I missed the debate this week about Pennsylvania teacher Natalie Munroe, whose frank and often funny blog about teaching and her students gained her national headlines and a job suspension.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Munroe, a teacher at Central Bucks East High School in Doylestown, told the media.
Blogging as “Natalie M” for 18 months and never revealing the name of the school, the 30-year-old expressed many of the frustrations of her colleagues. She didn’t name names, but someone figured out who she was and she was summoned to the principal’s office. (Prior to this happening, her blog had nine followers, including her husband, so Munroe probably had sound reason to believe that she was safe from disclosure.)
Her principal was not happy when she admitted that she had written the blogs and the comments about students being “out of control,” and “rude, lazy, disengaged whiners.” She is suspended with pay while the Bucks County system decides her future. The Bucks County Courier Times reported that the local superintendent believes the postings merit dismissal of Munroe, who is eight months pregnant. Her lawyer disagrees, arguing that there are free speech issues at stake.
Munroe’s blog was clever. She listed comments that she wished teachers could use on student report cards , including “rat-like,” “dresses like a streetwalker,” and “frightfully dim.”
In an ABC News story, Munroe said, “I was writing it not about anyone specific, they were caricatures of students that I’ve had over the years…it was meant tongue and cheek for myself and my friends, it was not for mass consumption…I’m sorry that it was taken out of context but I stand by what I said.”
According to the local Pennsylvania TV Station WFMZ-TV:
Mrs. Munroe made no apologies for her tongue in cheek blog posts regarding students work ethic or attitude but she said she never used names of students or even the district. Munroe says she’s a tough teacher because she wants the students to learn but doesn’t always feel support from administration or parents.”
“It’s almost operated like a big business where the customer’s always right and the customer is the kids and the parents,” said Munroe.
“Some of the stuff she said, it was so mean,” said one student.
We asked if any of it was even “a little” true. He replied, “yeah.”
“I think she was stressed out in general already,” said another student. “But that was still unprofessional.”
Mrs. Monroe says she had over 80 posts and just 2 of them, from last year are in question.
“She made the teachers look bad at east and made us sound like snotty teenagers,” said another student.
Students tell me they did learn a lesson from this teacher.”Don’t put it online because it can come back and get you.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog