagement and parental involvement. They should then work with the community to develop ways to improve what is happening not only in their schools, but outside of school, in order to nurture positive youth leadersip. This requires out-of-the-box thinking and vested interest from all stake holders. The bottom line is children – our future.

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