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Don't Fire Natalie Munroe Over Her Natalie Munroe Blog

By Madeline Holler |

natalie munroe, natalie munroe blog

Don't fire this teacher! But do help her change careers.

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.

Photo: strollerderby.com

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About Madeline Holler

madeline-holler

Madeline Holler

Madeline Holler is a writer, journalist, and blogger. She has written for Babble since the site launched in 2006. Her writing has appeared in various other publications both online and in print, including Salon and True/Slant (now Forbes). A native of the Midwest, Madeline lives, writes, and parents in Southern California, where she's raising two daughters and a son. Read bio and latest posts → Read Madeline's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Don't Fire Natalie Munroe Over Her Natalie Munroe Blog

  1. MM says:

    Can we get a link?

    (While I don’t think she should be teaching, I understand her sentiments.)

  2. Laura says:

    I thought she taught high school?

  3. K says:

    These weren’t little kids — these were high school students.

    I am not saying this because I feel like what she did is right…but, more so that if you are going to accuse her and say negative comments about her…at least get the story correct.

  4. Laura and K, yes, high school! She’s at Central Bucks County High School in Doylestown, Pa. Or was …

  5. Gretta says:

    While I think venting can be healthy, she definitely should have chosen a different venue for it than the Internet. How about keeping a (paper, private) journal instead? Or just talking to your spouse/mom/therapist/trusted friend instead (in private)?

    Also, to K: high school students are still kids. They may think they’re adults and try to act like adults, but they have not reached full physical or emotional maturity yet and can still be quite vulnerable. A 30 year old woman trained as a teacher should be aware of this.

    And Madeline, I agree, she should find a new career. If she still wants to teach, she could always teach adults.

  6. goddess says:

    <>
    Fair enough

    But I do disagree with this part: <>

    I know the whole schpiel about the neurons snapping during adolescence and it taking years to reform good transmissions in the brain, BUT: kids learn respect when it’s expected and required by the parents. If my kids are disrespectful at school to their teachers, then life gets mighty difficult at home for them. Giving them an easy out becuase they can’t help it? No= part of our jobs is to help them by setting the standard high, making sure they try damned hard to meet it and ishing out the consequences when they willfully fail to do so.

  7. goddess says:

    Ooops. The part to which I was agreeing was: “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.”

  8. cheri says:

    You know, I know one other teacher….who commonly refers to her “kids” by mostly unflattering terms. I just don’t get it. I think kids are disgusting snotty germ factories…selfish, snotty (wait, did I already say that?) and often displaying the WORST behaviors of their families. But, then again, I am not a teacher.

    And, oh yeah, aside from the snot and germs (which is kinda my issue), kids are, even teen kids, very much products of their environments. So, as long as they are kids, you can go ahead an not like them very much, but you have to understand that their bad behaviors are, for the most part, a direct reflection of their parents. If you are going to choose to work with them every day, you really have to have some compassion for the worst of them, and understand just how crappy their young lives must be that they have turned out so rotten, so soon.

    I say, go ahead and fire her. And all the rest of the teachers with bad attitudes. Kids do not need to be harassed in school, and I suspect that someone like this was probably not the best teacher to begin with.

  9. Goddess, I agree. Kids of all ages should be made aware of the consequences of disrespect, laziness, etc., etc. And leading by example is one of the best ways to help kids understand the value — and frankly, frequent difficulty — in respecting others. So, again, big fail on Munroe’s part.

  10. Linda, the original one says:

    Oh, I think she should be fired. She showed terrible judgement posting those sorts of things where students and parents could easily find them. Many of her comments would have been considered downright abusive had she spoken them to the intended targets. My kids are excellent students and well liked by their teachers and peers, and I wouldn’t want someone with her mind set anywhere near them. If she’s not able to engage her students, then that’s her lack of skill on display. She gives all the good, dedicated teachers out there a bad name. I love my kids’ teachers and if I ever found out they’d done something like this, I’d feel deeply betrayed and hurt whether they were talking about my specific children or not.

  11. Totally agree, LTOO. She also hasn’t apologized, which would show a tremendous acceptance of consequence and responsibility — something she thinks her students don’t have (ahem!).

  12. Correction, LTOO: Technically, I guess, I partially agree. Still think firing over blogging during off hours isn’t awesome. Everything else, though, agreed!

  13. goddess says:

    @Madeline: Can’t argue with that :-)

  14. Anonimom says:

    I cannot believe what I am reading in these comments. Rather than condemning this teacher, I think that we should be listening to her and taking a much needed wake-up call from what she is saying about students today. There is an attitude of entitlement that runs rampant in young adults today, and we have no one to blame for it other than ourselves. On this very post, people are acknowledging that teenagers can be a pain, but they are “just kids “and we should cut them some slack because “their brains aren’t fully developed.” That is horse manure! Kids act this way, at school, in public, towards just about any adult they encounter, because it is allowed and excuses are made for the behavior.

    This teacher never used her students’ names in her posts. She didn’t out any one student’s behavior. She was commenting on things as she saw them, which, last time I checked, was a right protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution. She wasn’t bullying any one student or a group of students, because she wasn’t identifying about whom she was talking. She wasn’t publicly embarrassing anyone by name. If her students saw themselves in her posts, or better yet if the parents of her students thought that they saw their own children in her posts, then perhaps they need to take a long, hard look at their own behavior. There was a time in this country when we expected children to straighten up and fly right. Maybe instead of condemning the teacher, we should tell the students and the parents of the students to sit down, be quiet, and pay attention to the teacher, both inside the classroom and on her blog.

  15. Linda, the original one says:

    Madeline, I think I’d feel differently if she was being fired about blogging about her own personal behavior in her off time. I think it’s often easy to vilify teachers and attempt to hold them to higher moral standards than we do other people & I do believe people are entitled to a personal life. In this case, she was blogging ABOUT her job and her students in an inappropriate way, which is why i think she deserves to be fired. If she worked at a corporate job and was caught blogging inappropriate things about her bosses, co-workers, or clients, she’d certainly be fired, so why would this be any different?

  16. Teacher Admirer says:

    This just-published teacher’s journal shows a different look at what happens in the schoolhouse … this time in the classroom of kids with learning disabilities and a teacher who loves his work. It’s hilarious, heartwarming … simply mesmerizing.

    It’s at http://www.adixiediary.com

  17. Linda, the original one says:

    You might as well have just added “get off my lawn!” to your post @ANONIMOM. Hasn’t that always been the elder’s spiel? “Those damn kids today!” Guess what? I have a teenager and am around them constantly and I don’t see any discernable difference between “kids these days!” and the way my friends and I acted when we were teens back in the early 80s (at which point some old coot was no doubt railing about the same supposed decline). If a teacher truly has some constructive criticism that it would benefit my child to hear, then it’s her duty to communicate that information directly to me, the parent, in a respectful manner, rather than behaving like a passive aggressive jerk. It’s stupid to believe that you should have the right to spew such vitirol about students you are paid to teach and then expect to keep your job teaching them. I sincerely can’t believe that there are people defending this ass.

  18. Linda, the original one says:

    Also, what does the constitution have to do with this? All sorts of things that can get you fired from any respectable job are protected by the first ammendment. That just means they aren’t illegal.

  19. Lisa says:

    I really wish parents had a clearer idea of some of the things we have to deal with before they start complaining.

    Quite frankly, any mommy blogger who has ever made a comment about their child on a blog has no grounds to complain.

  20. Anonimom says:

    LTOO- Well, I wasn’t a teen in the early 80′s. So I can’t speak to how they behaved back then. I was too busy starting Kindergarten and playing with My Pretty Pony. However, I spend a lot of time with teens today and many of them could do with a few less kid gloves and a few more tastes of the real world where no one thinks you’re special and your mom’s not there to defend you when you get out of line. Why do you think so many adults love Simon Cowell and the character of Sue Sylvester? Because every once in a while it is refreshing to hear someone tell it like it is without every thing being wrapped up in double rainbows to protect young, fragile egos.

  21. goddess says:

    I was a teen in the 70s and 80s and there was a lot more fear of messing with adults- teachers neighbors- cause if your parents got called there would be hell to pay. My husband was a real hard ass and troublemaker in high school, but he didn’t talk to adults the way I see and hear them talking to and treating adults now.
    Because NOW, if you correct or admonish little Pweshus, Mommy goes ballistic in your face.

  22. Monse says:

    I completely agree with Natalie Munroe’s comments! I was reading the other day about about “Tiger Moms” in Time magazine and I think we need these kind of parents in American Society. Parents today get offended when they hear the truth about their kids, probably because they dont want to deal with it.

    I am 37 with two teenagers and my kids make comments almost everyday about how lazy are their classmates and that they get frustrated because they want to learn.

    I am very happy that someone brought this matter to the table, because we need to make changes in the school system.

  23. Mel says:

    I cannot believe the comments posted on that blog!

  24. Monse says:

    I wonder what a student was doing searching for her Blog? What a busy student!

  25. Linda, the original one says:

    @ANONIMOM, no one is talking about “wrapping everything in rainbows.” If the teacher has a problem with a student part of her job is to communicate that information to the parent and child in an appropriate and respectful manner. If she can’t do that and has to resort to saying things that are downright abusive, she deserves to be fired. Period. I can’t believe there’s a debate about this.

  26. Linda, the original one says:

    @Goddess, I think it’s an improvement that parent’s aren’t beating their children and they won’t stand by while some unrelated adult is verbally abusive, but hey, feel free to disagree.

  27. Linda, the original one says:

    Just so you know exactly what you’re defending:

    “If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…
    I’m being a renegade right now, living on the edge and, um, blogging AT work.

    However, as I’m blogging about work stuff, I give myself a free pass of conscience.

    I’m in the process of entering grades, and also need to enter comments for the grades. I used to take a lot of time with this procedure, choosing just the right comment(s) for my students. If I put a negative one, I’d also put a positive one to temper it. (When I was in school, I hated when I got the same 2 or 3 comments from my teachers. It felt so insincere.)

    (For the record, my computer froze and had to be shut down at work; when I rebooted, I didn’t bother signing back on to finish this as other things to do came up. At present, then, I’m not being a renegade at all, as I’m writing this at my kitchen table.)

    Anyway, as I was saying, when I was first teaching, I put a lot of time and effort into the comments because I felt it was a great way to communicate the students’ efforts. Then it got to be a complete pain in the ass, just one more thing standing between me and being done the report cards, and suddenly I realized why I’d always gotten the same comments from my teachers: they didn’t want to do them any more than I do. (I refuse to believe the alternative reason that I’ll explore momentarily.)

    Also, as the kids get worse and worse, I find that the canned comments don’t accurately express my true sentiments about them. So now I pretty much choose “Cooperative in Class” for every kid (or, in some instances, will speak in other codes. For instance, if they talk a lot, I’ll put “is easily distracted” or “talks persistently”; if it’s a kid that has no personality, I’ll put “ability to work independently”). For some kids, though, my scornful feelings reach such fever pitch that I have a hard time even putting “cooperative in class” and have, sadly, had some kids for which none of the comments fit. (Again, this was NOT me. It couldn’t have been. I was a delight!!)

    Thus, for this blog, I will list the comments I’d like to see added to the canned comment list, as an accurate reflection of what we really want to say to these parents. Here they are, in no particular order:

    Concerned your kid is automaton, as she just sits there emotionless for an entire 90 minutes, staring into the abyss, never volunteering to speak or do anything.

    Seems smarter than she actually is.

    Has a massive chip on her shoulder.

    Too smart for her own good and refuses to play the school ‘game’ such that she’ll never live up to her true potential here.

    Has no business being in Honors.

    A complete and utter jerk in all ways. Although academically ok, your child has no other redeeming qualities.

    Lazy.

    Shy isn’t cute in 11th grade; it’s annoying. Must learn to advocate for himself instead of having Mommy do it.

    One of the few students I can abide this semester!

    Two words come to mind: brown AND nose.

    Dunderhead.

    Complainer.

    Gimme an A. I. R. H. E. A. D. What’s that spell? Your kid!

    There is such a thing as too loud in oral presentations. We shouldn’t need earplugs.

    Att-i-tude!

    Nowhere near as good as her sibling. Are you sure they’re related?

    I won’t even remember her name next semester if I see her in the hall.

    Asked too many questions and took too long to ask them. The bell means it’s time to leave!

    Has no business being in Academic.

    Rat-like.

    Lazy asshole.

    Just as bad as his sibling. Don’t you know how to raise kids?

    Sneaky, complaining, jerkoff.

    Frightfully dim.

    Dresses like a street walker.

    Whiny, simpering grade-grubber with an unrealistically high perception of own ability level.

    One of the most annoying students I’ve had the displeasure of being locked in a room with for an extended time.

    Rude, beligerent, argumentative fuck.

    Tactless.

    Weirdest kid I’ve ever met.

    Am concerned that your kid is going to come in one day and open fire on the school. (Wish I was kidding.)

    I didn’t realize one person could have this many problems.

    Your daughter is royalty. (The Queen of Drama)

    Liar and cheater.

    Unable to think for himself.

    I hear the trash company is hiring…

    Utterly loathsome in all imaginable ways.

    I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son.

    There’s no other way to say this: I hate your kid.

    These comments, I think, would serve me well when filling out the cards. Only, I don’t think parents want to hear these truths.

    Thus, the old addage… if you don’t have anything nice to say…

    …say “cooperative in class.”

    All below a header that says, “I don’t care if you lick windows, take the special bus, or occasionally pee on yourself… You hang in there, Sunshine. You’re friggin’ special.”

  28. Mel says:

    I can’t find that “header” anywhere on the webpage nor could the find feature on my browser.

  29. Mel says:

    Also LTOO, you would not enjoy reading the comments posted on the CNN blog. Most are in agreement with Ms. Munroe’s position.

  30. Linda, the original one says:

    @Mel, as I said on the other post, it’s a graphic of a “short bus” directly to the left of the opening on the link you provided. I’m not sure how you could miss it, If people support this, then I have ZERO respect for them or their opinions. I just want it to be clear to the people who post here, that THIS is what they’re supporting. Perosnally, I think anyone who would be comfortable having this piece of trash teach their child, has a screw loose.

  31. Kelly says:

    WOW. Madeline, I totally agree with you – except I do think she should be fired (I didn’t until I read that link with her actual post).

    What she has written is disgusting, and I am quite proud of those students who found this and stood up to her. I am related to a teacher and have been friends with several, but none of them are dumb enough to spew about their worst thoughts on the internet. And there is nothing taken out of context here – based on that one post it is easy to determine that teaching is not her job. Sure, a teacher may occasionally or even frequently feel this way and has a right to do so – but to make a permanent, damning record of it? And it wasn’t really that anonymous either…

    Anyway, I just know that I would not want someone like this teaching my children, end of story. It’s one thing to work in retail or an office or what have you and hate your job that much – it’s another story altogether when you’ve taken on the responsibility of teaching.

    Tell me Natalie – why would you even want to be in that profession? It’s not like the money is good; it’s not like you’re going to get a huge amount of respect – and most teachers know that going in – most teachers do it because they care about the kids and the incredible responsibility of that particular job. Most teachers know it’s not going to be easy, and they do it anyway. You have given up your right to be in that position when you post words like this on the internet.

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