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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Teacher Bad-Mouths Students on Blog, Hilarity/Sadness Ensues

Posted by Charmaine Pritchett on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Pennsylvania high school teacher Natalie Munroe was just exercising her first amendment right as she as she began her day in August of 2009, confessing to her hatred of her job on her personal blog.

“I’m being a renegade right now, living on the edge and, um, blogging AT work," Munroe wrote. "However, as I’m blogging about work stuff, I give myself a free pass of conscience.” The timestamp on her post was 9:01 am.

“When I was first teaching, I put a lot of time and effort into [report card] 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 with 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,” she wrote.

“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.”

It's probably not the best decision ever to express such candor about your hatred for your government job online where millions of people have access to it. But people have a right to feel how they decide to feel, and express that. Right?

Munroe didn't reveal her name or the school's on her blog, but it was somehow discovered by her students this past week (didn't see that one coming), which has resulted in her suspension from her job.

People responded that if she's unhappy with her job, she shouldn't work there. I thought that was ridiculous. In my opinion, work is work, and life outside of that involves free speech. She doesn't deserve to be suspended. The comments she wrote that she wanted to say about her students couldn't be that bad, right?

Hold on. Here's her list of comments Munroe confessed to wishing to be able to say in her report cards:

• “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.”

• “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.”

• “Seems smarter than she actually is.”

• “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.”

• “Dunderhead.”

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

• “Rat-like.”

• “Frightfully dim.”

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

• “Dresses like a streetwalker.”

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

The same day Munroe wrote the post, another woman, presumably a friend, wrote a comment to encourage her, “My fave: Gimme an A.I.R.H.E.A.D. What’s that spell? Your kid!”

On one hand, it's human nature. We aren't always going to be happy with where we are, we aren't going to like everyone we come into contact with. (Even if they're kids.) But on the other, Munroe went through how many years of schooling? And she's teaching your kid about how to prepare for life, even though she doesn't give a fuck about them? How about not.

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