Should Teacher Who Called Students “Lazy Whiners” on Blog Lose Her Job

Posted February 16, 2011 by

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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 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.

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  1. Clocktowergirl Report

    Gotta love how she cursed out students while complaining about how they curse. Hypocrite, much? I’m not sure about the legal aspect of if she should be fired or not, but does she seriously think she’s going to get a teaching job anywhere? Sure, parents can agree with her as long as she’s not talking about their kids. No parents want a teacher that says such awful things about her students. No school wants such an unprofessional teacher. No student wants a teacher that thinks of kids today as “generally annoying” A teacher can really make or break a class. I’ve seen kids who act horrible in one class act perfect in another class just because of the teacher.

    Reply
  2. trace Report

    When I went to school, nuns would hit a student in class for dropping a pencil on the floor or talking in class and nothing was done about it. Today, you can say something someone doesn’t like and be suspended without pay. Although I don’t think the comments on the internet were professional, I certainly do not think the teacher should lose her job. The sad part is that kids today are extremely disrespectful as young as fourth grade, not only to teachers, but to adults in general and the children do not seem to care. I have been in classrooms volunteering and gone home telling my husband how shocked I was at the behaviors and what some of the teachers “put up” with. I grew up in a generation where there was respect for adults and somehow that has been lost along the way. That would be the day there would be a telephone in our classroom and a teacher had to use it to call home about behavior….so sad that is what is has come to. I think that things have gotten out of control with how people feel that we need to always do something when someone makes a poor judgement, granted we are all human, but I don’t think we should be firing someone over something like this…many people have badmouthed their bosses and co-workers, etc…they just haven’t done it on the internet…

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  3. mysnowbunny123 Report

    I think it is right that she was suspended without pay, She should not loose her job- but it does sound like she is in the wrong line of work, And calling children “rat-like” and saying things like “I hear the trash company is hiring” Is just Discusting to me! Even In this Economy- There needs to be more positive resorces for our children!
    Yes, many teenagers are disrespectfull and act rotten and like they have no sence, BUT THEY ARE CHILDREN! AND WHO’S FAULT IS IT? They did not raise themselves!!! they did not Teach themselves this behaviour! Parents need to be more Pro-active in what is going on with there children FROM BIRTH!
    Alot of these “disrespectfull” teens are dealing with undiagnosed mentall issues/ Person issues at home (abuse , neglect, etc)
    and they do not have the skills to deal with it.
    I was an emotionally abused child, and had a terrible childhood. I always tried to be respectfull, but, my panick/anxiety/severe depression were not being delt with and I was NOT TO MENTION THEM. I had a horrible time in high school, and dropped out and got my GED. I got into alcohol & other garbage to deal with my problems because I had no idea what to do, and no one to talk to.
    And these days, parenting Is out of controll, some parents are scared to diciplin there children because of the fact the laws have entered our homes and dictate how we have to do things. and some parents just shouldn’t be parents.Also… what is on the television- telling our children how they should act, look, and idolizing bad behavior, is out of controll! IS IT THE CHILDRENS FAULT???
    I have witnessed myself first hand how some school staff are absolutely in the wrong line of work, when my son was in kindergarten, I had a teachers aid come up to me in front of my son and his peers and say horrible, judgmental, rude, crude,& hurtfull things to me and my son (a 5 year old at the time)and nothing was done about it, Thank heavens-this year he has a wonderfull, understanding teacher that communicates with me, and i communicate openly with her.
    The fact is there are a lot of so called “teachers” that have no buissnes being around children if they can’t handle the different problems kids might have.
    But, That is the job that they have experience in, so they don’t want to loose it because of Money. Maybe they should go back to school and study something else!
    another fact is, people just really don’t care about other people, they only care about what is effecting them. this world needs more caring unselfish people in it, that reach out to our youth and find out what is the root of the problem.
    This teacher used VERY POOR judgement in what she said in her blog.SHAME ON HER!
    I myself am caefull of what i say and who i might offened on the internet on my “personal” profiles. But, I am a caring person who tries to be understanding of other’s and try not to take things personally… unlike most of the world now a days

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  4. davone Report

    no she should not be fire. if we raise are kids to be overly sensitive and to take the words that people say to heart then eventually we will just have a soceity full of people who are not willing to take a stand for what they believe in. We should not be treating are children like babies but raising them to be free-thinking adults

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  5. Jessie T Report

    Yeah, all she was doing was letting off some steam about these “Lazy Whiners” she has to deal with everyday. I don’t see how that’s wrong in itself, only she should’ve done it more privately. But yes, she has a right to vent. I would need a little release too if I was her, but the problem is, I’d never in my wildest dreams be a teacher. I have limitted patients when it comes too kids showing adults respect. I was raised with the mutual understanding between me and my parents that kids respect their elders, and that’s how I’m bringing up my own children too. So I have no tolerance for kids like the ones in schools these days. If she feels that way too, which it’s kind of obvious she does, why is she teaching, I wonder. She’s apparently not gonna change them or their careless parents, and I don’t think it’s in her power to do that anyway. So why’d she become a teacher? Does she actually have an interest in educating children, or is she just there kuz it pays decent money? I’m guessing the second, and if I’m right, than she shouldn’t complain. She took the job, she’s just there for the paycheck anyway, so she’s gotta deal with it’s flaws. She made her bed, now she’s gotta lay in it.

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  6. Gma7 Report

    While she could have been a bit more demure, she is right about the kids. She should not be terminated nor “disciplined”. However she should be more tactful while still allowed to say why kids are not performing well in school. The parents more than ever are opting out on discipline because it takes time and tenacity! When you don’t start at a young age winning the small battles; how can they (parents..and teachers) win the larger more important ones. Kids are sitting with their noses in their “electronic devices” zoning out on p2p living. Acting more like the robots on their games. All in all kids grow up in spite of everything.

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  7. jujubean Report

    She may have a right to free speech but I wish she would get some real help with managing her attitude and feelings towards teaching.
    i agree with the writer who said, kids pick up on silent attitude and deliver what is expected of them. Young teachers now a days, I find are taught and given the message that they should be taken care of in the classroom even more than the kids..in other words, they give the vibe and have the attitude that the kids need tomake them, the teachers feel competent, well liked – young teachers are given the message by schools that educate teachers that the kids are a narcissistic reflection of them the teacher – if a kid doesn’t behave, is under performing, is a out of line, and draining for any reason, the teacher feels offended by the kid.
    The idea of what a teacher is has become narrow, bland, utilitarian, and self serving – teachers just shouldn’t need to be narcissistically fed by students or parents.
    Civility needs to be taught. Bring back your basic manners and civility courses – something that went out of the schools because it was considered too “preachy” Preachy it may be but at elate kids knew there was a standard of behavior that society expected.

    Reply
  8. Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor Report

    It’s interesting to see that most people agree that there is a problem with disrespect and lack of motivation in students. This conversation is one we definitely needed to have — but this teacher’s methods (blogging about her anger and frustration) were ill-thought out and misguided, to say the least. As the child of a teacher myself, I have to say that I usually sympathize with educators –they work hard, aren’t well-paid, and do a million small things on their own time (and dime) that no one ever sees. So while I understand that this teacher was venting on her “personal” blog (as if there really is such a thing!), her level of anger and vitriol are alarming to me. To be honest, I wouldn’t want her to teach my child. Saying that, I don’t think she should be fired…but she definitely needs some time off and some mentoring/counseling, as another commenter suggested. (And maybe she should consider teacher at another grade level for awhile.)

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  9. whiningkids Report

    I have trouble with my own kid but we are working through it. I have had to deal with unresponsive teachers myself, and been very frusterated. But it comes down to one thing, parents need to keep kids motivated @ home and quit giving them everything they want!Let them learn that everything should be earned and not given to them! I hope that this teacher does not loose her job. She is right these kids need someone to tell them that they are being lazy and have to work for themselves. The real world does not give anything for free!!!!!!!!

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  10. Italian Stallion Report

    This teacher should not be fired nor disciplined. She was venting her frustrations. She should be told not to do it again or she will be fired, she should seek some mentoring help, and maybe change schools where she can find the rewards she is looking for. Kids today feel like they don’t have to do anything to get through school. When they get out they can get on welfare and collect food stamps and live in subsidized housing. What incentive is there to get good grades, pass school and graduate? Jobs are hard to find. We as a society have dismantled all of the shop classes we grew up with, that offered alternatives to those that didn’t want to go to college. Students attitudes come from home, so what you see is a reflection in the students of the values being taught outside the classroom. Don’t necessarily blame the students, start with the parents.

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  11. Jessie T Report

    Let me tell you, I’m terrified of my kids turning out like the kids this woman is talking about. I agree with this teacher’s frustrations, but like a lot of other people have said, I don’t think she was thinking when she posted these agressive comments on the oh-so public internet. But yes’m, I definitely know what this woman is talking about, even though I’m not a teacher. There’s a good reason I’m not, too. I get easily infuriated with the disrespect of today’s teenagers.

    It’s all the parenting. Parenting has gotten worse and worse over the years, and now is worse than it’s ever been. I think we should definitely consider this woman’s complaints. They’re very valid, if a little careless, and they need to be brought up.

    I really don’t think talking to the parents would’ve done anything. If these kids are as bad as she says, the parents are gonna chuckle and give a dismissive wave 9 times out of 10.

    Jessie T

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  12. dianne Report

    Yes here we go again. Will we NEVER learn? Dont kill the messenger because the message isnt wonderful!Sometimes change comes about because somebody did something politically incorrect. In fact Many needed changes came about with somebody getting fed up and creating a fire. As long as everybody’s polite things rarely get done!!!!

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  13. Allaboutfamily8 Report

    This teacher should not lose her job. She should be more careful of the vehicle she uses to vent her spleen (what WAS she thinking?!). She should be more careful of how she phrases her observations as she is in a position of public confidence.

    But the fact remains: however badly phrased her concerns were, they are the truth. And the truth sometimes hurts.

    Perhaps instead of villifying her we parents should take notice. She is right. The kids of today do not know how to work. How to think independantly. How to be thankful or respectful. How to do many basic things because parents are too busy to lay proper foundations down. We are so busy earning what we think is a proper living (which includes all sorts of guilty add ons- organized sports, expensive hobbies, latest e-gadgets) that we neglect our children horribly. And they are paying the price now.

    The school boards should fight for more accountability in the system. They need to take a deep breath and stop pandering to the ‘squeaky wheels’..those parents who complain bitterly when their little darlings fail, or are repremanded for disrespect, or are otherwise exposed to real life.

    Some one please…stop this craziness and think of the children. They need to learn that when you speak respectfully, you are treated respectfully. When you try hard, you are often rewarded, but when you fail to try you will always fail. Basic lessons that start at home.

    This teacher is not to blame for the reality that created her opinions. We should jump on this opportunity to talk about ways to fix the next generational disaster…apathy.

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  14. renlois Report

    I believe any teacher that uses negative comments or calls students names in front of the class does not belong in teaching. These names or comments stay with the student forever and feed bullying.

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  15. Momma Kyle Report

    Yes–she should be fired–teachers are supposed to be PROFESSIONALS—every job has its share of trials, and even if every word she said is true, a professional would never blog about it.
    Imagine, it you will, a minister who blogs about his congragation, or a doctor who blogs about patients. This is simply not done.

    Reply
  16. Garden Fairy Report

    I forgot to add that she also didn’t say anything that any teacher doesn’t grumble about on a bad day/week. It doesn’t mean that we don’t love our students or our job, just that we get as frustrated as anybody else and need to let off some steam.

    Having said that, the Internet may not be the smartest place to do so.

    Reply
  17. Garden Fairy Report

    I think she was possibly wrong for using the school computer (depends on the district’s stance on blogging) and that she was definitely not anonymous enough. Like it or not, we teachers are under a microscope at all times.

    That being said, I don’t think that she should be suspended at all. She names no students and it is not her fault that some of them discovered her blog. She breaks no laws or confidentiality.

    Reply
  18. Julie Kinnear Report

    As a teacher she should know that any wrong decision related to her students could cause her many problems and instead of presenting her anger on the blog she should have discussed these problems directly with the parents of the students.

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  19. CitySitter Report

    I understand the teacher’s frustration and I don’t think she should be fired. But she makes some harsh generalizations. Not all of her students could be as bad as she says. She seems burnt out.

    Maybe she should take a leave of absence after her baby is born so she gain some perspective.

    Also, it’s a bad idea to post her thoughts on public forums.

    Heck, maybe she should be fired!

    Good Luck

    Reply
  20. Darah Zeledon Report

    Very powerful conversation. I am thrilled these issues have been brought to the foreground, however, she doesn’t seem to be the most eloquent ambassador. She was obviously trying to vent her frustrations. Heck, I do so via my parenting blogging. Yet, the difference is that I am careful and use appropriate language. I know my audience and understand my children may read it one day. I (try to) sound knowledgeable, exhibit a deep love for what I do, (mothering) despite the child-rearing struggles I face. On the other hand, Ms. Munroe was clumsy, careless and muddled up what could have been a great platform to launch her message. Yes, there are dire problems plaguing our youth today and not until parents step up to the plate, will we begin to find a solution. It would be fascinating to hear what the Tiger Mom thinks of this. Her worse nightmare realized; the culmination of years of lazy, sloppy “Western” parenting. Hmmmm…. If only it were that cut and dry.

    Reply
  21. Dr. Jim Report

    No, I don’t think she should lose her job for posting her own feelings on her own blog site, but she was not at all wise to do so. (Besides, she’ll be taking maternity leave soon enough, anyway.) My concern would be that, if she honestly feels this way toward her students, it’s bound to hamper her effectiveness with them.

    As a former teacher myself (middle school, mostly) I can assure you students know how you feel about them. Their tendency is to respond accordingly. Many of them (certainly not all) will rise to your expectations and encouragement or sink to your criticism.

    The teacher DOES make a difference. What could be tougher than the kids Ron Clark (“The Ron Clark Story”) encountered in Harlem, or the inner-city Los Angeles high school students Jaime Escalante (“Stand and Deliver”)took to unbelievable heights in mathematics? Those stories aren’t random; they happen every day.

    I had to learn that I couldn’t change the world with or for my students, but I could change how the world operated in my classroom.

    Just about every teacher has had one of those days when working at ANY other job looked pretty good. I guess I’m glad there weren’t blogs around when I was teaching.

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  22. Never A Dull Moment Report

    I agree with this teacher’s sentiments. I simply wish her post about “lazy whiners” wasn’t so… whiney. Or lazy for that matter. She could have addressed this more thoughtfully, she could have searched for a way to advocate for more engaged parents. She certainly should have realized what we teach kids every day: don’t post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t print out and hang in the hallway at school.

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  23. Shellie Report

    NO she should not be suspended, or terminated for writing what she felt at the time.
    She is a teacher, and she deals daily with the children in her class, but unlike years ago…her hands are tied as to how she can discipline those children. IT IS a world of entitlement, and I say that as a parent of five girls! Despite hearing “I want…” I am not prone to giving in to their demands, and at times it can make for tense moments, but I also have the ability to advise my children, I do not like their behaviour. Natalie [sic] doesn’t…she must smile and endure the abuse she herself is subjected to by both children and parents. Lets face it…if she did to the kids what they do to her in the classroom, parents would be up in arms and she would be charged with abuse….yet society makes excuses, parents make excuses for their own children’s ignorance and lack of respect for society and themselves.
    Just my humble opinion.

    Reply

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