Natalie Munroe, a high school English teacher from the Philadelphia area, has been suspended after it was revealed that she made posts in her blog describing her   students in unflattering terms.

Among other things, Munroe called the kids in her classes “rude, disengaged, lazy whiners" and complained that they were out of control and believed that they were entitled to whatever they desired. Monroe said that students curse in class, openly discuss drugs, talk back, argue about their grades, and complain about everything.

Even though the blog posts were for Munroe’s family and friends, and even though she did not name the school where she teaches, or name any of her students, school officials became aware of the blog (which has since been deleted) and suspended her with pay, pending a decision by the school board about her future.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 20 years or so, who doesn’t know that a lot of kids today are just as obnoxious as Munroe describes them? But heaven forbid anybody publicly says so! Why, that just wouldn’t be nice!

This say it ain’t so mentality is just one of the many things wrong with our society today. We can’t call a lazy student lazy, and we can’t call a jackass a jackass. No, we have to come up with politically correct terms that gloss over the problem so that nobody gets offended. Or, we ignore the problem entirely.

I’ve known a lot of great high school age kids, and I’ve known a lot whose behavior was exactly what Munroe described, or worse. Sometimes much worse.

I’ve also known quite a few schoolteachers who were fed up, disillusioned, and frustrated with the problems in their classrooms. Running small town newspapers over the years, I talked to many teachers who complained that they had suffered verbal, sometimes even physical abuse, from their students. Yet their complaints were ignored by school administrators.

Teachers have told me stories of parents who became enraged when their precious little Johnny or Jenny got a failing grade, and demanded that the teacher change it. Teachers I know have been screamed at, cursed, and threatened by parents who all know that their kids are angels who are being singled out and picked on.  Is it any wonder that the kids are out of control? Look at the role models that they have at home!

But we can’t ever say that, can we? I hope Natalie Munroe keeps her job, because she has a right to express her opinion. But to be honest with you, I wonder why anybody would want that job these days.       

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Comments on Say It Ain’t So!

  1. Most school administrators are over educated idoits ? they need to meet some of the old schoool type who didn’t take no for an answer. The woman should file a 100 million law suit against the administratiors for stopping her freedom of speach

  2. Trisha says:

    I loved your blog, Nick! Interestingly, whenever the subject of teacher pay comes up in our area (NJ,) teachers are lambasted for being overpaid and under-worked (They only work 35 hours a week! They get summers off! They get health benefits!) But how many of these folks who criticize teachers would want the job? Or the long hours (unpaid) that a teacher puts in on their own time, night after night? And many teachers have to take low paying jobs over the summer to make ends meet. I tell them, think teachers have it so good? Why don’t YOU just become a teacher?

  3. Muriel Daniels says:

    When I was in school 55 plus years ago, we lived in fear of getting called down to the principals office. Those who misbehaved were treated to a big paddle that hung behind the door, or a rubber hose across your butt. Not to mention the severe tongue lashing that was dealt while your paddling took place! Then when you got home you were punished again. Didn’t take but one time of errant behavior and the lesson was learned!

  4. Diana says:

    Coming from a teaching background, I can tell you that the education system reflects what is happening in society. The cure for this is two fold. First treat education as a privilege not a right. Remove the children who are disruptive to the education of others. In my experience that number is very small (1%), in other areas of the country that number may be slightly higher, but the majority of kids are wonderful and should be awarded for that by creating an atmosphere where they can grow and mature to their fullest potential. You might ask what to do with those that are disruptive, since they abuse the education process offer them classes that they can attend by the computer (if they don’t have one there are lots of organizations that would gladly donate for this cause) Of course they would have to networked so they can only get online for classes. For any research they will have to find their own way to their local library. See problem solved, and to think I only have an Associates Degree in early childhood eduction, but what I lack in a title I’ve more than made up by getting my PHD in experience and common sense:) Thanks for giving me my platform, now I will step down from my platform for the next contributor.

  5. Gary says:

    Couldn’t agree more with you on this one Nick. However, given the fact that we do have the right to free speech according to the First Amendment of the Constitution. Apparently somewhere through time someone must have added the sentence “As long as it doesn’t offend someone, some group, or any general IDIOT.”
    I also must agree with Muriel that is what school was for me when I was growing up. That was the easy part it was when you got home the real punishment would happen. Back then we never blamed whatever we did wrong on paint chips, some medication your mom was given, society, or any other lameo excuse they want to use today.

  6. Dale says:

    Our rights are a privilege, not a guarantee. (E.G. we do not have the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater as it threatens life.)

    In the race for material possessions, the bar just kept getting raised higher and higher until in many cases both parents had to work. So, where is the time for Junior? There is none and guilt is a constant and terrible tormentor. IMHO, guilt is often behind the “oh no, not my child” syndrome we see so often.

    I am not an expert and do not have the answers. The one thing that really concerns me is that our country is already on the bottom on a list of countries as concerns equality, medical care, life expectancy and educational achievement. (URL is: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/i.....mbo-v2.gif) What with the cuts in education that are being pushed, I wonder how we are ever going to be the best again?

  7. Dave B says:

    The kids just don’t respect anything or any one anymore. Parents expect the school system to raise their kids for them. Teachers should be allowed to teach and not have to spend all of their time “raising” kids for the parents. As bad as it is now, can you imagine how it is going to be when these kids grow up and raise their own families!

  8. Jeff says:

    Don’t get me started on this topic. I retired one year ago after a career (36 years) in education as a teacher, coach, various levels as an administrator and retired as a high school principal. DW retired last June after 30 years as a teacher. We have witnessed the changes in education. Today’s teachers better love the kids cause the parents, or lack thereof are the REAL problems. Most kids will adjust to the expectations of the teachers in their classrooms. If they don’t remove them. That is where the parents are problems-they do not respect teachers, believe the educators are always wrong and are constantly threatening lawsuits etc. And , the kids don’t get credit for their smarts-they have the parents wrapped. And then how many kids have a supportive family unit that will raise them and discipline them??? I’m done…………

  9. Elaine & Mike says:

    Great blog Nick, to be honest there would be no on earth that I would be a teacher. As you said kids now days are spoiled, unruly and down right disrespectful. They need to bring back some of the discipline they had back in the days when we were in school. They need more teachers who will speak out about the lack of discipline etc

  10. Linda says:

    You put into words my thoughts when I read about Natalie Munroe’s suspension. I remember my school days…we got the grade we earned, we did things over until we “got it”, one bad word would have us sitting at our desks doing extra work while the other kids went out for recess, we did what the teacher said or another missed recess, parents didn’t run whining to the teacher or the school board about any of the above. We had or moments but we certainly weren’t catered too. Just think, in 20 years these bratty, entitled whining kids will be running the country. Who will they whine to then?

  11. Bill Daines says:

    Nick, I’m glad you commented about this, thank you very much. I read the news story this morning. WOW! I knew that my job as a LEO was difficult but teachers have a difficult time too have. My sister has been in education for many years and goes far beyond her duties, Working with the hispanic students besides her daily teaching. She’ll tell me how a student told her I’m gonna kill ya or my mom and dad are gonna get ya. And yes some have come in with that intent. In Michigan they now are in fear of many reductions as well as in Wi. As in many occupations, you find some who don’t carry their weight but she is very good, dedicated teacher. A few years back , A Elementary School Principal was assaulted by a student’s mother. The Principal was hospitalized from the assault. The Superintendant attempted to talk her out of prosecuting, GEE WIZ! I cannot tell you the times I got called to that school. Kids get the behavior from their parents. They “teachers” are in a catch 22 situation, if they are critical it can hurt, if they tell it as it is, it really stings! But if you post any comment on the internet it can haunt you at a later date. Should it? I don’t know the answer. But I made comments during my career which did not sit well with my command. But to sit still and not say what is on your mind is also damaging.
    I hope she keeps her teaching job. And Nick, keep up the good work, and I hope I get to meet you next time you pass thru Michigan. Bill

  12. bucky says:

    I agree with you Nick, they should have given her a medal for telling it like it is…………………………..

  13. Chris says:

    My 2 cents…I am also a retired teacher and agree with your thoughts. While I believe in freedom of speech I have always lived by the credo that you only put in writing what you want everyone to read. So, perhaps poor judgment on the teacher’s part but shame on the administration for their actions! Lose your job for telling the truth? Hogwash! I chose principals just like they chose me and they supported the teachers when they were right. She needs to find a new district/principal that will discipline the students. If they had been doing their job she would have never needed to sound off in the first place!
    ‘Nuff said.

  14. T & R Martin says:

    Possible Solution: Back to Basics—
    1. Uniforms (saves parents money & anguish, all students are equal & there are no distractions).
    2. The teacher rules & parents must back them up.
    3. Parents attend PTA meetings or some reasonable facsimile.
    4. Have honor among students such as if a student disrepects a teacher, the whole class shuns that student. They learn very quickly it is not cool to mouth off or disrepect a teacher. The student will be accepted once he/she apologizes to teacher & class.
    5. Have students take pride in their school’s ACADEMIC achievements just as in their sports achievements (set up Jeopardy-style competitions).
    These are just a few rules imposed upon students when I was one, & in addition, we had a tremendous love for our country.
    When everyone realizes bullies are just jerks, THEY WILL NOT HAVE ANY FOLLOWERS.
    That teacher has already learned her lesson—HER COMMENTS WERE DEROGATORY (even if true) & MADE IN A PUBLIC FORUM FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE (DUH)!
    P.S. Sorry for the lengthy response &
    thanks Nick for the opportunity.

  15. Laura says:

    As a current teacher & having almost 23 years under my belt, I can only say that if we dealt with the real problem — lack of parenting — then our job could really be one of educating children. But the family structure is such a sacred cow that nobody is going to stand up to the parents who have abdicated their responsibility and expect the educational system to be a fix-it for everything.

    I have 4 years after this one before I can retire, and the way things are going I honestly don’t know if I’m going to last that long. What used to be an incredibly delightful job has now turned into one of scripted curriculum and apathetic students — and I teach FIFTH grade! Imagine what they’re going to be like when they’re in high school!

    I’ve maintained for years that if every teacher in our country would simply unite (not necessarily unionize),say “ENOUGH!” and walk out for even as little as a week maybe everyone would get the idea that something needs to change. But until we quit rolling over and allowing the power players to abuse us I’m afraid nothing’s going to change.

    I think the ACLU ought to take that teacher’s case. Maybe they could make enough noise and get someone to listen.

    I think my blood pressure just jumped a few points …

  16. Clay Boggess says:

    How come we haven’t heard from the ACLU? After all, they are now coming to the defense of a student who recently called their teacher a “______” on Facebook. I guess this one’s not sexy enough for them.

Leave a Reply