Central Bucks East High School English teacher Natalie Munroe has been suspended from her job and faces possible termination for writing a blog that was frequently critical of students at the school.
I’ve been following Christina Kristofic’s series of “tweets” and articles about Munroe’s now-deleted blog, including links to cached versions of the blog postings, and I’ve gone back and forth about whether this is offensive or harmless. At the moment, and despite my natural revulsion toward the entitled teachers’ union crowd, I am leaning toward harmless.
Then there’s the other slightly-less-than-half of me that reads the things that Munroe wrote and wonders how she can be an effective teacher when she clearly disdains all of the children she’s teaching. I mean, I hate teen-aged kids, but I’m not responsible for teaching them things. I didn’t seek out a profession where I’d have to be around them all day. It’s apparent in her writing that she doesn’t feel an educator’s connection with any of her students. If she hates her job and the students she’s there to educate so deeply, how can she not be one of those teachers that’s just punching a clock and doing nothing productive while biding time until she can collect her pension? Hmmm…am I convincing myself that this isn’t harmless after all?
Even if the content doesn’t rise to the level of fireable, if she blogged on the taxpayers’ dime, and it’s pretty clear by her own admission that she did, that’s apparently a violation of her work agreement and is reason enough to fire her no matter what the content.
OK. I just wrote that, but then I started thinking: If that’s true, then why is the content the biggest part of everyone’s complaint? If the teacher in the next classroom was blogging Macaroni and Cheese recipes from a district computer, would she have been suspended? Is she being singled out on a technicality that’s not applied to everyone else?
It’s also not helping that I generally agree with Munroe that kids are entitled, whiny Lindsay Lohan wannabe punks these days. And get off my lawn while you’re at it.
Here’s a sample.
“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.” The timestamp on the post was 9:01 a.m. on a Thursday.
“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 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.”
You can click through to the article to see the list of alternate comments Munroe offers. Her greatest sin is that she’s not funny. Like, at all.