"Pa. teacher strikes nerve with 'lazy whiners' blog"

LaCi - posted on 02/16/2011 ( 40 moms have responded )

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110216/ap_o...

By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press – 21 mins ago
FEASTERVILLE, Pa. – A high school English teacher in suburban Philadelphia who was suspended for a profanity-laced blog in which she called her young charges "disengaged, lazy whiners" is driving a sensation by daring to ask: Why are today's students unmotivated — and what's wrong with calling them out?
As she fights to keep her job at Central Bucks East High School, 30-year-old Natalie Munroe says she had no interest in becoming any sort of educational icon. The blog has been taken down, but its contents can still be found easily online.
Her comments and her suspension by the middle-class school district have clearly touched a nerve, with scores of online commenters applauding her for taking a tough love approach or excoriating her for verbal abuse. Media attention has rained down, and backers have started a Facebook group.
"My students are out of control," Munroe, who has taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades, wrote in one post. "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying."
And in another post, Munroe — who is more than eight months pregnant — quotes from the musical "Bye Bye Birdie": "Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS."
She also listed some comments she wished she could post on student evaluations, including: "I hear the trash company is hiring"; "I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son"; and "Just as bad as his sibling. Don't you know how to raise kids?"
Munroe did not use her full name or identify her students or school in the blog, which she started in August 2009 for friends and family. Last week, she said, students brought it to the attention of the school, which suspended her with pay.
"They get angry when you ask them to think or be creative," Munroe said of her students in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The students are not being held accountable."
Munroe pointed out that she also said positive things, but she acknowledges that she did write some things out of frustration — and of a feeling that many kids today are being given a free pass at school and at home.
"Parents are more trying to be their kids' friends and less trying to be their parent," Munroe said, also noting students' lack of patience. "They want everything right now. They want it yesterday."
One of Munroe's former students, who now attends McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., said he was torn by his former teacher's comments. Jeff Shoolbraid said that he thought much of what Munroe said was true and that she had a right to voice her opinion, but felt her comments were out of line for a teacher.
"Whatever influenced her to say what she did is evidence as to why she simply should not teach," Shoolbraid wrote in an e-mail to the AP. "I just thought it was completely inappropriate."
He continued: "As far as motivated high school students, she's completely correct. High school kids don't want to do anything. ... It's a teacher's job, however, to give students the motivation to learn."
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association declined to comment Tuesday because he said the group may represent Munroe. Messages left for the Central Bucks School District superintendent were not returned.
Sandi Jacobs, vice president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, said school districts are navigating uncharted territory when it comes to teachers' online behavior. Often, districts want teachers to have more contact with students and their families, yet give little guidance on how teachers should behave online even as students are more plugged in than they've ever been.
"This is really murky stuff," she said. "When you have a teacher using their blog to berate their students, maybe that's a little less murky. But the larger issue is, I think, districts are totally unprepared to deal with this."
Munroe has hired an attorney, who said that she had the right to post her thoughts on the blog and that it's a free speech issue. The attorney, Steven Rovner, said the district has led Munroe to believe that she will eventually lose her job.
"She could have been any person, any teacher in America writing about their lives," he said, pointing out that Munroe blogged about 85 times and that only about 15 to 20 of the posts involved her being a teacher. "It's honest and raw and a little edgy depending on your taste. ... She has a deep frustration for the educational system in America."
Rovner said that he would consider legal action if indeed Munroe loses her job.
"She did it as carefully as she could," he said about her blog. "It's so general that it applies to the problems in school districts and schools across the country."






Should a teacher be really punished for venting her frustration in her own blog?

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Jenny - posted on 02/16/2011

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No!, She should be applauded and parents should stand up and take notice. They are mad because she is right. North Americans are apathetic, lazy whiners who wouldn't know a true hard day's work if it bit them in the ass. We are spoiled burdens on our planet who will never believe we ever have enough. We are doing a shit job raising the next generation and we won't be around to provide everything they feel they are entitled to. The East is going to eat us for lunch.



/rant

[deleted account]

I know in my school district, we sign contracts every year. There is a very small statement called the "Morality Clause". Again, determining morality is subjective anyway, but the jist is that your position may be in jeopardy if there is a violation of "high morlas". For example, years and years ago I was acquainted with a teacher who had a side job as an exotic dancer. Violation of the morality clause?!! You bet! Venting/complaining on a public forum about your school/students? I do beleive this would have been a violation of a morality clause as well since the teacher did not exhibit high morals and values. She went about her venting the wrong way, in my professional opinion.

[deleted account]

Your character sucks Dana! Just kidding ;-)
Hmmmm, I'm a high school English teacher and I can relate to every single thing she wrote about. However, I prefer to vent my frustration where the paper trail can;t lead back to me. Time & place for everything, and especially in the land of instant information, I need to protect myself. Therefore, you won't find anything of the nature she wrote about that can be traced back to me. But in all honesty, I really DON'T blog or participate in many teacher forums. I just don't want anything to come back and bite me in the ass years from now.

[deleted account]

I'm not sure who I'm talking to because I can't see your name or picture right now, but, I'm don't understand why her using profanity says anything other than she was upset, frustrated or angry and trying to express herself?!?! I use profanity. What exactly does it say about my character?

Barb - posted on 02/16/2011

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I could not find the actual blogs to read them, but i did find this interview with Natalie Munroe:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/16...

Here is another blog she has started talking about the whole incident.

http://natalieshandbasket.blogspot.com/

she has a 3 year old daughter and is 8.5 months pregnant. As has been said, she wrote anonymously, never used the school name or called out any student and could be talking about anyone anywhere in the U.S. And brings an important issue into the light.

Granted, if all the students are asses and she is the common denominator.. the problem isn't the students. But c'mon, let's face it, teachers today, especially high school teachers are facing a horrible challenge of competing with sports, video games, media, movies, and just bombarded with fast paced, flashy shiny images that take out imagination and serve it up to them on a silver platter.

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40 Comments

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Stifler's - posted on 02/20/2011

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They're probably ganging up on her too because they don't like teachers. I know I would have been in on "get the teacher put on stress leave" as a 12 year old.

JuLeah - posted on 02/20/2011

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ALL prior generations have writen, talked about, complained about, warned us about the next generation ... lazy, undisciplined, lacking focus, ungreatful, rude, lacking priorties .... really, ALL prior generations speak about the next generation in this fashion - ohh and the music, don't even get me started .... and yet, as a member of this generation, I gotta say .... kids these days ....

April - posted on 02/20/2011

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Most of us seem to agree there were better methods for venting, but the bottom line is that legally she cannot be fired (unless there is something similar in her contract about a morality clause?)? Does anyone think she is actually going to lose her job? I'm just curious because at some schools, if you do something that is disrespectful but not a legal reason to fire you, then they wait for you to make a mistake (then they fire you for something else).

Petra - posted on 02/20/2011

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I tend to agree with you, April, but for slightly different reasons. Her venting was public, and was clearly easily tied to her. There was nothing private or respectful about it. It is very much job-related and something you need to be aware of if you're going to publish written material on the internet. I don't think she really crossed a line (she didn't name any of the kids individually) but there are better routes to take than hanging out and bitching on your blog - lazy whining, indeed. She conducted herself quite poorly and disrespectfully in a public sphere, and it's come back to bite her in the ass.

Chick is totally going to get dooced, and she has no one to blame but herself.

Stifler's - posted on 02/19/2011

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I call freedom of speech!!!11. If people are getting worked up about this they need to read Tardblog.

Nicole - posted on 02/19/2011

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I think that she has not found the right school to teach at. I think she would be much happier if she found a school that fit better with her needs, where she fit in.

Lacye - posted on 02/19/2011

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I don't think she should be in trouble because of what she wrote on her personal blog. What she said actually has a lot of truth in it.

BTW Dana, I kinda thought she would be a redhead. LOL

[deleted account]

If I scroll over the circle of mom frineds icon, your name reads aprilperkins1. Your nmae does not show up fo rme, but I kind of assumed those names that I can;t see is becasue they have me blocked?

April - posted on 02/19/2011

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You know what I think it is? I think it's because I don't have a "complete profile". COM keeps asking me to update my profile, so maybe my picture won't come up until I update things? I don't know, but it's annoying to be called NO NAME all the time. :(

April - posted on 02/19/2011

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I think that is where Natalie lost my support...the fact that her use of profanity did take away from the message. I also think that even though her blog "could have described any school in America"....it was enough information for students to make the connection. It just bothers me. I know she has the right to free speech, but her blog made me dislike her and made me glad she isn't going to be teaching any of my kids. I do have to admit that it isn't fair to say that she didn't try to help those kids. There isn't an article anywhere that says what lengths she took to motivate/inspire her students. I'd like to read an article about that. Instead, her blog makes me feel like she's no different from her students.



There ARE plenty of lazy, disengaged teachers. I know of one (not personally. she works with someone I know) who teaches Pre-K. She lets her kids play outside ALLL morning and then lets them nap ALLL afternoon. Nap time is only supposed to be one hour, but she gets them down right after lunch and doesn't wake them until the busses come. She is supposed to follow a certain schedule: circle time, small group, large group, etc... but doesn't! (she plays with her cellphone, goes on facebook, and when lesson plans are to be submitted, she copies from another teacher!)

[deleted account]

"Is it fair to say that you do hold back on some of your emotions because they ARE forever once you type them in?"

It IS fair to say I hold back using more profanity, but NOT because it's there forever. I choose not to swear more than I do online, because I don't want it to take away from the message I'm typing and I'm also trying to be mindful that not everyone can appreciate the potty mouth. It's a respect issue, but not because it's permanent.

A question that keeps popping into my head about this whole situation is how and why did her students find her blog? She didn't use her full name. Were they typing her name into a search engine? Why? Weird!

April - posted on 02/19/2011

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Dana, most everyone uses profanity, but it should be reserved for when you are in the privacy of your own home. When you are a teacher, you have to watch what you do and say in public. Teachers are sort of like celebrities...both are role models to the general population. It's important to conduct yourself in a professional manner when you're in public.



It counts for a lot when you are around impressionable young minds. Her blog accomplished nothing other than prove herself to be a "lazy whiner". I get that she needed to vent, but she didn't have to go about it in a public way. If she is going to go through the motions of setting up a blog and keeping up with it, all that energy could be spent trying to think outside the box for ways to reach her students.



Maybe reaching her students isn't possible, but at least she would know she did everything in her power. If she is needing to vent her frustrations frequently, then maybe this isn't the career for her.



PS. Dana, it's me, April and I think you're pretty awesome. I don't think you have a bad character. I would also like to point out that your posts have never been laced with profanity. Occasionally, you may have a swear word here and there, but you've never had an explosive potty mouth on COM. Is it fair to say that you do hold back on some of your emotions because they ARE forever once you type them in?

April - posted on 02/18/2011

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I do not like that her blog was laced with profanity. It does not reflect well on her character. If I wanted to vent my frustrations, I would do it on a piece of paper or on Microsoft Word. Why do we feel the need to share everything about ourselves with the world all the time? I'd feel better about supporting her if she did something more useful with that frustration. I am finding it hard to commend her. Instead I feel uncomfortable...I don't know that I'd want someone with a potty mouth teaching my children. It's almost like she's no different from her students. She talks about them cursing and talks about technology taking over their lives. Well..she used technology to write her profanity-laced blog. I think she should be fired...there, I said it!

Jenni - posted on 02/18/2011

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I don't think she was wrong. But.... Did she not know what she was getting herself into? I applaud any teacher who can make to retirement teaching HS kids without a nervous breakdown. Oh yes, I knew of at least two in my school who couldn't make it and I lived in a very small town. 300 kids in our highschool and believe me they were kittens compared to large pop. city schools.

If venting helps her keep her sanity then by all means, whatever gets you through the day. I'd rather her do it on her blog than start hurling chalk at students (we had a HS teacher that did that).

But if it's alllll bad and she geniunely hates her job that much she isn't doing the students any good by continuing to teach them. Maybe she should look into adult education.

Danielle - posted on 02/18/2011

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No! It's about time someone stood up and spoke the truth. She never named one name. I also think she should be applauded. If they fire her it just shows to me that they are weak and don't want to deal with parents who've had their toes stepped on. I think it's way past time that someone stepped on some toes. If more teachers did it then I think they would have more cooperation out of their students AND parents.

Bonnie - posted on 02/18/2011

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I don't feel she should be punished. It is better for her to do it this way and get out her frustrations and anger than treat her students poorly like some others teachers do.

Jodi - posted on 02/17/2011

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It's a teacher's job, however, to give students the motivation to learn."

I disagree, THIS is a parent's job that starts as soon as your baby is born! By the time you send your child to school, they should already be motivated to learn. By the time they get in highschool, they should be able to self motivate, both for the things they want to learn and the things they need to learn. Yes, teachers should help keep this skill going and push it further, but it starts at home.

She should not be punished...as others have stated, everything was anonymous and she could have been teaching in my school district and I may never have known the better. Heaven forbid someone tell those parents the truth...so of course there would be an uproar..I mean, their kids are perfect and how day anyone say anything differently? Right? (I'm feeling a bit cynical against society lately...can you tell? Gah!)

Meghan - posted on 02/17/2011

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No, she shouldn't be punished...I do however think she is a jerk. It isn't a child's fault that they are spoiled, lazy or rude...if you have to create a blog or make fun of someone, bag on the parents. Seeing as these kids spend more than half of their waking day with her, she should be offering some form of encouragement rather than just checking out. Yes, manners and respect should have been installed by parents years before high school, but most teenagers rebel and do respond to outside positive reinforcements.

Tracey - posted on 02/17/2011

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She didn't identify herself,students or school and her messages were private for friends and family only, she has not threatened to harm her pupils in any way and there is no mention of inappropriate sexual comments or illegal acts, there is not even any swearing . She should not face any punishment.

Teachers need to regain control of the classrooms and kids need to learn respect. I was smacked on the bottom by a pupil and the teacher's response was to pretend it never happened and lets all be friends and not make a fuss.

Lady Heather - posted on 02/16/2011

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Nope. If she named people, yes. But anonymously? Hell no. She's just saying what we're all thinking. I'm sure if you asked her it's not EVERY student. But when you get enough of them I bet it feels like it sometimes. My mum teaches university students and she has 1001 stories. It's hard to believe the kind of balls these kids have nowadays. I know I've only got 10 years on them, but it seems like that 10 years made a big difference. Like they actually try and demand lecture notes because they don't want to take their own or don't even want to bother going. Myself, I wanted to take my own because I figured that was the best way to understand things. They don't care to understand. In fact, if they could just buy all their As and be handed a job, they'd be happy. This is generalizing of course. But it's like a disease. More and more are infected every year.

Joanna - posted on 02/16/2011

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Personally, I think this would've been best left to venting with fellow friends and teachers, not for the world (and your students/their parents) to see. Sounds like she doesn't have the patience or understanding to be a high school teacher to me. I totally understand how frustrating it can be, and agree kids today are lazy with no motivation. But If you are an educator you need to buck up and do what you can for the kids, not tear them down online with verbal assaults such as this.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/16/2011

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I am glad she is on paid leave. I cannot disagree with her, but I understand why there is such an uproar. no one wants to hear this kind of thing about their own kids. Is she right? I think so ...should she have done this? Maybe without name calling, but hopefully this will be a wake up call.

Marylea - posted on 02/16/2011

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No way should she lose her job. Its not like she named any of her students out right. She made generalized comments about students today and she 100% right. Kids are lazy and rude, being a teacher shouldn't mean she can't say such things. Of people she probably has more of a right to complain than anyone else. If I wrote a blog about lazy kids I wouldn't be in trouble so why should she?

[deleted account]

"Should a teacher be really punished for venting her frustration in her own blog?"

NO! Absolutely not!

Sharon - posted on 02/16/2011

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No she should not be punished and she's 100% right in her claims that kids are "entitled". hasn't that been my chief complaint about society all along?

Katherine - posted on 02/16/2011

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No, not at all. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And as they said it was "general" she didn't point any one particular student out.
If you can't handle the truth, go cry somewhere else I say.

I did read some of this somewhere else and thought it was ridiculous!

Isobel - posted on 02/16/2011

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I tend to believe that if ALL your students are disengaged, lazy whiners...perhaps you MAY be a crappy teacher.

Brandi - posted on 02/16/2011

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NO, she needs to get her frustration out. I agree, children today are not being raised correctly because the parent wants to be more of a "friend" rather than a parent. She is right, they need to teach their kids some manners, and respect!

Iridescent - posted on 02/16/2011

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I think she had every right. Personal rights of the students were not violated, their privacy was preserved. If she had written it as a book, she'd be famous in a good way! But since it's a blog, it's a problem? She's pointing out very real problems in our school system, and in the way many children are being raised at home.

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