Let me start out by saying this about school teachers: I have no idea how they do it.
Day in, day out they get up and actually go to work where they are surrounded by … kids! It can’t be easy. It’s only sometimes rewarding. Sure, the summers are off, but the rest of the year? Some don’t even use all of their sick days!
School teachers, who willingly surround themselves with, you know, first-graders all the way up to high schoolers, have all of my heartfelt love, admiration and sympathy. Most of them do, anyway. Pennsylvania’s Natalie Munroe, whose honest, likely therapeutic, Natalie M blog has gotten her into trouble? With teachers like her, I’m a little less generous.
Honestly, if you think the best your students can do is haul trash (not that there’s anything wrong with hauling trash!), you’re in the wrong profession.
Munroe has since taken her blog down but not before some of her high school students found the blog, with pictures of the teacher herself, and re-posted a bunch of her choice condemnations. Munroe stands by her blog and believes her words were taken out of context (welcome to the Internet!).
Kids are little sociopaths — that stubborn frontal lobe doesn’t finish wiring up for years … like until they’re in their early 20s! It takes a very specific kind of person to get that, to work with it, and to find a healthy way to deal with it. It also takes a special person — maybe not even special, maybe just an aware person — to understand that the kind of language she used in her blog is that of a bully. And that even if parents and kids had never come across her end-of-the-day diatribes, there’s a kind of attitude behind her words that speaks volumes.
She refers to one kid as a “jerk” and decides another has no “redeeming qualities” other than decent academic standing. She writes of her hate for a student.
I’m not naive, I don’t believe that the glow above a teacher’s head is anything but a computer screen. I understand gallows humor — when you’re in the trenches, you say the unspeakable among colleagues. It’s a way to cope with the stress of the job. Doctors and nurses are pros at this kind of thing.
But Munroe wasn’t just dishing with co-workers. She wasn’t even speaking of her own martyred self. Heck, she wasn’t even blaming the parents! She was directing her frustration and anger in very emotionally specific terms … at kids. It doesn’t matter that she expressed her thoughts on the faceless Internet.
I’m reluctant to support efforts to fire teachers who post drunk photos on Facebook. I’m nearly always on the side of employees who blog anonymously only to get busted and fired. In this case too, I don’t think Munroe should be fired.
But I would heartily recommend that she resign and find a new career among adults. Her calling may be teaching, but she simply doesn’t like kids. She shouldn’t surround herself with them daily.