Domain Name Change

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bloggate- Day 1: The Scandal Begins

When I woke up Wednesday morning and went to work, I certainly couldn't have foreseen what my day--and, in turn, the rest of my life--would be like from that point.

My alarm rang as normal and I hit snooze as normal. I dressed; ate breakfast (the most important meal of the day!); chatted with a friend during my drive to work; performed my requisite morning duty as lunch-room monitor whereby I'm supposed to "check for sticky fingers"--the thieving kind, not the danish-eating kind--in the food purchase area and make sure kids clean up after themselves in the dining area; and headed up to the planning center to start the day. All as normal.

But then a colleague pulled me aside to tell me that students had somehow found my blog and were all abuzz and up in arms about how I'd cursed and said negative things about students in it. The colleague wanted me to know in case it became a bigger deal.

I didn't realize, however, that it already WAS a big deal.

Within the hour, I was in a meeting with the principal who had a pile of my blogs printed out and sitting before him. Within the next 15 minutes, I was gathering my bags from my office and being escorted from the building.

I realize that maybe this escort out is standard protocol when someone is suspended from her duties, but I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from remarking to the stone-faced principal, "Um, I assure you, you don't need to walk me to the door. My 8.5 month pregnant self is hardly going to freak out on my waddle out of here!" At one point, it was a Natalie sandwich--the principal, giant melon me, followed by the school security guard. Yes, I was quite the threatening figure there. I'm sure it was supposed to be a walk of shame, but I couldn't help but feel it was over-the-top ridiculous under the circumstances. Were they concerned I would cause a scene as I left? Steal some school materials? Graffiti the walls with a parting message? At worst, I may have stopped to use the bathroom--at this point, I can pretty much always pee.

But that was that. I walked out into the morning light and drove back to my house around 9am, still unaware of quite the degree to which this blog had gotten out there.

Around 2 pm, the first reporter showed up at my house. That is when I started to feel violated. We had to pull our drapes so they couldn't peer into the house. My 3-year-old daughter was confused as to the hullabaloo surrounding her. I told her people wanted to take my picture but I didn't want them to. (I didn't know until a couple of hours later that they already had my picture from the blog cache.) I was a big story on the news that night--after the butt injection situation and among some Lindsay felony-theft news. (A shout-out to Lindsay here for trying to keep me out of the limelight, but felony theft ain't what it used to be, particularly when there are more juicy local scandals around town.) Around dinnertime, the second reporter showed up. The calls trickled in most of the day. It was bizarre that I was getting this much attention over something so mundane.

See, what I'd done was written a casual blog. I talked about everything--such exciting topics as our trip to Sesame Place, my favorite (and least favorite) restaurants, my work experiences, the diaper genie. I had 9 followers--2 of whom were my husband and myself, the other 7 were friends. When I started it, my goal was to write 1-3 times a week, though I didn't usually have time to do it that much. I ended up writing 84 blogs between 8/9/09 and 11/25/10. (I remember that, at one point, my track of blogging was about equal with my gym-going, but my gym-going eventually surpassed my blog track. I went there religiously at least 3 times a week until my morning sickness started...) I slowed down at the end, writing only about 10 blogs between June and November. I was too busy with being pregnant, teaching a new curriculum, and being harassed at school to write anything between November and February.

When I wrote, I kept things as anonymous as possible; I know there are crazies out there and I didn't want anyone trying to track me down. I blogged as "Natalie M" and had no location information or email address or anything listed or accessible. Nor did I ever mention where I worked or the names of students. Yet, there's this perception that I was trying to lambaste everyone in the school without heed. That's bollocks.

What bothers me so much about this situation is that what I wrote is being taken out of context. Of my 84 blogs, 60 of them had absolutely nothing to do with school or work. Of the 24 that mentioned it, only some of them were actually focused on it--others may have mentioned it in passing, like if I was listing things that annoyed me that day and wrote without any elaboration that students were annoying that day.

In essence, people are latching onto pieces of what I wrote without A. knowing any back story, and B. knowing the whole story. The student or parents who took it upon themselves to dig up my blog--and be assured that that is what happened, as they were looking for it and didn't just stumble upon it--are the ones who started this fracas, and they also made sure that only pieces of the whole picture came to light. I'm sure the media helped with that second part, too. After all, a juicy story is more exciting to the masses.

In the now-infamous blog that is circulating across the nation, one of the oft-quoted lines is: "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." At least one newspaper reports that the timestamp on the post was 9:01 am on a Thursday. What was conspicuously cut out of the story--and what nobody seems to feel like focusing on or even acknowledging--is the paragraph that followed it and said, "For the record, my computer froze and had to be shut down at work; when I rebooted, I didn't bother signing back on to finish this as other things to do came up. At present, then, I'm not being a renegade at all, as I'm writing this at my kitchen table." I actually wrote and posted that blog from home after 7pm. My archived blog time log records the time the post actually went live.

Furthermore, regarding my discussion of comments I'd like to make on report cards, those, too, are somewhat misunderstood. At report card time, we are obliged to add a comment to supplement and/or expand on the letter grades. We are strongly encouraged to use the "canned comments" option, which have a limited number of comments from which teachers may choose to explain students. However, much like options on those magazine quizzes where you sit there scratching your head and mumbling, "Well, I'm a little bit A, but somewhat D, too... um, I wonder what I should pick," some of the options don't work for some of the kids. Some of the students don't fit within the canned comments. And none of them allow teachers to truly reflect any sort of behavior or academic deficiency in any truly negative way. Examples of canned comments are: "cooperative in class," "achieving at ability level," "needs to complete homework," "needs to increase study time," "doesn't take advantage of second chance learning." So I took the opportunity for myself and the possible amusement of my friends--since I was content and expected for everything to stay low-key with only my 7 pals reading my ramblings--to list those real behaviors that exist but that you just aren't allowed to write. (Parents don't want to hear the truth; administrators don't want us to share the truth.) But regardless, they weren't comments meant to fit all students, and nor were they even for every student I wrote "cooperative in class" about--I was just being pithy when I made that joke.

Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, I didn't--and don't--feel negatively toward all students. As I mentioned in another blog that nobody chooses to talk about, there were delightful students in school, too. I fondly discussed some wonderful students who shined in the school's Jazz and Poetry Festival, and I even said that I was proud to be part of the school at events like that.

But the fact remains that every year, more and more, students are coming in less willing to work, to think, to cooperate. These are the students I was complaining about in my blog. The same way millions of Americans go home at the end of the day and complain about select coworkers or clients or other jerks they had to deal with, I came home and complained on my blog about those I had to deal with.

When my boss makes a general comment about something at a faculty meeting that is pointed at certain individuals but not all of us, I don't sit there and think, "I can't believe he said that about me!" I know if it's directed at me or not. I ask myself, "Are these things that I do? No? Then it must be for someone else." I think that most people are probably the same way. In fact, if people have a lack of self-perception, I'd bet they'd err on the side of thinking things are NOT being directed at them. S0 if these students or their parents (again, one of either group who felt the need to dig up year-old blog postings) see my comments and identify themselves or their kids with things they read, that, to me, indicates a problem within themselves. It feels like they're projecting their personal issues onto me. The truth hurts sometimes. Maybe instead of getting pissed off at the person pointing out the behavior, people need to examine their behavior and make a change. Better to know now before the Ghost of Christmas Future shows up.

In reading some of the posts my most angry objectors have written, I've read that I must not have been doing a good job because I couldn't possibly separate my feelings for some of the students from my work. Someone said I must be doing the minimum. That is absolutely not the case. If you read my blogs, you'd have read account after account of the preparatory work I did for lessons. You'd have read about the new lessons and units I'd created to help my students achieve success. I was not shirking my duties in or out of the classroom, regardless of the frustration I felt as a result of the disrespect and disengagement I was living through so often in the classroom. I am a professional and take pride in my work. I am perfectly capable of separating my personal feelings about some of the people I have to work with from the work I accomplish. In that way, I'm also like millions of people around the world; at some point, we all have to work with someone we don't like. But we do it anyway, get the job done, and move along. That's how life works. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

As I went to bed Wednesday night, things were about 100% the opposite of 'normal.' As I fell asleep, I couldn't help feeling how surreal the day had been. While I never in a million years would have guessed that this many people would ever see my words, and I didn't even intend them to, I stand by what I wrote and think it's good that people are aware now. There are serious problems with our education system today--with the way that schools and school districts and students and parents take teachers who enter the education field full of life and hope and a desire to change the world and positively impact kids, and beat the life out of them and villanize them and blame them for everything--and those need to be brought to light. If this 'scandal' opens the door for that conversation, so be it.

Let that conversation begin. Stay tuned here.

650 comments:

  1. I'm not one of your students. In fact, I went to high school in South Carolina. However, I do feel the need to stand up for the shy kids in your classes. I struggle every day with social anxiety disorder, and it saddens me to think my teachers might've had such a negative view of me over something I can't control. No one chooses to be shy. Please keep this in mind when you return to teaching.

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  2. Well stated! I hope your side of the story makes the top story on the news!

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  3. Very well said! I agree with you 100% Natalie! You have my full support! So sorry this is happening to you :( If there is ANYTHING I can do to help please do not hesitate to call me! Love you and have you in my prayers! Talk to you soon! Give kisses to my beautiful little cousin! Can't wait to meet the new bundle of joy :)

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  4. Dear Natalie,

    What a shame you had to go through this. I believe teachers who blog are working towards improving education. Bloggers are reflective writers. They contemplate on what they are doing and how they might improve. Bloggers are supportive of one another too. If there is one trend in education right now that has real potential for improving how we educate kids, it is with our teachers in the blogosphere. Unfortunately we are still sorting out the details, and people like you pay the price when caught in the crossfire between innovation and suspicion. We are discouraging what should be encouraged. Instead of having conversations, we are throwing punches, and the powerful get to have the last word.

    I don't think you said anything on your blog that any honest teacher hasn't at least thought of from time to time. If teachers are being punished for candor and honesty, I really don't see how we can expect any real improvements in education to take place. I wish you the best and hope you can find that place where you were meant to be.

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  5. "The truth hurts sometimes. Maybe instead of getting pissed off at the person pointing out the behavior, people need to examine their behavior and make a change."

    You took aim at students for being shy, lacking personality and being dim. How was that supposed to be anything but mean? You claim that you weren't referring to all of your students and yet you complained about kids being "too smart" or "frightfully dim", too "shy" or asking "too many questions", being "argumentative" or not advocating for themselves enough. You weren't just venting about students being disrespectful and acting entitled to whatever they want. You were taking cheap shots at all of them.

    "beat the life out of them and villanize them and blame them for everything" Sounds exactly like what you are doing to your students and their parents. Maybe the disrespect and disengagement you had to deal with in the classroom was a mirror being held up for you? Maybe you need to examine your own attitude and behavior and make a change that starts within you? For example, try being less judgmental. I couldn't read all of your former posts because you took them down, but I did read one recent post where you criticized another parent for the choices she made in a grocery store. You passed judgement on her based solely on the contents of a shopping cart. Why do you feel a need to put others down? You say that kids are getting worse each year, but maybe that's just a reflection of your own deteriorating efficacy as a teacher due to your growing cynicism?

    If you had written a post strictly about a lack of respect and sense of entitlement often displayed by our youth, I would whole-heartedly agree that a discussion about core values is warranted. But that wasn't what you wrote (yes, I read the whole post in the cache). You were simply taking mean-spirited jabs at your students for every conceivable personality flaw. If you want to trash your students that way, you shouldn't put it in writing and post it online. To say that such behavior is unprofessional is an understatement.

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  6. From all that I have read in your blog, you are an outstanding teacher who probably likes to employ original ideas in your work. My wife is a teacher as well, she teaches World History at a high school here in Virginia and can certainly attest to the issues you've identified.

    We'll be thinking of you and back you 100%. Your blog is well written and what you say in your blog should strike home with your principal. It sounds to me as if your students have a serious disciplinary problem and it's probably stemming from the "could care less" attitude from not only your principal but from the "front office" and school administrator as well.

    I hope that you win in the end, and let the firings commence on your principal and the idiots above that individual as well.

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  7. One word: unprofessional. Thank god therapists and physicians have better sense, otherwise we'd all be in trouble. As a parent, this sickens me. I'll never understand why some of these teachers seem to have such an inflated sense of self-importance. So condescending. I find it disgraceful. Ms. Natalie SHOULD be ashamed, but she probably thinks she is above that, too.

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  8. A few thoughts of my own...

    Its clear that "freedom of speech" only exists for some. Its unfortunate that politics play into our education system. Some students are just horrible! Its not your job to raise them, but only to teach them, yet some parents would think otherwise.

    It amazes me that most people see what they want to see and not the bigger picture. I too have had to ask people to "read it again" and this time with an open mind.

    Being completely detached from this issue and having an open mind, nothing in your posts offended me nor did they attack anyone personally. Maybe a few people NEED to look in the mirror...and as you remind the readers, sometimes the truth DOES hurt!

    I hope the truth doesn't hurt your future livelihood. Good luck to you!

    Dino in California

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  9. Just so you know, "The world is a vampire" is a reference to the Smashing Pumpkins song "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and is used when an event or circumstance reminds you of how stupid/evil/unfair humanity is. Natalie, what happened to you fits the bill.

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  10. You know, I read the post that got you in trouble and it reminded me of the opening chapter of Matilda by Roald Dahl. I think this was blown out of proportion. Good luck!

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  11. Seems to me that all you did was vent your frustrations by making some smartass remarks, anonymously. If anything, they were more of a goof on the bland "canned" comments you were expected to use. I have no problem with that.
    If the crux of your blog was singling out specific students for ridicule, as in "The dumb blond in the third row of fifth period English dresses like a hooker." I could see a problem. But that's not what you're doing.
    As the last commenter said, Good Luck!

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  12. The truth hurts & parents need to take responsibility for their children. Can't put it any plainer than that... So sorry you are suffering for starting the conversation, but I must say I applaud you for your strength in standing by your posts and attempting to redirect focus onto the possibility of starting an actual two-sided conversation about the state of American education today.

    Good luck to you and your family - I will be following to see how things turn out ;-)

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  13. All of your comments about what to tell parents on report cards is exactly what all teachers talk about to their friends.

    Lazy, no business being in honors, shy isn't cute in the 11th grade, those are all totally fine things that a parent could hear another parent say about their own child, but wouldn't be able to take it from a teacher. Everyone needs to get some tough skin for once in this oversensitive state we wandered into.

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  14. Having just read your blog post on cheating, I want to ask why people aren't up in arms about the behavior of "average" high school students. That's the bigger scandal.

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  15. Yes you have the right to freedom of speech, but you do not think of the students that your talking about very much do you? Like the girl who commented first on this blog. Everyone gets angry, and writing about it is very healthy, I do the same. But the fact of the matter is professionalism, and that your writing on the internet where other can see. Write in a diary, then you wouldn't have had this problem. I go to West and we have had discussions on whats happening to you. Many students did not care, but many were outraged. There are social disorders and problems at home, kids act out... You took this job, deal with it. I want to be a teacher, and I know that I wouldn't go on the internet and slander students at my school, no matter how they acted, because you do not know them personally...

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  16. Some of my own thoughts on this.

    True, someone did have to go searching to find your blog. However, it is public. While you may have been anonymous to the general public, you were not to your school. I did read the posts in full that were made available, so I read them in context to the post that was written. Not a single sentence here or a single sentence there.

    1. You did use the school computer for personal use. One sentence or 100, it does not matter. Using the excuse "But others do it" earn my children a huge lecture and a loss of privledges. "Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if no one is doing it." That is what I teach my children and encourage them to lead by example.

    2. Expounding upon your pregnancy if trying to paint a humorous picture is fine. Trying to use it as a sympathy card is sad.

    3. My issue is not the fact that you blogged, but some of what you confessed as a teacher and how you sometimes teach. “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."

    Those comments reflect how the student is doing in class way more than any grade. That is part of your job. What you signed up for.

    You also theoretically told your students to becareful what you post on the internet. Yet, you did not lead by example.

    Personally, it does not affect me what you post on the internet. People complain about work all the time. If you wish to rip people apart, keep it private. If you have complaints about work, keep it private. You can still blog on blogger and have your friends read, just change your settings.

    If I even thought about making public onmy blog 1/10th of what you shared, I would be fired in a heart beat. And, it would be deserved. And I can guarantee that I work in a much more stressful environment than you do. I work in a domestic violence shelter. Have you considered that maybe some of your troubled students may be routinely seeing Mommy get raped, beated, stabbed, or they themselves are getting raped and beaten at home? Or they themselves have just fled that and are living at a shelter and still going to school?

    Yes, childred who are living in emergency shelters do go to public school.

    Think about that next time some child is withdrawn or acts out. You don't have to be a couselor. That is not part of your job description. But it is your job to teach. That includes teaching the ones who are living a nightmare at home and still trying to put on a facade of normalcy.

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  17. From my upbringing, I have always seen teachers in a neutral or positive light. Some were bad but it's mainly their method of teaching, not their personality. I used to blame them and even got my parents on my side but that is nothing an adolescent male approaching adulthood should do.

    I read your other blog entry (cached by Google) and I agree with you on most of the reserved comments. The cookie-cutter check box don't mean anything and heck, my parents just signed all those comment cards without even reading any. What can the teacher really say? They can't be honest and risk facing a parent that overreacts and makes matters difficult. They can't make it neutral because that indicates nothing. The only thing left is praise and ambiguous phrasing. "Satisfactory" means what exactly in the classroom? "Needs improvement" on what? Some teachers spend a lot more time with kids than their parents do. To criticize truthfully is often out of concern and care - if you didn't care, why even bother to inform the parents about their little lying and cheating kid?

    Education is a sinking ship. There are those who jump on and weigh it down and others jump in and swim outside to repair the hull. Everyone else looks from afar, sometimes sending in helicopters to save a few and drop some money. Money is useless on a sinking ship and only brings it down faster when wet.

    We need more repairmen and a good captain to steer the ship away from the jagged rocks. The question is: who will those repairmen (and women) be and who will take the responsibilities and burden of being captain on the Titanic 2.0? These are jobs with risks and scrutiny but well worth the effort if the ship can sail again.

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  18. I agree with you on how there is too much Political Correctness.

    Basically the "Parents" refuse to own up to their kids mis-behavior

    and blame everyone but themselves and their kids..

    Personal responsibility has been ignored.I back you up 100 %.

    This is a decent way to vent out your frustration with how you

    are under a "Controlled Liberal" system.

    I wish you the best and would hope the "Parents" of those that

    are problem kids,get their act together and apologize to

    YOU.

    Good luck ..I ,as with others, are with you on this..Good Luck !

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  19. Good Luck with your future, if more people were as open and upfront as you then maybe the world would be a better place!

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  20. Blogging about work is getting more and more bloggers in trouble. Unfortunately in just about every case the employer wins out when the blogger is fired or disciplined. I know a guy who blogged about his job, in glowing terms, and never said a bad word about his place of employment. The reason he was fired was due to other content in his blog (weird sense of humor) that the company deemed as an embarrassment and reflection upon them.

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  21. So as no to be another person on the sidelines, clucking about an issue but not taking a stand, I am writing to share with you something I wrote to our local newspaper this morning. A copy of my email to a columnist and his editor is shown below so that you will be aware that another person understands and supports your perspective.
    Best wishes to you.

    Lew Hemmer


    Mr. Mullane,
    This is just a note of appreciation for the column you wrote for publication today (2/15/11), regarding the issue raised by the attacks on Natalie Munroe, a local teacher.
    The title of your column led me to another thought. Perhaps CB East has twins sharing the administrator's office - - - The Wit twins; "Dim" & "Nit". But then, the same could be said about many schools.
    My professional career spanning several decades was focused on behavioral therapy and social work services delivered directly to children and their families in their own homes throughout many school districts in Pennsylvania. I also had the experiences of being present during meetings in schools involving parents, school administrators, teachers and various school-based therapists, counselors, etc. For many years I was witness to administrators not addressing the basis of many of the problems with behaviors of children in schools. In addition, For many years I have witnessed disengaged parents projecting all responsibilities for managing their child's behaviors onto their child's teachers. In face-to-face consultations with hundreds of teachers throughout many counties, I heard many of the same things that this CB East teacher mentioned. This issue is just a part of the overall issues regarding our American educational system. But that is a matter for discussion at another time.
    Your column was well written and you made excellent points in this specific local issue.
    Keep up the good work. Taxpayers should know what is actually at play and legislators should know that resources should be re-directed toward ameliorating this problem in our society.

    Lew Hemmer, MSW, LSW, ACSW
    196 Eric Lane
    Lansdale, PA 19446-6621

    lew.hemmer@gmail.com
    610.731.8083

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  22. Hello, I saw this story all the way from Vancouver BC, from the Drudge Report. I support you, and wish you the very best! We should all know there are terrible students out there who just do not care about their behaviour in school, and you have finally stood up and told it like it is. I have a number of teacher friends here in Canada, and they all say the same thing, it is true what you have blogged. Please keep up your courage, and be sure to sue your foolish School if they take any action against you!

    PS. One of my teacher friends says private school pupils, where she now works, are much better behaved, if you want to keep teaching in a better environment maybe try private, but don't give up your rights in the face of blustering from your school.

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  23. I am impressed with your candor and honesty. I am nearly 76 years of age, and I recall when a principal or a teacher could be honest with a parent about the progress, or lack of progress, for a son or daughter.
    Amusing but truth story. The ranch owner and family of a large Texas ranch had a son who was slow of wit. The father went to the principal to learn about [boy's name].
    The principal explained to the father, "[Boy's name] is not doing well. Let me explain, Bill [not his name]. If you have two buckets, one is large and one is small. Drop the large bucket into the well and you can get more water. Drop the smaller bucket into the well and you get less water. [Boy's name] has a small bucket."
    The father replied, "I understand." The boy withdrew from school and was enrolled in a
    school for children with a small bucket.
    Candor on the part of the principal and parent.
    Not likely today because parents and students believe that "every child is above average" and headed for the stars.
    Reality is accepting what you have and doing the most with that.
    Best wishes to you, and do not flag. What your blog has achieved however is a minor earthquake. Whether the fissures are deep enough to cause the earth of education to become unsettled remains to be seen. I hope you are the prophetess we need. Something must change, because pour billions into education will produce even less than it has, because the culture is degraded. The Emmy Awards suggest cultural decline is growing worse.

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  24. I agree with you 100%! After grading standardized tests for many years I can confidently say kids today are not getting smarter and parents do not participate in their child’s education. But why would they, that’s what teachers are for right? :/

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  25. I'm a parent of two school age boys. I have no problem with having a teacher who is honest and open on her own time. I have a big problem with a school district which leaps to punish an educator for being honest. Sounds to me like some parents were offended that their precious little darlings were treated with disrespect instead of having their precious little butts kissed. If the school district allows this, they deserve what they get: zombie-like pseudo-teachers and lawsuits eating half their annual budgets. Keep up the good fight.

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  26. I TOTALLY support you and everyone I know does.

    For whatever it's worth, keep up the fight.

    YOU are right.

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  27. You simply wrote what everyone else thinks...including some of us parents that don't hover around our children.

    I hope it works out for the best for you. Public schools are extremely WEAK nowadays. Weak of constitution, overly administrated by politicians and over saturated by parents who, themselves, are failed socialites seeking status through the exploits of their children.

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  28. There should be more teachers like you. Given the support and PROTECTION of the administration, dedicated teachers can get through to their students. Unfortunately, the schools are abrogating their responsibility to teach the students entrusted to them in favor of pumping up their self-esteem with 'positive' comments. "Well 2 plus 2 isn't 5, Bobby, but you're really close."

    illegitimi non carborundum

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  29. I completely support you and agree with everything you've said. My son is in 4th grade, and I work with him every night with homework and studies. He's at the top of his class. But I hear every day about many other students who cannot grasp concepts learned in the previous grade, and continue to bring the class down. His teachers sent an email to parents that said there would be no valentine's party this year because so much time was lost dealing with concepts that students should already know - yet again encouraging parents to do their part. Somehow, inner city kids are getting into my son's school, which is no where near an inner city...and he's telling me it's those "black kids" that muck up the whole class (no, he's not racist). The truth is what the truth is...it's these dumb kids with lacking parents who bring the class and obviously the teachers down...and it's those in denial or bone lazy parents who are to blame, and who need to hear the truth; your kid isn't learning anything because you aren't helping. So if your kid ends up being an idiot, don;t blame the teacher...she/he did the best they could with what they had.

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  30. those real behaviors that exist but that you just aren't allowed to write. (Parents don't want to hear the truth; administrators don't want us to share the truth.)

    ah - such true words. I taught for 13 years (Pre-AP for over half of it) and I completely agree. Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head. Everyone knows there are problems in education but it seems that most do not want to address the real issues.
    Good wishes going your way as this situation works itself out. It's not easy to battle the administration I know so I hope that you'll bea ble to draw on a deep well of strength from within and without.

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  31. Just read your story from the Drudge Report. It's a shame what you have to go through. I am sure you have full support from a lot of people out here. Just because you're employed by a public school system doesn't mean you give up your first amendment right to free speech. Keep up the good fight!

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  32. Don't give up and don't give in. You are a person that is about to pave a very important road.I fully believe in free speech. I also want you to know that there are parents that want to know the truth about there children. I want a teacher that will help me help my child learn and achieve and you sound like that kind of teacher. Good luck and hang in there. I am rooting for you. Kari Z

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  33. Hang in there, be strong; I hope you're doing as well as can be expected, Natalie.

    This is sheer craziness, and I understand how it's been taken out of context. I am glad you are blogging your side; people need to read that.

    It is interesting how no one blames the person who hunted for your blog, spread the gossip and stoked the flames. That's the real troublemaker, I would think.

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  34. If I had stumbled upon your blog and was able to identify myself or one of my kids as being the problem and root of complaints, I would be horrified....at myself!

    So many parents today send their kids off to school and wash their hands of them until they return home. Many of my friends are teachers and I am amazed at their strength and courage at dealing with the students and parents on a daily basis. When we meet for coffee they certainly tell me about a select few that cause problems but they also rave about those who bring them great joy.

    I hope everything works out for you. I, for one, would happily have my child in your class.

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  35. It seems like parents make it an aim to scare teachers, which makes absolutely no sense. I'm not a teacher, but I can't imagine I'd be motivated if I felt threatened. Move to Finland I guess.

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  36. You violated no laws or privacy so in my opinion you can't be fired... but it will take you years to earn back the respect of any students or co-workers. You can't teach those that don't respect you... so up to you... best for you or best for the kids?

    PS You could have made your point better not using the foul language... jmho

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  37. I, too, am a teacher. In the 22 years I have taught, I have seen an increasing transfer of responsibility for student behavior FROM students to anyone else. I applaud your blog, your voice and your willingness to take a stand. I wonder everyday why students and parents think that teachers are not human beings, subject to the same observations and responses as every other person. Good luck with your district!

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  38. Hang in there. I don't want to be negative but some parents and administrators are turning schools into zoos. You aren't the problem. Sadly, the rest of us have to deal with unmotivated and uncivilized children raised by parents who encourage them to believe that the world is here for their entertainment. So many kids are fantastic, don't get me wrong. But in the name of advocating for their kids, some parents have completely lost their way.

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  39. Good for you for standing up for your beliefs. Although I don't agree with everything you write as a parent of a teenager I understand your point of view. Don't let anyone quiet your voice or your writing. This is America and we have freedom of speech.

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  40. From one blogging English teacher to another, I applaud your honesty, humor and practice of writing in a digital world. Keep writing and maybe through this we can teach our students to be more authentic! I will not be silenced. I hope you continue to use your voice.

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  41. FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

    THAT IS ALL.

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  42. My father was a music teacher for 48 years. K through MA. Before his retirement in 1974 he foretold that if the UNIONS, (NEA AAUP) didn't get out of the education business, that all Teachers would suffer such that the dedication aspect that attracted good teachers in the first place would be drilled out of the profession. With PC, to highly paid administrators and such I think he was right. Now it seems "free speech" will now be sacrificed and another teacher scape-goated for merely expressing the truth of why "Johnny can't Read"
    Parents and Administrators need to wise up. Parents need to discipline their children and Administrators need to give teachers more flexibility to educate students. If you get fired over this, I would write a fictional book with such detailed descriptions that all in the town would know who the jerks are and who aren't. Of course a work a fiction is just that, any association with folks real or imaginary are purely coincidental. Keep up the good work Nat or should I say Kitty Kelly.

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  43. P.S. Now that you were picked up on Drudge you're going to see that most people are on your side (besides gain many loyal followers like me).

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  44. To bad there are'nt more professional educators like you. To many times students think they need to be handed an A grade. Hats off to you for pointing out the complete lack of respect SOME parents and students have for our education system. As a final note a great man from texas once said. " every child needs a pat on the back. Sometimes they need a pat a little lower as well." Cal farley. Founder cal farleys boys ranch.

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  45. You have a right to blog and express yourself...it's called freedom of speech. It seems to me that your school has lousy security on your school computer system and someone there leaked what you wrote because your privacy was compromised on a 'public' computer. Your school should be held accountable for this and I would suggest in the future not to blog on a 'public' computer. It's sad that your workplace did not protect you from this...and in these times, they could be held accountable for not having a secure computer system.

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  46. Tops to you the school leaders should open they're eyes and see reality the kids of this world have little to know motivation or respect, and this mostly comes from their parents who in my mind should be standing up for one who tells it like it is WAY TO GO, You get a slice of raisin pie good luck and take care

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  47. Natalie,
    I have been saying for years now that we no longer educate our children, we just herd chickens. You can't pass, "Aww, that's ok, you're still a winner. We'll just lower the standards so you can, then shepherd you on to the next level."

    The kids need more accountability and so do the parents. In grade school, I was a horrible student. Not because I couldn't do it, but because I was lazy and didn't want to do the work. My teachers told my parents exactly that, and my parents took the time out of their busy lives to make sure I did it.

    Now, 20 years later, I'm successful in the financial industry, had a wonderful Naval Career, and I'm putting myself through college.

    Preach on Natalie, I'm with you!

    Brendan Smith
    Dallas, TX

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  48. Working in an industry where I work with and around high school aged young people. You are exactly correct in your assessment! From the way over done self-esteem movement that is pushed as the most important thing in a person's life. We tell heavy set girls that it's okay to wear tight form fitting clothes that really does not flatter them at all or, as you stated, accepting girls dressing as street walking whores. We tell boys that it's okay to wear either baggy clothing with pants below the crack of their ass showing off their underwear (a style that comes from our prisons that is a signal to others that they are ready to be someone's "bitch"), or "skinny jeans" that gender bend that are also worn "bitch" style.

    We don't teach girls to be girls and boys to be boys. They are not pushed to be the best they can be. They are not taught respect for their elders. They are told it's okay to be disrespectful and talk back. They are told that, if they fail, it's not their fault, it's the fault someone else. It's time to tell them to sit down, shut up, pay attention and learn something!

    Don't let the PC, cowardly administrators beat you down! What you said is exactly right and it's time for people to hear it!

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  49. don't let the haters get ya down.

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  50. You deserve credit not condemnation for starting this conversation. I hope this will become the focus of national attention and that you have been placed in this time, place and situation to foster change in the way our education system functions. You are 100% correct about the negative attitude on the part of the kids and the parents. Stay the course!

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  51. It's a small world- my blog is 'anonymous'- but to the people who would care, they could easily find out who I am.

    by the way- I teach college English part-time, but I homeschool my 4 kids. To much drama like you have blogged about....

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  52. Nat:

    I am an English teacher (and fellow Lit lover) and have been teaching for 6 years. I can completely sympathize with you as renegade kids in my school routinely utilize the administration to demonize teachers that confront said students about their behavior. All your principal should have done is tell the angry parent or kids in question, "Please print out every post you've made on Facebook or Tumblr about this school and bring it in and we'll compare." I have about 10 journals that I chose not to pass back to some of my renegades in case I ever get in trouble - and they are much worse than anything you've said.

    I love teaching English. It is like crack for me to step into the classroom every morning with a journal entry, 8 Latin based vocabulary words, and an analysis and group activity about an essential piece of literature. I would love for any of my angry parents to try what I do for a week and not quit by Friday. I have worked under an administration that has wholeheartedly and completely supported its teachers and I am really sorry that those administrators are a dying breed - now reduced to a group of bean counters fighting for a quickly increasing dropout rate that is due to the fact that they enforce no consequences on their students.

    Finally, the lawsuit potential for your case would make a lawyer fall down and beg over a bed of nails. Enjoy your future, because I am sure that you will be vindicated in front of all the angry kids and parents. Have a safe delivery and remember that the good teachers are never beaten because they love to do their job. Parents complain about teachers because the parents haven't done theirs with children.

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  53. First things first... Congratulations on your new baby! I think you are probably a hero to thousands and thousands of teachers, teachers spouses and intelligent, realistic parents and hopefully an "Oh ____ I should have thought THAT one through a little more!" moment for the administration. Just remember that God has a reason and a plan for everything in your life. Stay strong. You are on our prayers...

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  54. Well...at least you've found a way to generate traffic to your blog!

    You go, girl!

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  55. Natalie,

    While I wouldn't have put personal feelings about my work place in a public forum, I totally sympathize and recognize your feelings and your right for freedom of speech. I once was an idealistic teacher who committed myself to change the world one student at a time and make sure my classroom was doing that 150% of the time. (When evaluations were required during my teaching years) I always got outstanding - but with it I had kids lie about their misconduct and parents who believed their kid's word over mine and that there was some sort of conspiracy with no support from the administration. I won't even go into the bureaucratic misuse of education funds, lack of professional respect teachers receive - as well as lack of professional conduct and appearance of some teachers. You are right to believe that the majority of the kids today are disrespectful of others, life, and even themselves - it's like they don't even know what that respect should look like.

    They are also reared with a sense of entitlement. Parents do not want to hear and will not accept the fact that their children can be responsible for misbehavior - it's always the circumstance or other kids. To the point that teachers do not make the attempt to communicate with the parents. I know this from both sides - as a parent and a former teacher. As a parent, when I have asked teachers what I need to know about my child, they are stunned that I am even open to hear that my child has faults. To the point the education failed my frustrated children and my husband (a former teacher of the year and administrator) and myself. We now homeschool and will never return to the public education system. It was either try to work with the failing system and let our children get short changed in the process or protect our own. We chose to protect our own and maybe in the future when they are grown, we will volunteer our time to help a local school. Good luck to you!

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  56. If anything, this has revealed just how ridiculous school administration has become-- at least at your school. This whole situation reflects far more poorly upon them than it does you. The vast majority of the education problems in this country are the fault of administrators and parents-- the two groups who conspire to deflect scrutiny from each other.

    In time, you'll be embraced to teach in a district with far more mature administration. Keep it up! I love the acerbic wit in your writing.

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  57. Dear Natalie

    I am a late in life mom, 56 years old and raising my one and only daughter who is 13. I am raising her, "old school". You know when you have to actually "earn" your grade, do your homework, come to class prepared, take responsibility for your actions and attitudes, and be respectful and polite to teachers. I know it is a strange concept but that was how it used to be when I went to school. She is a good student and the teachers love her.

    I tell people today that if I was a teacher - you would find me in jail for duct taping the kids against the walls of the classroom. But the kids today that are disengaged come from parents who are disengaged it is the fruit of the tree - you know.

    I would like to recommend a book that will open your eyes to what you see in the classroom as well as within society today. It is called "Grave Influence" 21 Radicals and their worldviews that rule America from the grave, by Brannon Howse.

    In order for the kids to change, the family structure must go back to the way God created it - full time Father and Mother who raise and nurture the children with discipline and love. That is what is missing. It is only then when you will see change in the classroom.

    Blessings and Good Luck

    Late in Life Mom who's on your side.

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  58. You have the right to yout thoughts and to vent them on your blog. I don't see that you did anything wrong. However, you must realize that the fraternity you belong to is very protective and opinionated and doesn't like any aspect of it's operations critiqued or to come under the microscope.

    I have my own issue woth the public school and its personnel. I don't lump all teachers together. Most are extremely passionate abnoutn their professions and love what they do. However, many just need to go.

    You know who they are.

    I say hang in there. Don't cave in. Let the world see what is going on and be a force for change in your circle of influence. Bring about the positive change that's needed in our schools. our kids deserve it.

    Parents need to wake up to the fact that there is a force at work in the lives of thier children that is having a negative impact on them. It's time for these parents to start parenting and stop being "friends" with their kids.

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  59. You are my new hero! Apathy, sloth and complacency seem to have replaced the thirst for knowledge and desire for academic acheivement. Our schools have been dumbed down and our children suffer. Discipline is non-existant! How is sending a kid home from school, who doesn't want to BE in school, some form of punishment? Blog on, Sister! We all need an outlet!

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  60. Good for you. As a former teacher who left the system after 13 years in complete and utter disgust, I applaud your courage to stand up to our 'over the top' politically correct education system.

    Pretty much...every administrator in every position across the country should probably be fired...including superintendents....and the whole system should be re-built form scratch.

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  61. I wish my kids teachers would call me and tell me when my son is behaving badly, I would most likely get on his case! Have you thought of turning this unfair treatment into a comedy routine. Perhaps your humor would be better appreciated in an over 21 comedy club and then you could make money and tell the truth about teaching and other things! Go for it. Dont let the B..... get you down!

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  62. I am a home school mom who came across your story. Amazing.Unbelievable.I have to say that some of the things you complain about match up with a few of the reasons we home school. The current system destroys good teachers.

    In regards to those that are offended, "oh how can my teacher think this way about me". If that be the case, I wonder how they feel when they deal with others, say a doctor, landlord, hair stylist, bank teller, etc as we all complain about our jobs, bad days, agitating customers and clients and flaws in the systems.

    Stand up for yourself, Good luck with your battle, and blessings for your upcoming birth.

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  63. I think it would be deliciously awesome if this absurd "scandal" landed you some kind of permanent, paid blogging position ;)

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  64. You said it all when you stated, "Maybe instead of getting pissed off at the person pointing out the behavior, people need to examine their behavior and make a change."

    The sad fact is that our modern society no longer believes it necessary or proper to take personal responsibility for one's own actions. It is so much easier to reinforce the sense of entitlement.

    With your blog you unknowingly bucked the system, and exposed some unpopular truths. That's what they are really pissed off about. What happened to the day when if a kid got in trouble at school, he was in more trouble when he got home? Now when one of these "little darlings" gets in trouble, they go home and whine to mommy or daddy (assuming daddy is even around) and then the parent shows up at the school demanding an explanation concerning why their kid was singled out? The closest I ever got to teaching kids was coaching one of my son's youth sports teams. Some (not the majority but some) of the parents sucked all of the fun out of that experience.
    You did nothing wrong, and I admire that you've stuck to your guns in the days since the story broke.

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  65. Hear, Hear!! This conversation needs to start now. I was a bright eyed enthusiastic teacher myself once, but within my first few months I was treated like a criminal for trying to make my students be the best they could be. After being constantly beat to a pulp and no accountability EVER for the students & parents behavior, I gave it up. Every day teachers are made to "explain" themselves for educating while students and their parents are being allowed to run roughshod over them. All the while, teachers are being paid less than a babysitters wage to do the job of a babysitter and a parent.
    Thank you so much for not apologizing, you don't need to. You did everything right, and you stick to your guns and don't let these people demonize you. I will be praying for you and your family and I pray that this will open a very real dialogue about the problems our students really face, mediocrity and lack of discipline.

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  66. Mrs.Munroe,
    There is one thing that can and will always be the case. Simply put, the "truth hurts". Every district is up to its neck in budget problems that stems from having bloated payrolls. Many districts have positions that are not needed, or essential. Rather than trying to fix the problem, the unions trying to protect their prescious benefits, salary, and positions just add to the problems. And your view about students is absolutely correct, many are un-motivated, lazy, and even so full of themselves that they feel they have nothing to learn. I do not think any school across the country can say that these factors are not present where they are as well. I hope you take heart and comfort that you are not alone in your opinions regarding the awful state of schools, teachers, supervision, and students. Be well, and don't ever change your opinion to appease some idiot who you offended. I would challenge that person to prove me wrong.

    D

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  67. Good grief. Why should anyone read anything in context? (I write this as I ask a cadre of knuckle dragging 9th graders to interpret various lines of Romeo and Juliet...)

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  68. There's no reason why us teachers should not have the right to vent our frustrations just like anyone else in the world as long as we're not signaling out specific individuals. Besides, in doing so, we are often advocating for good changes to the system. Who goes into teaching for the money? We teach because we believe that what we are doing is a great service to young people and to our country (and because we love it). So when we see things that are a threat to good education we get upset! People should try listening to us instead of getting offended and trying to silence us.

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  69. As a teacher who has felt that worn down feeling - not due to long days or the volume of work - but by the lack of appreciation or respect (as well as those students that won't even meet you halfway) - I agree with your sentiments. I also believe that public school employees have more and more undue scrutiny than ever before. Thanks to big brother school systems, teachers are apparantly no longer allowed to voice opinions.

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  70. As a previous teacher I can totally relate to this story. However, I really don't see why people feel the need to "blog" their lives away. I always "blogged" verbally to my co-workers after school with a cocktail in my hand. I seem to recall something about being careful about what you write, it can always be used against you. Did my mother tell me that? Good luck to you. What happened stinks, but I'm not sure that you didn't ask for it by typing away about your students on the Internet (especially in this day and age).

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  71. My two cents: Although I think she should be able to express her opinions I think she sounds like an awful person that probubly shouldn't be a teacher. I sure hope my son wouldn't get a teacher like that!
    Should she be fired? I am not sure, I suppose not because she does have freedom of speach but on the other hand...It was really unprofessional, mean and inapropriate so... dont care what happens to this mean lady and her crappy opinions or her life.
    PS I agree with another comment that said 'good luck teaching in the ghetto schools', or something like that :)

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  72. It is sad that you are expected to give up your personal liberties and thoughts when you become a teacher. Though it should come as no surprise that such a liberal institution would frown upon ones freedom to disagree with what they deem to be appropriate. I am so glad to be able to send my child to a private school where students are both respectful to each other as well as the faculty.

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  73. I just ran across an article on Drudgereport about your story. I also read the comments at the end of the article and realized there are apparently a lot of parents of the students you were "ranting" about reading the article. They called you names and ranted about you and all I could think of was that their kids are probably the kids you were talking about.

    There is a MAJOR MAJOR reason why the American education system falls so far behind other developed nations and a lot of it is solely based on the situation you were blogging about. This once great nation of our has started to kowtow every interest group, lawsuit, whining parent, etc to the point that educating kids now days is a slippery slope of red tape, political correctness, children’s' feelings, etc. Education now days hardly has anything to do with actually teaching kids anymore. You have to ensure you don’t hurt their feelings by giving them a bad grade if they fail. GASP! I said fail. Yes parents some times kids fail. Not necessarily because they are stupid, but some times because they don’t want to try, or for many more reasons.

    I was once one of those kids. I never attended class in high school. When I was there I didn’t do anything. My GPA my first semester of college was a .9 because I spent too much time drinking and partying than attending class and studying. But as I grew older and matured and realized I was the problem not the teachers that my great parents would never let me blame, I straightened up. Now I am a husband and father with an MBA working for a large company.

    So, yes it is safe to say I understand your plight, and coming from an inner city school I COMPLETELY know the types of children you blog about. All I can say is keep on keepin' on and stay true to yourself. The truth does hurt. This nation's education system is in shambles for so very many reasons and blogs like your only help to bring the problem to light. I hope this sort of controversy will only help to further the proverbial "dialogue."

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  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  75. Remember you are the creator of your own destiny. You get to choose how you'll respond. Moreover, your intention and the universe may be working something new and more profound.

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  76. I wish every teacher would be allowed to hang your post in their classroom! I have walked down the halls of my son's high school, and believe me, I couldn't wait to get out of there! I must admit, I was completely ashamed at the kids' behavior. They were disrespectful, rude, many of them were pregnant, and only a minute bunch could speak a proper grammatical sentence. We are letting our kids and their culture (yes, teens have a culture all their own) dictate to us how to treat them. We have it all backwards, we (the parents) need to take charge and dictate to them how to treat us. The poor teachers are expected to teach math, science, English, etc... can't do that because they're too busy trying to teach these kids some manners that they should have learned at home at age 5! Parents we need to wake up and stop indulging our own spoiled little brats before blaming the teachers for getting a bit frustrated because WE haven't done OUR jobs as parents!

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  77. I do not see the problem. I bitch and complain about the people I work with everyday. I love my kids to death but I do not have blinders on my eyes about them. They are little people with personalities. Not everyone is going to like my kids or me for that matter. I expect my kids to be honest and respectful to their teachers even if they do not particularly care for them. Just like I hope the teacher will treat them. They can bitch and moan about them all they want as long as they treat them fairly in class. Good luck to you.

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  78. To be truthful, I wish I'd had a high school English teacher like you!

    Stick to your guns! Your students are lucky to have you.

    Jamie Irons

    A physician

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  79. Natalie, I'm out here in California and get more frustrated than you when I see the current state of our education/school system. My sons are in middle school and I am amazed at the lack of personal responsibility of some parents who feel they do not need to participate in their own child's education. They don't want to parent and rely on the school to not only teach their kids but parent as well. I am also amazed at the lack of responsibility of some of the teachers here. Notice I didn't say all or most. Some teachers work hard to inspire their students and take pride in their job. But unfortunately there are a lot more who work harder to make sure their lack of effort, inadequacy are not seen or reviewed. This is where we went off track. Personal responsibility is not being taught or "role modeled" by parents AND accountability is not being practiced with the teachers. Your situation is blowing up because you have dared to address both of these lightning rods. Just know there are millions of people (parents and teachers alike) from all over the US that will watch your situation, support you and hope for change. Stay strong and keep doing/saying what is right. Rob in California.

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  80. Keep up the fight! I think you may have found a new calling. With some determination, you may have more of an impact on education and our students than you previously imagined. You sure have my interest and support.

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  81. The description of your being marched out of the school reminds me of how the totalitarian Chinese treat prisoners in the docks at trial: A guard stands behind each prisoner with one hand on the prisoner's head, forcing him to keep his head down. This is to impress upon the prisoner that the full weight of the state is upon him and he has "sinned" against the people. The only thing missing in your case was the "hand of the people."
    Deep down inside, parents know that the government school system is failing our children, but their reaction is to shoot the messenger, not face and come to grips with the source of the problem: a system where teachers are social engineers expected to create corporate robots, not truly educated, free-thinking individuals.
    It is no wonder that you had your sense of idealism shaken. It was supposed to be. The system requires disillusioned, subdued teachers in order to work.
    Now you might not have wanted to poke your head up and get in the line of fire, but maybe it had to happen for the sake of what really is important: the children! I hope that the result of this brouhaha will benefit them.

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  82. Hi Natalie- As a teacher myself I get very worried about students looking for my private blogs or searching for information about me online to share with others, no matter how harmless. We try to teach students concepts such as tolerance and respect yet, in your case, your privacy is taken advantage of. With school so stressful, parents so demanding (and on my school's board of Governors!) and students given such liberties without responsibilities expected, blogging serves as a crucial outlet to reach out to other professionals for support that one simply can't find out work. To be fired for engaging in expressing yourself which is a cornerstone of our Anglo-American culture shows how far we've fallen from the ability to use the only power we all share- our own voice.
    Best of luck.

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  83. You're right that there's a problem with the school system, but it's not just its negative impact on teachers. It also takes kids who are "full of life and hope" and a desire to learn and beats the life out of them, too. The indifference you see when you look at a lot of students is just a reflection of a shitty system that's more about acquiring the proper credentials than about learning per se; aside from the "grade-grubbers" and the naked strivers, there are just a whole bunch of kids who are only there because they have to be. It probably wouldn't hurt to keep that in mind if you ever get your job back.

    I can only imagine what some of my teachers thought of me, not that my opinion of them was much higher. I actually graduated from CB East (1989) so there may still be a few of them hanging around.

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  84. It's kind of hard to separate the student from the parent. The parent is also a product of the dumbing down education system in America today. The parent who has been taught not to critically think, or take responsibility as a person, a citizen or a parent; only FEEL, and therefore, it is. If their child is not excelling, it must be the teacher's fault. They have been taught to think this way by the very education system you now represent. Criticize our students? Criticize the principal and coworkers? Who do you think you are? Teacher's are scapegoats, when they need to be, but mostly they are "UNION" employees with a collective bargaining voice for the Union, not the employee. They have no singular voice, only they don't know that because they too have been educated to teach with an "inside the box" mentality. Most teachers never venture out of that box. Outside the box thinking is critical thinking which is what your blog is and that is totally unacceptable to "inside the box" thinkers. It must seem daunting coming up against the political machine of political correctness, anti-critical thinking "inside the box" religious-like union political institution that is America's education system today. And we wonder why American students are falling fast behind the international standard.

    Even if you win your lawsuit, which is what this will come down to after you've been fired, you'll never be accepted back into the "inside the box" clique. You will be shunned and no school will hire you.

    Good luck in your future endeavors. At the very least, you have a great writing career ahead of you.

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  85. You should be given a national award for standing up for your free speech rights. Your state board of education should be required to solicit input from other teachers and present a report to the taxpayers on how they plan to address the teachers' legitimate concerns. The administrators who questioned the your blog posts should apologize to all the teachers in the district, refund two thirds of their last year's salary, and resign! But first, they should each be required to write the First Amendment 100 times and turn it in to the superintendent.

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  86. Natalie,

    Me: 10 year veteran public school teacher; prior service Marine--enlisted; voluntarily left teaching--returned to military due to similar professional frustrations

    You are right. You were right. You were within your rights. Thank you for having the moral courage to speak plainly.

    I'm praying for you and your family.

    Have courage.

    Semper Fidelis and in His grace,

    D.S. Pahs

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  87. "See, what I'd done was written a casual blog."

    You're not an English teacher, are you? Because if you are, then you'd know that the "had" (in your "I'd" abbreviation) only applies to "done" and not to "write/written". It's bad form.

    "See, what I'd done was write a casual blog." <-- Better.
    "See, I'd written a casual blog." <-- Best.

    That aside, I'm with you about the brain dead kids. They ARE getting worse and worse every year; my father has been teaching in the UMass system for over 30 years and each year he tells me that the kids are getting worse; more spoiled with more technology to keep them distracted and lazy. And the parents...oh, the parents. Always making excuses for their precious snowflakes.

    You keep on truckin' because you have more support than you think!

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  88. I'm curious to know whether there is a code of ethics, formal or informal, that applies here. Teaching is one of the four classic professions, the others being the clergy, medicine, and law. I am familiar with medicine and law, but not teaching and the clergy. From a physician or a lawyer, I would find it quite off-putting to see in writing a general complaint about the character or nature of their patients or clients. If it were voiced in a private conversation, I would not be so off-put, if it remained within reasonable bounds. If any of these professionals were to continue to voice or write their general complaints about their clients I would, at some point, be forced to ask whether he or she has chosen the right profession or line of work.

    I strongly support freedom of speech, but as we all know there must be some self-discipline employed or we invite attacks on this vital freedom. The other side of the coin of freedom is responsibility (quoting the late Clark Kerr, former president of the University of California).

    Best wishes,

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  89. A healthy reaction from parents to Natalie's blog would have been to contact her and determine if their child is problematic and work with her to resolve the issue, but we live in Bizarro World now and the fear of lawsuits and a touchy feely mentality, that coddles and babies students, rule over personal responsibility and reason.

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  90. YOU ARE MY HERO! I love you for not apologizing for utilizing your right to freedom of speech. You have every right to say what you want to say about your job in your own personal space on the World Wide Web. You didn't name students or coworkers. You didn't hurt anyone. As a former teacher myself, I stand by you 10000000000000%. I left teaching for the same reasons you vented about. I saw a downward trend in education (as well as parenting and student attitudes) and I realized it was bigger than anything I could do as a little, insignificant educator. Sure, I walked out of college thinking that I'd change lives and make waves, but the reality of education, as it stands in America today, is not all rainbows and unicorns. And you have (and had) every right as a U.S. citizen to say that and vent how you feel/felt. You're correct: the truth hurts. The school district proved that by escorting you out of the building that day. They don't like that you put the spotlight on what is really happening in this country.

    Again...I love you!!! I support you. You're a hero to this former teacher. *big hugs to you and your family*

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  91. All that I can say is, after reading this post, as a parent I would be proud to have you as my child's teacher, just like any other parent who cares about their child would be.

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  92. Natalie, thank you for bringing the education debacle to the forefront, even if you didn't mean to.

    Our public education system is broken and your complaints are only the tip of the iceberg.

    Jim

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  93. Everyone....in the education system is under pressure. Your comments and thousands of others should shine the light on "we've got a huge problem" now let's fix it.

    Sadly, our society has become "it's someone else's problem. We've lost our way in the ability to recognize a problem and the manner of fixing it. Sorry folks, Television is the problem. We've lost our ability to effectively communicate and the ability to judge people. We wait or are influenced by the talking heads to tell us what to think.

    Common sense is gone. "I'm scared if I don't make everyone happy."

    Managers don't manage. They've been promoted because they've learned to play the "get along game." My experience is more managers need a "back bone and not a wish bone."

    The problem won't be fixed until those who aren't afraid of speaking up....will speak up! It's only our future that's at stake.

    Parents, get control of your household. You need to be a leader and saying NO is your responsibility! Teach the Law of Consequences, there are good one's and bad ones, teach your children how to make good decisions and to how to think through the process.

    Speak UP teachers!! Tell the truth in a firm positive way. Speak up if YOU need help too. None of us are perfect.

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  94. I have come to visit your blog after I read the news story on the Drudge Report. I also have a blog--many that I've maintained over the years--anonymous, etc. For me, the blog is the same as a diary, only it's on a computer.

    Now, 25 years back, would you get fired if someone found that you had written, "Some of my students are whiny weasels..." in your private diary, with a pen. Somehow, I think no, you would not have. People have lost their minds, and I certainly hope this blows over. This seems a simple case of infringement of your first amendment right. Crazy people cannot tell us what to think and write, in our own private time, no matter how intent they are doing it. You are protected by the United States constitution. This isn't Iran. Or Egypt.

    I say "sic 'em," and I hope you and your attorney make them pay something extra for this significant harassment.

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  95. Natalie, I just read the story about you & your blog on a news site. Let me say this about what you have done GOOD FOR YOU, AMEN, GIVE THIS WOMAN A MEDAL!!!! Not only are you 100% corrct in everything you've said, I don't see where you have done anything wrong in the least. Kids today have no respect for anything or anyone. They place more value on their iPhones than they do on human life. Something else I've noticed is they also have a overwhelming since of entitlement. People like yourself, should not be working for the educational system, you should be running it! Parents don't like what you have said because it would mean acknowledging that they suck as parents. Administrators don't like it, because they like to take what I call the ostrich approach, bury your head in the sand, because if you don't see the problem, then its not really there. You are doing the right thing, don't back down, don't give in & don't waiver, because YOU ARE NOT WRONG! you are very much supported and backed 100%.

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  96. Dear Natalie,

    I am following your blog after reading the article about the "scandal" on PhillyBurbs.com. As a former teacher and present mommy (also expecting my second child) I wanted to send you a message of support and solidarity. I know just what you are going through after having had a similar experience myself (both sharing your opinion of students/parents/system and sharing those views on a public website). I hope you hang tough and don't let your persecuters get the best of you. You have done nothing wrong. Some people (underperforming students/uninvolved parents) will do anything to cast the responsibility for their failings onto others and unfortunately you are the scapegoat of the moment. I genuinely feel for you and hope to hear good news about your situation.

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  97. Ridiculous. To many people/Kids believe they have a right "Not to be offended". You should be allowed to vent if you want to. as a matter of fact, it would do these kids some good if you did it in the class , in front of peers.
    Shame is a wonderful teacher. Parochial schools have known this for years and used shame as a tool. If a nun rapped your knuckles in class, you did not straighten up your attitude because it hurt your hands. You adjusted your attitude because she embarrassed you in front of others.
    The real shame is that you cannot bring in their parents and embarrass them publicly for their permissive parenting. They are your children, not your friends.
    Great Job Natalie. Sue their ass if they fire you.

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  98. No one wants to hear the real truth about most things. Trying to teach people who refuse too learn is like herding cats. Problem is listening to them twenty years later complain, HOW NO ONE EVER GAVE THEM A BREAK. Then they won't even admit they blew it. ITS SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT.

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  99. I say Amen, it's about time someone speaks the truth about those kids. My daughter graduated from CBEast in 2008, and I'm all to well aware of the student population there. From the time my daughter was in elementary school, I was amazed at the disrespect these kids have toward their teachers. Just take a ride through the parking lot at the school at the cars these parents buy these 16 year old kids and you want them to work in school toward something, HAHA, that's kinda funny. Why work when everything is handed to you for nothing. I have friends who are teachers in other districts throughout the county, and have had desks hurled at them, the f...bomb called at them etc., and nothing, I mean nothing is done by the administration. It's all about saving face with the kids and their parents and the cost of the teachers. These administrators are no better than run of the mill politicians.
    My daughter is now an education major just like you and the one thing she always said, after running from her East graduation, was I'll never, and I mean never, teach in a wealthy district. The kids are awful and the parents are worse. I applaud you for your courage and wish you all the best. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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  100. Natalie, I am so sorry that you are being persecuted for your comments taken totally out of context. You obviously are a caring and concerned educator dealing with what so many of us deal with every day -- the increasing lack of accountability on the part of students, parents and society as a whole in terms of education. As a teacher with 38 years of experience, I applaud your commitment to your profession.

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  101. "Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them" So goes the oft quoted line from "Twelfth Night".

    I am a Christian and as such, I believe everything happens for a reason. We may not know the reasons behind the reason, but there you go. Reality happens, ready or not.

    Pure speculation, but it could be that you will look back at this time as the beginning of, well maybe not greatness, but something important that needed to be done.

    That's what I think anyway.

    mk

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  102. I taught HS English until this year, and I can't even tell you how much I sympathize. We English teachers are a snarky bunch and our humor is often lost on the masses. I love your "canned comments" additions. My colleagues and I had our own list.

    When you work and work all day long with kids who don't read or care to, kids whose literacy is limited to text-speak and Facebook status updates, you tend to get a wee bit frustrated. Couple that with plagiarism, spark notes, and all the other frustrations of the idealistic English teacher, and it's a wonder that we aren't all totally insane.

    If my fellow English teacher lunch time bitch sessions had been tape recorded, the stink would have hit the fan. And we all love what we do. I hope you come out of this with your career in tact and I look forward to reading more of your blog.

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  103. Hi Natalie. I don't know you; I heard about this on the news and decided to read your blog. I feel like blaming students for not participating in your class is like a business owner blaming consumers for not buying from him. "They just don't understand quality!" You do plenty of finger-pointing at students and parents but ultimately the teacher is responsible for getting/maintaining kids' attention. A truly great teacher would find a way to connect with his class rather than blaming it for "not even meeting me halfway." Behavioral flexibility is a two-way street.

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  104. Good for you. Now all you need to do is write a book, go on TV, and give speeches - to share your message to a broader audience. Let me know if you're open to hearing more about this kind of opportunity. : ) - SamIngersoll.com

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  105. Natalie, my heart goes out to you. I found the article about this development through The Drudge Report. (Which will put your traffic numbers through the roof, but I know that's not why you started your blog...)

    What bothers me about this entire situation is that you are being punished for telling the truth. The principal didn't seem interested in trying to resolve the issue by discussing it. Instead, I get the impression that by walking you out, the problems you highlighted on your blog are just supposed to "disappear." Well, they're not going to and in about twenty years, we're going to have a bunch of young adults pissed off because they really didn't learn anything in school.

    In fact, I already see this with those just graduating from college. They're 23 (or thereabouts) and whoever hires them are expected to cater to them, because they're the "digital natives." This same generation expects to be rewarded for just showing up. These are the kids who received trophies because everyone received a trophy or some type of recognition because goodness knows, no one is supposed to feel left out because they're not as bright or fast as another student.

    This is so far removed from reality that to me, it's criminal. So many of these kids are getting huge wake-up calls as either a higher-ed professor or an administrator at a corporation basically gives them the truth. Work hard (and yes, that means at least pulling your 40 hours per week), don't expect to have the world revolve around you, and produce quality stuff.

    One of my favorite articles on this (another blogger!):

    http://et.kent.edu/toughsledding/?p=5379

    So. Keep on truckin'. Even if you don't go back to teaching, I think you have some very important insights to share. I believe that somehow, you'll find the right places to do just that. There are many others who are just as concerned as you are.

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  106. Good on you for venting your frustrations like a normal person. I agree with you that the education system us not perfect and has plenty of room for improvement. Blaming a single teacher for opinions of students and the institution, saying the teacher is the problem, is just silly. Enjoy your maternity leave, and your growing family. I work with and am friends with a number of former teachers that were chewed up and spit out by the system. You have not failed, your feelings are real and valuable, the system has failed you.

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  107. Now that you have a new national audience, why are we limited to reading your account of what the entries in question said, rather than reading them and making our own decisions? If they are so innocuous, why did you delete everything prior to this week?

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  108. Natalie,
    I am so sorry you are going through this ordeal. I am a former teacher of 21.5 years. I had to retire on disability due to several health challenges. I totally understand where you are coming from. However, one thing I learned early in my teaching career, was that as a teacher I lost my first amendment rights. I know that sounds unbelievable but sometime in the early 90's we were explicitly told never to go public with any statements about the system. I was even chastised about talking to other colleagues about students that were quite frustrating. So, in effect, many teachers went home to vent with spouses and significant others. When I retired I told my husband, "well, I think I have my first amendment rights back...." Frustrating. The stress of teaching is inconceivable to many. They see it as a luxury job with June, July and August off. I understand the hours and the money spent on students that each single teacher puts into their job each year. In my district students realized that they could get by with doing very little work since we were instructed to avoid failing students. Therefore, our failure rates were our responsibility so the curriculum had to be dumbed down considerably and it has continued to be dumbed down. I have recently thought about going back to work. however, I will not be returning to teaching. Hopefully at my advance age I can make a transition into something else if my health holds out.
    Good Luck. I think you are courageous. Yes, let's begin this discussion. Be the spokesman for this profession and let's get real about a really serious problem with the students and parents in this country.

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  109. I'm twenty years old and I can personally feel a divide between my peers and myself. Today's culture is addled with anti-intellectualism and even the mention of anything "high brow" is looked down upon as "pretension."

    Do you think this democratization of education is somehow leading to a more mediocre culture? Also, do you teach AP classes? I remember in high school that the separation between AP and regular was huge.

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  110. Hi,
    I should say that I am not a big fan of public education lately. The very fact that you are suspended with pay according to news reports is sort of the crux of my problems with teachers and teacher unions in general. I have friends and relatives working in government and education and all the whining about their circumstances when in fact they have better pay and benefits than most people (and union contracts!) just makes me roll my eyes a bit. That all said I think what has happened to you is wrong. You exercised a basic human right (to write!). Never mind the 1st Amendment issues, this is so very wrong on multiple levels. So carry on... win this and get your job back if you want it. You may decide however that you can make more money and be happier as a blog writer.

    To that end a suggestion. This site will be getting a LOT of hits. Sign up for a Google Adsense account and monetize this blog! ;)

    Jim

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  111. I imagine that you just said what most of the other teachers are thinking. I don't blame you a bit. I have three kids, all under 10. I have to work hard to make sure that they don't turn out like the ones you complained about. Your complaints are certainly valid - I know because I see these types of kids all the time myself. Both of my parents are retired teachers. I would say that you should hear some of the stories they have, but I'm sure you've heard it all before. Being a teacher, especially a public school teacher, has got to be one of the hardest jobs - especially given that it should be so rewarding, but so often isn't these days. I've read comments about you that suggest you shouldn't be a teacher....blah, blah, blah...these people have obviously never been teachers themselves or they'd keep their mouths shut. I hope all goes well for you.

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  112. I like how you only post the comments that don't make you look like who you really are, an idiot. FYI if this was 'big business' they would've fired your ass immediatly after reading your ridiculous blog, not give you this suspension with pay bs. The classy thing to do would be to back down and realize what you've done is wrong. You're starting a war with to army behind you.

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  113. Being offended is a self-imposed burden (and old Army CMS told me that one time, RIP Fred Marshall). Those who were offended need to step back and ask themselves WHY they felt offended. Good luck!

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  114. Natalie, I just have to say "You go girl!" I taught 8th grade math in a public school for ONE year! That was ALL it took for me to go running in another direction. I had wanted to teach since I was old enough to read and write, and it wasn't until I spent 1 full year in the education system to realize..it SUCKED! The kids were bad (not all, but 80%), the parents were worse, and the administration was the WORST! I can 100% relate to you, and I hope it all works out. I had some similar instances happen to me where I had students "dig up" stuff and "use it" to their benefit..and it's simply NOT acceptable..however, the administration takes that stuff and makes that behavior completely acceptable--so then, every student thinks that's ok. Good luck with everything, but keep in mind--you can always move on and do something else. God has an awesome plan, and had the "crap" I went through, not happen..I wouldn't be where I am today..and that's at a MUCH more appreciated and better paying job that teaching was...it's sad to see the "good" teachers being "kicked out" for meaningless crap..but I don't see it changing...Good luck and just trust God to get you and your family through it! ~B

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  115. I think what has happened is just crazy, I do not think that you have violated any sacred rules or anything. Keep blogging and keep saying what you feel. We have freedom of speech so use it. It is not your fault that ALL student today are the most apathetic and pretty much useless, I know because I am still in college. Don't let them get you down, we need more caring teachers like you. Good luck battling the scum media.

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  116. Way to go! I hope you'll keep it up and actually cause some tiny change in schools being so terrified of a handful of helicopter parents and egg-headed education PhD's that what everyone used to recognize as the day to day education of students in a "school" has long since vanished from fly-over country. But sadly, most teachers have to smile and go along to get along. Better to have a job and retirement than a kick in the gut. But you're a better person than I to at least struggle against em! You go lady. Give em hell!

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  117. Your problem is brought to you by LAWYERS .. the schools are afraid of the lawsuit as with the rest of the USA.... Lawyers run the country into the ground .. I'm not blaming them here-say but I believe your are quilty unitl proven innocent... your case exaclty .. Go find you a good PRIVATE Christian school.. You will be treated with hope and the parents will expect the BEST for their children first and foremost... Oh yea - you made Drudgreport.com

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  118. You did nothing wrong. You have a right to vent.

    Good luck. JC

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  119. Kids have teachers in the palm of their hands these days. A teacher is a "bad teacher" if he doesn't completely enable his students to be helpless and insulated from threats to their oh-so fragile egos.

    Let's get this straight: kids are inexperienced little a-holes who believe that the world centers around them and have no grasp of what it means to be self-sufficient. The teacher's job is not to make the child feel good about himself.

    It's not that the teacher should actively try to belittle students, but they shouldn't censor themselves either. Students need to be told the truth about themselves--and that is not AT ALL what happens. In fact, they are congratulated for the sake of being congratulated, without having achieved anything or been at all useful.

    This is why education is in the state it's in.

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  120. I'm very sorry this has happened to you. Something similar has recently happened to me. I taught college for 20 years without a serious blemish on my record, and then my employers were informed about a blog post I written, venting over some issues that had recently erupted in my life. Now I'm subbing in the local public school district and trying to restart my career there. I immediately made my blog private, and many of my readers did too. Good luck to you. These are the times we live in, unfortunately. Cheers.

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  121. I'm very sorry this has happened to you. Something very similar has recently happened to me. A 20 year college teaching career trashed over a blog post. Words I never expected more than a hand full of people to read were misinterpreted, and I'm out the door. Good luck to you. Cheers!

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  122. Because of the level of trust teachers are required to have, we have a limit to our first amentment rights. We are not supposed to advocate for particular political candidates, and most districts have a morals clause which limits what teachers are allowed to do.

    If you want to blog, either keep it totally sanitary, or totally hide your identity.

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  123. Hmmm, sounds like the government should come in and start controlling the internet more for state employees, after all, they control what you teach, right?

    I'm being totally sarcastic. You should have the right to say whatever your want about YOUR life...after all, it is YOUR'S, right?

    At least you'll get a good book deal out of it.

    Keep it up!

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  124. Just read an article on your plight and you have my support. I have two friend who are teachers and your criticism matches theirs entirely. The lack of parental involvement and the public schools Administrators' political correctness contributes to increasing levels of ignorance in our youth. Most cannot think critically, cannot write a coherent paragraph, and are interested in anything but what transpires in class.

    There is nothing of note that can be used against you. Your enemy is the embarassment felt by Administrators and the School Board members who know the truth and dare not speak it.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Hugh

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  125. I'm a teacher, and I could not agree more with you about student engagement or lack thereof. I wish I could go back and read your original posts, and would probably agree with you more than I care to admit publicly. Keep fighting the good fight!

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  126. I applaud you and your conviction to not let yourself be run over. Students and parents seem to be held to no level of accountability for their actions. You cannot force a student to learn and be interested. Until the onus is placed on the students to succeed then our educational system will continue to fail.

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  127. Stay strong and true to yourself. There is nothing wrong with blogging about your life experiences and your perception of those who cross your path. Maybe those parents should take a closer look at their kids, their own parenting, and the broken public school system before vilifying you.

    Give it a few weeks; something else will catch the attention of the tabloid journalists and you can go back to your life without public scrutiny.

    Best wishes.

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  128. Keep writing, Natalie. What a ridiculous reaction to your blog. My favorite: "whiny, simpering grade-grubber with an unrealistically high perception of own ability level."

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  129. Natalie,
    I must say after reading your post, I can truly see how the media has molded the story to fit their own interests! I can't say I agree with everything you wrote but it's such a sad state of affairs that, like you said, "Parents don't want to hear the truth; administrators don't want us to share the truth." If parents would only hear the truth about their children, they could do so much for them! Just one more reason I decided to home school my kids... I can see what they lack, but any teacher in a public school might be afraid to tell me the truth. I'll be keeping you in my prayers and wishing you the best.

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  130. You're a hero. You're a hero to those who teach, but are too reserved to express what they're really feeling or initiate conversations that "aren't worth the hassle" to parents who don't really care. Keep blogging, Natalie!

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  131. Natalie,

    God bless you. I would love to have you teaching my kids! You obviously care about whether or not your students perform and succeed and that says a lot.

    You spoke the truth, you did it with discretion and you got unfairly punished. I hope that it all works out for you. I read the news article in which your lawyer said he wasn't sure if it was a viable option for you to continue at your job. I hope that isn't true, but I believe it will work out for you somewhere. Hang in there and keep blogging!

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  132. You go girl!!! My wife was a teacher for 30+ years.I can tell you that everything you said in your blog, was said to me over the past 30 years. Teachers are the most under appreciated people in the universe. All a parent would need to do is stand in the hallway during class change. I bet they wouldn't ever do it more than once.

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  133. Dear Natalie,
    I have been teaching high school English for 15 years and every teacher with whom I have spoken about this issue agrees that you have a right to be heard. If teachers don't raise their voices, the public school system will never be fixed.

    I have written a novel titled "Failing Mr. Fisher" that highlights some of the more negative experiences I have had in profession. I pull no punches about how I feel about various students, parents, administrators, and even other teachers. In fact, I have become a bit of a pariah in my own profession because of this, but people need to hear the true problems about why our schools are failing.

    If you're interested in my novel, I can send you a copy. It's also listed on Amazon.com. My school email address is jwinterm@elko.k12.nv us. Feel free to contact me.

    I wish you all the best.
    Jim Wintermote

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  134. I am on your team!!!!It is so messed up that you have been treated in this manner but we have to look at education as an industry. The sad part of this industry is that our children pay the price and those in control always get paid no matter what... Like it or not teaching is a great profession considering the benefits and only a fool would say that the benefits are not a factor for someone becoming a teacher.

    As for the children I would say this: China and India spend less than 3.000 per year per pupil at their MIT Level institutions......They are producing genius and for 8-25.000 a year we are only getting average. I would like to add that in China or India if a student was lazy, stupid or disrespectful they would be dismissed with no hope of return and when they got home the parents would beat the living shi# beat out of them.

    The only way to restore education in America is to create so many loopholes vis-a-via charter and homeschooling that it will drain the swamp and restore education to its rightful place.

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  135. Good for you! I have four sons and two them fit this bill of being lazy whiners and petty criminals. I blame my self for allowing video games in my household big mistake. Guess what no video games now and no driver licences for children who don't care about school. I am drawing a line in the sand!

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  136. CHM said.......It's fine for the parents and students to bad mouth teachers by name but when a teacher does it anonymously it's a crime. Teachers have to put up with a lot from students, parents and yes even fellow faculty members. No wonder we can't keep good teachers when their first amendment rights are allowed to be trampled all over. You didn't mention anyone or anything by name. Will someone tell me what you did that was so wrong. You didn't do or say anything that all of us haven't said or felt in any line of work. I'll keep you in my prayers.

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  137. I am a highschool freshman, and I would like to say that I agree with you fully. Today, i got detention for preaching at my teacher that my class needed higher discipline, expectations, and accountability. The report card commenting system is a joke, the worst I have ever seen is "disrupts class." Students think you should do the work for them, and parents blame teachers for bad results. I feel like my generation is being raised to expect life on a silver platter, and I am sick of it. I respect your blog, and I hope all turns out well for you.

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  138. This is an example of what damage a few school district intellectuals without any life experience to enable them with wisdom can do. Ideas are what they sell. These people do nothing, create nothing and when something goes wrong, their good intentions create an environment of forgiveness if anyone even remembers. Common sense says this lady got a blog exposed to people that were not meant to read it. Thats it. I'll bet she had some juicy sex to get pregnant too. Good thing the details of that didn't get out. These intellectuals are the ones who change social views and for some reason, people listen to them. This is entirely a nanny attitude they've stirred up, and we're stuck with it. Most people want this to end.

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  139. As a fellow educator, I know exactly what you mean! There are days that it hurts to know that you put in such long hours, so many lesson plans, so much grading, so many nights that are spent reading and researching and digging for better ways to teach.... and then to have 25-150 students who just don't (pardon me) give a damn. It is frustrating. You're right- there's a lot to be said about American Education. Instead of pointing fingers at teachers (although certainly some do deserve it!), parents need to take a moment to look at their children and their methods of raising them. I LOVE my students- don't get me wrong. I rejoice every time the "get it" when I'm teaching something, I cried when some of them gave me some xmas gifts this year, and I'll probably tear up to see them walk away from school on the graduating stage. BUT, there are days that I am frustrated with Jane Doe who sat in class texting or putting on make up or writing a love note or talking to her best friend in the back of the room or who told me to f* off. I am personally and very deeply upset when John Doe gets up and walks out of the room, picks on other students, turns in a 5 paragraph essay with 1 sentence that says, "I didn't understand this" despite my 2 months of planning, preparation and lecturing... Governments are quick to say we should take away teacher funding, but what about the fact that teachers work upwards of 70-90 hours a week and teach those students to become the next line of lawyers, government officials, and *gasp* bloggers/writers?

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  140. You have my support. There are too few really thinking people. Freedom of speech is not as inalienable as most think in the internet age when vast amounts of information and comments linger for years and scraps can and are taken out of context.

    There is one thing that I wonder about. Since this is about personalization of your general non-specific observations, I wonder if the complainers are men or women. I have my suspicion but no need to answer this.

    There are mountains and there are molehills but if a person puts their nose in the dirt.... besides their unnatural perspective, they are behaving like a snake in the grass.

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  141. Wow, from 7 to 126 followers, it's amazing what can happen when the press blows something out of proportion. Good luck to you, hopefully this will all blow over soon.

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  142. Welcome to our PC world of today!

    I sense a few of your students would have trouble providing the definition for "self-reliance".

    Would the school district even allow you to quiz them on it?

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  143. Be sure and remind the kids what the 10 amendments are all about and lookie how they don't seem to apply anymore.
    Keep your backbone stiff, you will need it.
    God bless you.
    In Jesus name,
    Jay

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  144. I don't know you or anything about your school. I am a resident of central Ohio. The issues you address are exactly the ones that always come to mind when I hear about how we need to improve education in our country. Coddling, doting obnoxious parents (or, sadly in too many cases parent) are the biggest contributors to the problem. It's not like we don't know how to educate kids. Schools were far more successful at it once upon a time in the 50s and 60s even with millions of baby boomers swelling class sizes to twice what they are today. That was when America was mostly a civilized society. You deserve to keep your job and you certainly have the right to free speech. Best wishes for a just resolution to the stressful trials you're forced to endure at the hands of bullying parents and spineless administrators.

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  145. Okay, so maybe some of the things you wrote weren't very nice (but you didn't mention any student by name, and they were pretty funny!)...but I think that there is A LOT of overreacting going on. This is your blog, which I am assuming you did not advertise around school. So I think you should be free to express your frustrations as you wish.

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  146. Please know that there are many, many people out here that support teachers and support you in your fight to preserve your rights and your dignity. You are NOT a bad person or a bad teacher!

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  147. Natalie: more power to you. Truth is truth.

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  148. You're another victim in a long list of victims of political correctness.

    I think teachers' unions and the educational establishment are a dire threat to the nation but I've alway believed that the rank-and-file teachers have long been blamed for things out of their control.

    Classroom teachers have been tasked with the impossible and it's wrong that you should find your job in jeopardy for expressing what we all know to be true. Good luck to you.

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  149. Keep up the good work, you ARE a good teacher, we need more like you.

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  150. Natalie,

    I'm a frequent youtuber, and often get flack for speaking out on legislation that is anti constitutional.

    Removing all your blog posts is an action that only people of guilt do, in order to hide from ridicule. Personally, I would've left them public, and let those words stand on their own accord.

    Reality is, very few people are willing to accept the truth, especially when it "may" be about them. Also, in this day in age, many feel obliged and often look for something so they can turn around and play the part of being a victim. Afterall, everybody feels sorry for victims, right? (think 15 minutes of fame)

    STAND YOUR GROUND WOMAN! If you know the education system sucks, that the boards of ed aren't doing their job, and that many parents suck at being parents, stick to your guns. Someone needs to sound an alarm that the current status quo of society isn't working, and as a result we are failing the future generations.

    Hell, where I live in Monroe County, half of the high school kids graduating barely read, are often abandoned by their parents for 5 day stretches as they live and work in NYC, are interested in becoming a Juggalo and only worry about how many kills they can rack up playing Call of Duty online.

    We have serious problems, someone needs to start speaking out about them before we develop a generation of failures whose only purpose in life is to sit in front of a TV, and ask "do you want fries with that"

    J......

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  151. I work in public schools and I completely understand the content of the original post. The general public has NO IDEA the junk teachers put up with on a daily basis. If they did, they would be appalled and demand a change because of poor working conditions. We do what we can for as long as we can and when something better comes along, we take it. That's how a teacher in the 21st century with NCLB breathing down his/her back and over 75% of the students on free or reduced lunch survives.

    I'll use my poor district for experience and a pay check until I can move on to a more stable place with students who do not need the "forbidden" comments on report cards that are not already programmed.

    If you aren't teaching you have no idea and all comments and thoughts are nulled.

    Major props to you Natalie!!!

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  152. As a teacher, your actions and words are held to a higher standard due to your influence on children. Your obvious disdain for your students has rendered you ineffective as a CB East teacher, since no student or parent wants you in the classroom. I don't understand how you can defend what you've done. Just because the first amendment says you CAN say whatever you please, doesn't mean that you SHOULD. A few mea culpas may have gotten you alot further than continuing to 'speak the truth' (as you see it) but you've now sealed your fate. You have no one to blame for this mess but yourself.

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  153. i would just like to say i was a CB East 2001 graduate ... SNOBS all of them lol
    anyways I think you did nothing wrong and it's call freedom of speach and its not like you named names .. I would so fight them in the court systems because if someone can't vent on their blog then why is this country called USA? Just sayin ...

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  154. Fact of the matter is, someone found you and you didn't privatize your information. When you didn't make your information private, you were inviting trouble. I hate to say it, but you really have no one to blame but yourself for this entire spectacle. As an educator, you should've known better... Aren't teachers trying to teach there students that they need to be careful of what they put on the internet? You certainly failed to set a good example with that.

    You're free to think what you want, and I've honestly had the same thoughts about a lot of the kids I've had to deal with during teaching internships and counseling at summer camp. But NOTHING is private on the internet, especially with high school students.

    What bothers is me is that they didn't just "stumble upon" your blog, they were searching for it. That requires some effort, though not much. Why were they searching for you? I find this whole case to be a bit suspect.

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  155. "The truth hurts sometimes. Maybe instead of getting pissed off at the person pointing out the behavior, people need to examine their behavior and make a change."

    Oh wait, did you just suggest the crazy notion of "personal responsibility"? What's wrong with you?

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  156. I'm a former teacher (your age), and I have to say I support you one hundred percent! Anybody who thinks or believes that all children come to school motivated to learn, interested, prepared, or even sober! are sadly mistaken.. They have obviously never stepped foot inside an american classroom. In my classes 10% tops cared AT ALL about learning, school,, or their futures. Now, the vast majority are not drug addicted losers, but 95% care for little else besides video games, the next party, who is sexing who, or what "tommy" said about their new jacket. The funny thing is that most kids fully expect to walk into college and do well after not giving a hoot their entire high school career. they also expect to walk into a nice job too. i cant even find that one...
    The administration cares even less. All they are concerned about is their image (read your story), and test scores. that's it.
    After enduring verbal, and physical abuse and udder disrespect from my students AND their parents. Contempt and indifference from my administrators, and living through the complacency of my co-workers I smiled when they laid me off this past summer. Its no wonder more than half of new teachers do not make it past the 2nd year. all this for 40,000 a year... Me, and all my teacher friends in texas are on your side!!!
    go first amendment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  157. I can't help but wonder how many teachers wish they had the pluck to put their thoughts into words . . . I'm not a teacher and I have had similar thoughts about students today . . . not all of them but too many for my comfort.

    I wish you well, Natalie!

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  158. I am a teacher and I applaud you. I agree 100% with the student accountability issue. I wish I could speak about things as you do, but we all know that teachers are not allowed to have "freedom of speech" in public or in private. For one reason or another, teachers are held to standards that the Virgin Mary herself could not live up to, yet the parents (administrators) are held to no standards whatsoever.

    Keep writing!

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  159. You are absolutely correct, there are major problems with our education system, and the treatment you have endured is a symptom of it.
    I too entered the teaching profession with high hopes, and perhaps a little too much idealism. After three years, I was so burnt out I'm not sure any amount of money could lure me back.

    Best of luck to you.

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  160. Natalie,
    I teach at the University level and I have felt all of the same frustrations, you have done nothing wrong. As usual administrators will throw you under the bus.

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  161. I spent 17 years in education, and I know that what you have said is correct. The district appears to be putting the kabash on you out of fear, and if they would give any attention to what you are saying, there might be some positive change. There are amazing people teaching and they should be celebrated. There are also amazing kids that shouldn't be lumped in with those that are problematic. Maybe someone should feel sorry for the great kids who fail to receive the best education because so much time and energy is spent dealing with the slugs. A teacher and a parent's job is to rear self-reliant individuals who positively impact their environment. Being honest with oneself is step one. Sweeping the problem under the table doesn't make it go away. I know it wasn't your purpose to change the educational system, but perhaps you will because of this situation. I applaud you and wish you well as you raise your own children. Open up your own school....I'll bet you'd be successful!

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  162. Everyone has complaints about their job and everyone needs to vent. However, using a blog with your photo, a portion of your of your name and reference to your school IS NOT ANONYMOUS AND IT IS HURTFUL. You're insulting all of the students you've ever had and they unfortunately do not get a choice to be stuck in your class with your poor attitude. They have to be in your class and also have to read the insults in your "anonymous blog"? You deserve to lose your job and your reply about how bad schools and students are today does not excuse your behavior. You don't have the compassion, judgement nor the professionalism to work anywhere near children. You think you're being witty but you're really just being cruel. A child's self-esteem is challenged enough in high school. They certainly don't need you to knock them down.

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  163. I've read what's happened to you and I just have to say it's symptomatic of where society is headed. Overpriviledged children turn into overprivileged employees. It's amazing the different attitude I see in my work every day - some of the kids starting work these days. They have no expectation of "paying their dues" - everything should be handed to them on a silver platter.

    I applaud the honesty you spoke with. I mostly fault the parents who have created these overinduldged kids. Sadly, they are too stupid to realize it and can't tolerate a negative word about poor Buffy no matter how true.

    You deserve better than today's kids and that idiotic school system. Best of luck.

    And to Megan who thinks teachers should stand up for shy kids - I agree. But from everything I've read, this teacher is smart enough to distinguish shy from lazy. So point your criticism elsewhere. Everyone is a victim in today's world.

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  164. Like so many others, I have found your blog from the national headlines. I too am a high school teacher, and like you, most days I love my job. I have been teaching for 24 years, and during that time, I have seen so many changes in education. Between the administrators thinking they have all the answers, and the parents thinking their children are perfect and would never do anything wrong or ever tell a lie, the job of teaching has become much more than the art of teaching, and more of the art of paperwork.

    Please know that there are many teachers out here rooting for you and supporting your position. Don't ever stop expressing your opinions and using your rights as an American citizen.

    You have become my personal hero and I hope everything works out in your favor!!!

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  165. You go girl! What you did is tell it like it is. Any parent offended by this was (and still is in a way) your student -- the one you rant about. They should sit down with their child(ren) and figure out if they are the student you wrote about. That will take cuts and honesty. Don't hold your breath! Keep up the good work.

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  166. Just a quick note from a like-minded individual:
    You're doing a great job at a tough position-kids these days suffer from mal-parenting.
    Don't get too down on yourself, you did nothing wrong, and who knows, maybe this will be a blessing in disguise!!

    Good luck in all things, I think you'll be ok!
    Please visit my blog: civcompnet.blogspot.com

    -Ian Carroll, Houston Texas
    aka "katykarter"

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  167. I believe it is school administrative protocol to lie to parents and pat disrespectful kids on the head so they are encouraged to morph from rebellious young people into unproductive and criminalistic adults. How dare you think the truth, let alone blog it and offend the cowardly administration who should be supporting you and informing the parents of their children's problems! It's a shame that they are giving these students a license to continue a downward spiral instead of supporting teachers who are concerned enough about the situation to speak about it. You made them look bad and they just want you to go away...leave those kids alone...let them believe they can do whatever they please and suffer no retribution....this is what our society has stooped too. Stomp on the teacher who tells the truth and and make an example of her so the school administration can continue assisting these kids to self-destruct!

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  168. Lots of people looking at your stuff since it got on Drudge. Now is your chance to do some writing to vent humorously about teaching in the public schools. You know how, so try it here. This old man will be watching from Tennessee.

    Best.

    John A in Knoxville

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  169. Honestly I believe you should've exercised what you should be teaching your students...there's a time and place for everything. If teachers can't maintain professionalism, what will they have to impart on their students. In this case, you should've taken the higher ground, and wrote your comments in your diary; not online where they could be used to create hurt feelings. Hope you learn your lesson on this one. Freedom of speech works for and against you, making the need for balance, professionalism, and decorum the rule of the day.

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  170. Dear Natalie

    Students do the samething to teachers at ratemyteacher.com. I am sure not one district has done anything about those comments. The students are also directly commenting about the teacher.

    I agree with your point about starting the conversation, because it is absolutely true. This is not the Matrix, students need to work to learn the skills and concepts cannot be downloaded.

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  171. Freedom of speech is reserved for the enlightened elite , all others should be silenced. Truth should be voiced only when it is politically palatable . Let them live in freedom if they live like me.

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  172. I'm a current CB west student and I'd just like to say that I back you up 100% Mrs. Munroe. This entire thing is ridiculous. You clearly where within your legal rights to post on this blog. It's called free speech America... clearly people don't know what that is. Like you said, you're a human being and sometimes you just need to vent. You never named any of your students, you didn't even say what district you taught in. It's ridiculous that parents and students are causing such an uproar. What you said is true. Harsh, but true. Parents need to stop blaming you and look at their kids! Their darling babies are NOT angels like they perceive. It just frustrates me so much that you're being attacked for exercising your rights! I feel as though I'm the only one in my school that thinks this...I brought this situation up in one of my classes and all I got was ignorant responses and insults. Kids honestly just look for drama now-a-days. I don't understand why you can't go on an anonymous blog and rant about a day at work, when I know that us students go on facebook and rant about other classmates, coworkers, and teachers. I've seen it on facebook...kids are always saying how mean this teacher is and how much they hate that teacher. It's ridiculous that it's ok for them to do it and not for you. Please don't apologize for what you did, you don't need to. The parents, students, and even school district need to apologize to you. I know you don't know me, and I don't know you personally, but I just thought you'd like to know that there is a current CB student out there backing you up.

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  173. I just looked up this blog after seeing the story on NBC 10. I had to stop my first blog and start a new one because I kept getting reprimanded for referencing my school (even though I wrote no names and kept it totally anonymous). It drove me crazy!!! I can't even imagine getting fired over it. Good luck - and I look forward to reading about the new upcoming chapter in your life.

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  174. Public institutions should screen families prior to offering the privilege of an education at the expense of tax dollars. For example, a 'tier 1' facility would entitle a student to public education, a 'tier 2' would authorize teachers and administrators to assert a specific range of disciplinary action when necessary and might be staffed with security officers, a 'tier 3' might concentrate on developmental therapy methodology for the emotionally disturbed.

    After all, what kind of facility lets a hobo piss the pot in a soup kitchen and then threatens the cook for raising their spoon?

    These spineless administrations are enabling criminal behavior. Given the 50% dropout rate, the bar is certainly low enough.

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  175. I am a mother of 4 school age children and completely agree that most parents don't want to see the truth about their children. I agree that some parts of our school system are broken and don't allow our students to achieve their best or our teachers to DO their best.
    When you went into this profession you had to know that you would be a role model for KIDS...thousands of KIDS come through your classroom with a VERY impressionable spirit.

    Maybe the impression they give YOU is not the best. Maybe they are not inspired or driven. Maybe they chose to come to school dressed like Lady Gaga or Chelsea Clinton. Maybe maybe maybe...

    At the end of the day YOU are the adult. You are held above. You earn the pay check for a job well done. Not only for getting them through the Reading Writing and arithmetic but letting the TEENAGE drama roll off your back.

    Say it forget it...write it regret it! But don't take what is written about you personally. We are just letting off some steam anonymously...right?!

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  176. Mrs. Munroe,
    Please accept my humble congratulations for having had the heart to brave the masses in your postings. We all know that there is nothing "sacred" or "private" on the internet, and though you may not have realized the fact that eventually your words may reach the wrong people you had the courage to post it all the same. That, to me, is the exercise of one of our least used rights (at least amongst the general population), and that is the freedom of speech. As a veteran who stood up because he believed in the rights promised to us in the Constitution, and having sworn to protect and defend those rights, even if it should cost me my life, I find it humbling to see that you stood up and used those rights. It also offers me a sense of pride. My opinion of what was written is absolutely of no value whatsoever. It doesn't matter, and neither does the opinion of anyone else who chose to read it. Keep that firmly in mind: you didn't force them to read it, you didn't send out the link to it for them to read at their leisure, nor did you even mention it to them. This means that they took the time to actively seek out your writings. In this country, at least the last time I checked, we were free to speak our minds, and share our words with whomever chooses to listen and/or seek out what we have to say.

    Bravo!

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  177. I came here off a Drudge article which pointed to a PhillyBurbs.com post about "Blogging teacher blogging again" headline. Wanted to see what the fuss is here. Natalie made Drudge! That's news by itself. Hmmm.

    I don't see what the big deal is..some over zealous school "offishuls" freaking out over a blogger making comments on her own blog! Gasp!!

    I hope you're not thinking of "lawyering up" now as you haven't done _anything_ wrong here that I can see. I think this whole thing is a big tempest in a tea pot.

    Carry on, sister blogger! Wish I had your site traffic tonight I will add your site to my bloglist if anything to watch the skool offishuls having to come to grips that yes, even Teachers have opinions and they can just learn to deal with that reality.

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  178. I believe more teachers should speak out. Too many of our young people are of the opinion that they are "owed" everything. "All you have to do is be in the race and you will get a ribbon for participating!" NO, you run and if you win or come in 2nd or 3rd you get a ribbon, next time you try harder YOU get one of the placing ribbons. You are right in your comment that many parents don't want to know how their kids are doing. If they know, then they have to care and if they care, they have to become active in their lives. Many would rather throw money at the problem than time. Keep up your Blog, Keep speaking from the heart and Keep telling us the truth. It is easier to remember! Good luck to you and yours!

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  179. It truly saddens me that even after all of the feedback you've received from your scandalous blog post, you do not truly understand what you've done wrong.

    First, it's absolutely irrelevant the amount of time you devoted in your blog to work, whether it was specifically airing frustrations over students or not. The fact that you wrote about it at all, with such malice, is the problem. It absolutely does not matter if you wrote about it 1,000 times or once. I think a good example of trying to get you to understand this will be (if this hasn't already occurred)the first time one of your children tells you that they hate you. It will almost inevitably happen, even if you are a good parent (but I unfortunately doubt that you will be, as will be explained later). And it will not matter that it is just said the once, and is said in a moment of passion, and probably not actually meant. It will hurt you, just as it hurts all parents the first time they hear it. But it will do so for very personal reasons, which is where my analogy will cease to hold true.

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  180. Natalie - first of all, it's easier to find "anonymous" content on the web than you might have thought, but I suppose that's a lesson you've already digested.

    Consider the following: the focus on student-centered learning and "higher-order cognitive skills" a la Bloom's taxonomy in the last decade is aimed at making the classroom more democratic and less objective. The teacher is becoming one more person in a room full of equals, and so there's no longer any easy justification for being a demanding educator that expects her students to perform specified tasks. We now have to justify all of those demands, link them to a rubric that is based on standards and that is probably tied to some techniques for keeping interest that you learned in a recent in-service.

    This happens in all decadent cultures, so it should be no surprise by now that we are finding new ways to dumb down education under the guise of letting the student's natural curiosity to express itself (and, in effect, drive the curriculum itself). What you have experienced at work is an instance of trying to work in a system filled with dead-eyed students and bitter colleagues. What else could we expect?

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  181. First off, I'm kind of disappointed that the now notorious blogs have been taken down because the list of fantasy ideas for replacements for the canned comments sounds like a hoot. (screenshots, please?)
    As a parent, the canned comments aren't usually all that helpful while "dresses like a streetwalker" might actually be informative if the girl is changing her appearance after she leaves the house in defiance of her family's values. Hearing that your son “falls asleep in class” might also be helpful to a parent.
    I'll confess that I live in another district, but I did graduate from CB East over two decades ago and still live in the area. Back when I was a student at East, many kids walked around with a sense of entitlement, myself included. We gave our teachers a hard time for sport sometimes, but we also worked hard and making the honor roll meant your work was above average. Based on the percentage of kids who carry that distinction nowadays, it evidently just means you didn't f***-up too much. It reminds me of Lake Woebegone, “where all the children are above average.”
    Now I meet my children's teachers and, while some are better than others and each has his or her own style, I know that they are people as wonderful and flawed as anyone else. I may not like all of them, but I know what most teenagers don't: that you don't have to like someone to learn from him/her and work together. I also know that we all have bad days but most of us don't have to face dozens of teenagers and try to wrangle them into learning something on those days. For most of us, dealing with just one or two teenagers on a bad day is excruciating and exhausting.
    Natalie Munroe blogged, and it sounds like maybe sometimes it was banal, and sometimes she was having a rough day, and sometimes it was funny. Perhaps if it hadn’t been as funny, it wouldn’t have been noticed and she’d still be in the classroom. Is this really worth firing someone over? And to the CB taxpayers: do you really want to end up paying for the litigation that would surely follow? Contact your school board, call the administration building, and stand up for reason over made-for-television moral outrage. Natalie, I hope you get to keep your job. My daughter’s AP teachers have been uniformly outstanding and dedicated individuals and I would expect the same in Central Bucks.

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  182. The sad part is no one is going to read what you have to say... you've already been slandered and painted in a negative light. Sue them.

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  183. I certainly think it is a misuunderstanding on behalf of many adults. I'm about 3 years out of high school, and I think that teachers have it rough. There are the kids who literally disrespect the teachers and put all entire blame on the teacher. (Like when they start saying they can't learn but put no effort into it.) Those who assume you are out to hurt people must be narrow minded and incapable of thinking of how you would feel in your position. Nowdays, America is full of parents who let children have cellphones at the age of 8, who let their children do whatever they want in a deconstructive manner. I may have had free reign on the internet at the age of 13, but I learned the hard way of how it is in life still then. I hardly got anything for Christmas or my birthday. I didn't get a Wii or an iPad, or an expensive computer. I EARNED my keep even then.

    Sure I was in special ed classes, I still felt babied by teachers. I still felt that kids got it easy. And that teachers did not. A lot of the teachers I've dealt with were just so tired of how the system works, that they literally let kids do whatever they wanted for much of the class period. They would ignore the kids who were talking during the time that is their floor. They would let these kids fail, because no one would do anything about it. You point out these problems, and I'm sure you wish to do something about them. But while you stress upon this, everyone must understand that it's not the teacher's job to teach the kids proper manners. That's the parents job. If the kids have no proper manners, then you should be able to tell these parents exactly how it is. Parents need not baby their wonderful children, because they are just setting them up for failure. This world is a cruel place, and one should not take it lightly and push their child into the world with no clue on how cruel it is. (Think of what would happen to your babied child if he were forced to participate in someway of the current ongoing Egyptian protests! They would be helpless!) It is not a wonderful place to be. Sometimes you struggle so hard you don't even have a cellphone or the basic necessities. Children need to learn this at a very young age. That way while the world seems cruel and full of people who are greedy and will do anything at any cost, they can enjoy life.


    You can be mature and have fun too! :)

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  184. As one tax-paying parent, I wish we had more teachers like you, Ms. Natalie -- Teachers who expect more from their students than they would ever expect from themselves. I'm totally disgusted with the zero-tolerance, PC out of control policies in our school while these studens to through life thinking that everyone else owes them everything.

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  185. Welcome to the wonderful world of Socialist/Communist Amerika Commrade.

    You should have known better than to think this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    Its the land of the 6pack and home of the T.V. Slave.

    Yet still I agree with you. The majority of children today are a band of whimpering cry babies. They think they are owed something when they really need to be taught that nothing is given to you with out you paying a higher price than what you would have paid if you had earned it.

    An Megan go read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged or Fountainhead you might learn just how valuable you are and get over your shyness.

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  186. Natalie,
    I believe the school administration reaction was over the top, and may ultimately be a violation of your first amendment rights. Best of luck with that.

    That being said, after getting some additional perspective by reading the reactions of your students, I can only conclude that you may want to reconsider your career in real estate. Some of their responses were more profound than your snide, churlish comments. Your brand of cynicism, and obvious lack of emotional maturity sets a poor example.

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  187. I am sending you a site with over 300 comments. They get progressinely sad as you read through the pages. They date from 2007 to present. All written by teachers who have had the joy of their profession beaten out of them. You are not alone. My heart breaks for all of us who entered this avocation wanting to make difference.

    http://cosmicben.livejournal.com/42527.html?page=1&view=541215#comments

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  188. We love you, Natalie...

    collegemisery.com

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  189. I have to say that my experience as a high school student in the 70's only mirrors what I read in an article detailing your blog. I cannot tell you how some of the students ruined it for so many others. What you are talking about is nothing new. It's a mess with no accountability by students. They can be rude, especially manipulative and mean to students and teachers alike. It's a joke. Many are not taught respect for others and manners by their parents nor teamwork..."only get what you can by bringing down someone else and by the way you don't have to account for yourself". It really is disgusting to see. What a failure. Poor parenting is the reason.

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  190. My wife lasted less than one year in her public teaching job. That was 12 years ago, and she's been in the private schools since then. What a nightmare experience that was! You should let me tell you about it sometime. Like something from a Twilight Zone episode. God bless you Natalie. We're rooting for you.

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  191. Well I am not sure what the uproar is about. I can not see the rest of your posts, except this one, but I am sure those were removed so the media couldn't continue to scandalize you. I see nothing wrong with you did. You vented, fairly anonymously, about your job, and from the news reports it seems that most of your posts were about your day to day life and not about the kids (which by the way, I agree with what you say about a lot of kids these days).

    I hope that you beat this and continue to blog, because just from this post, I can see that you are witty and full of snark and I laughed a few times. I am sad that I did not find this blog until now. If you keep blogging I will add it to my rotation of blogs that I read.

    Good luck!

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  192. Well, as a Carpenter, I know that the nail that sticks up is the one that the hammer lands on...
    Society today is plagued by many maladies, and some of the worst stem from bad or NO parenting.
    People can be forgiving to a point, but the one thing they hate the most is the truth.......and for the one telling it, often there is NO mercy.
    After the initial storm passes, as it inevitably will, let us hope that people will re-examine your comments and decide to focus on the real problems, which you, to people's great discomfort, have shined a spotlight upon.

    Chris

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  193. I'm sorry that you and your family have been subjected to this craziness. It definitely smells of a witch hunt. You were just venting and trying to be funny. You didn't get into specifics on any student. It's sad that Your administration and parents wanted to assume the worst and lost their objectivity.

    We had an incident between a teacher and student at my kids' high school. The teacher got fed up with this student's "I don't have to do anything" attitude and told her off and shoved a desk. Because all teens have camera phones now, it was on YouTube within minutes. The parent/student tried to get their15 minutes of fame off the local news. He was disciplined but an amazing number of students came to his defense.

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  194. Dear Natalie,

    Well-behaved women rarely make history.. perhaps the Universe has a different plan for you? Hoping your path is lighter soon. Much luck with your new child!

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  195. First, Pay attention to what's important: your family and especially to your child within you.

    Now, to address the things you do for money for your family, I was disappointed to see that the blog entries at issue weren't available. Being an adult, I rather like doing my homework before the essay question, i.e. blog comments.

    My sentiments lie with you in your trouble. My observations of children, parents, school administrators, reporters talking to you, news media talking about you, busybodies posting on your blog - all these - mirror your own.

    I am disturbed by the absence of a husband in the foregoing post,the absence of refuge and comfort you would have in one.

    I hope you will forgive me if I step into that role for a moment.

    Emotions have physical existence. They can - they already do - breach the blood barrier between you and your child. Let's put this crap aside and focus on something that matters for a while, eh?

    We can talk about this later.

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  196. Where can I send a check to help defray some of your legal costs?

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  197. Natalie-

    I totally agree with what you are saying. Parents and especially administrators dont want to hear the truth about the education system and the injustice that it does to our students. I say "write on"!

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  198. You are a brave woman for speaking the truth. Many of the students I have met in my sons schools are displaying attitudes like you describe. Good luck!!!

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  199. I just saw you on Good Morning America and went to their site where I agreed with you completely!

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  200. All I wanted to do growing up was to be a teacher. So I went to college, began the program, but changed directions after I did my first classroom observations; I realized that the children and parents were in control and not the teachers and I would not be able to deal with that so I went into another field. I understand where you are coming from and I hope this raises some attention to the behavior and attitude problems in our schools.

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Please feel free to comment. However, please note that not all comments will be posted, and that it does take time to read through them, so your comments may not be read the day you write them.

Thanks to all for your thoughts.