There’s a teacher in Pennsylvania name Natalie Munroe who has started a bit of a firestorm with her blog posts that certainly take the kids in her school to task. (And the parents, as well.)
Here’s a link to the story.
This is a slice of her blog that has really caught the eye of some. Natalie says:
“My students are out of control. They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.”
The question is, is Natalie Munroe tellin’ it like it is, violating the sprit of the teaching profession, off her tree, or an every-educator hero who should run for office?
Probably a mixture of all of the above. In no particular order:
1) Natalie is probably telling it like it is in some respects. I mean high school kids fancying themselves entitled? High school kids lazy? High school kids rude whiners who complain? Stop the presses! Natalie, I think you just might win a Pulitzer for uncovering a phenomenon more rare than the Udumbara flower.
2) Natalie is probably violating the spirit – I don’tknow about the law, but the spirit – of the teaching profession in some ways. I mean the point is to educate the little malcontents (I mean darling little children), not belittle them, give up on them and flame them online. (At least not without concealing your identity via an fake name and an avatar like so many other teachers do.) Come on, you gotta know that the unspoken code of teaching is that even if Johnny has all the wattage of tiny-wick tea candle burning in his belltower, you don’t say it out loud.
But I do wonder if Natalie gets a little more latitude because she’s discussing their character and attitude as opposed to their aptitudes. After all, this line of Natalie’s probably rings true with the Tiger Mom crowd a heck of a lot.
“Parents are more trying to be their kids’ friends and less trying to be their parent,” Munroe said.
I think we’ve heard that before. Then again, Miss Tiger Mom called her kids lazy, fat and stupid so pick your poison, right?
3) Is Natalie a hero? Personally, I like blunt folks. And I like that Natalie conveys a sense of being ticked off that her students, as she says in this line, “…get angry when you ask them to think or be creative.” The woman is venting and the air that’s flowing through that vent is coming from a very real place I am sure a lot of teachers in the United States can relate to.
All in all, some really fascinating questions come up…
- How are teachers obligated to behave online?
- Is someone like Natalie actually doing a service by calling attention to a HUGE problem instead of allowing it to be swept under the rug even if she’s being a bit indelicate?
- Is a teacher allowed to vent their frustration via blogging without putting their career on the line or are educators virtually required to go underground and wear a false mask for fear of professional retribution?
- Are the folks who want to flame Natalie as a bad teacher taking their eye off the ball and forgetting that if what she is saying is true, they ought not to kill the messenger and instead focus on the kids? I mean if drugs are as rampant as Natalie implies, shouldn’t somebody be showing a Nancy Reagan video or something?
Lastly, there’s the former student of Natalie’s, Jeff Schoolbraid, who weighs in with this:
“Whatever influenced her to say what she did is evidence as to why she simply should not teach.”
I wonder, is this true?