Pennsylvania high school teacher Natalie Munroe says she never thought anyone would read her personal blog. In it, she called her students “lazy whiners” and said they were unmotivated, disengaged and entitled. “My students are out of control…they curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire and are just generally annoying.”
In her blog, which was intended only for close friends and family, she maintained that kids are not being held accountable in class, and that they get angry when asked to think or be creative. She also says that the parents of her students are trying to be their kids’ friends. Another quote, (originally from the Musical Bye Bye Birdie) that is making the rounds: “Kids! They are disobedient, disrespectful oafs. Noisy, crazy, sloppy, lazy LOAFERS.” Munroe also lists possible descriptions teachers could write on students’ report cards, such as “rat-like”, “jerk”, and “I hear the trash company is hiring.”
Munroe, who is 30, is 8 months pregnant with her second child and has been suspended without pay. She has become an education icon in the past week, with fan pages springing up on Facebook and many people coming out in support of her opinions.
On the one hand, I can empathize with the frustration she must be feeling as a high school teacher in the public school system. There’s no denying that many kids do have a sense of entitlement and have little respect for teachers. But I guess the question I have is, if she dislikes her students so much, why is she still teaching? (She tells GMA host Robin Roberts that she has no plans to quit here.) Also, it’s a little naive to think that her blog, which was discovered by students last week, was not going to be found online. (In it, she uses profanities, blogs under the name “Natalie M.” and uses her actual photo.) While perhaps not illegal, it does represent a definite lack of good judgment. (After all, aren’t we always telling our kids to be careful what we post online?)
What I do agree with is this: There’s a problem with lack of motivation in students as well as with rudeness and bad behavior in schools. While I don’t completely agree with Munroe’s methods of getting her point across, I am glad she’s brought this conversation into the foreground.
Where do you stand? Should Natalie Munroe lose her job, or should she be congratulated on saying something that has needed to be said for a long time? How would you feel if she was your child’s teacher?
About Elisabeth Wilkins
Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.