Teacher who blogged about students out of a job.

As she should be.   Natalie Munroe should never teach again.  She clearly does not have the core in her being to teach kids.  The things she said about her students is 100% unacceptable.  I have no doubt the school district found plenty of reasons to fire her regardless of what she wrote in her blog.  Just the attitude she radiates is enough to not want to see her in a classroom.

She owed an apology to her students and their parents.  I am including a letter written to her by another educator that is just perfect in explaining to her , what she clearly does not understand.

Saturday, February 19. 2011

An Open Letter to Natalie Monroe

Dear Ms. Monroe,

I read the two blog posts where you spoke about what you are now calling Bloggate. And I am concerned. I’m concerned that you are missing the point of why people are angry. And please be aware, I’m writing this letter as a teacher, a principal and a parent.

Teaching is a tough career. It demands the best of you every day. And it takes an incredible amount out of you every day. And the dark days are bad. There are days when the kids frustrate you. There are days when the work frustrates you. And there are days when the combination of the two are almost overwhelming.

But when you teach, you work in the public trust. And you have a responsibility to that.

And when you teach kids, you have a moral obligation to work to see the best in them. The kids will see themselves by what is reflected in your eyes.

You see… you don’t teach English. You teach kids. Flawed, messed-up, never perfect, wonderful, amazing kids.

Every child you denigrated has something wonderful about them, even when you didn’t see it.

Every child you insulted has worked hard at something, even if it wasn’t on the assignment you wanted them to work hard on.

Every child you mocked has aspirations, even if they don’t match up with the ones you want them to have.

Perhaps parents did go looking for your blog… have you stopped to consider why they may have?

Perhaps a parent was frustrated hearing her child come home every day talking about the English class where the teacher made it clear that she didn’t like many of the kids – and trust me, the kids knew. There’s no way what you wrote didn’t come out in the classroom. No one is that good an actor, and teenagers are better at sussing that out than most people give them credit for.

You were unkind. More to the point, you were cruel.

You were cruel to the children that parents have entrusted to your care.

And there is no excuse for that.

And now, you are trying to argue that your act of public cruelty was somehow justified… somehow part of some larger dialogue about what is wrong with “kids today.” And you don’t seem to want to own that your actions have now contributed to the larger anti-teacher rhetoric that is out there today. But you must understand… nothing can possibly justify writing those things on a publicly accessible blog. How should your principal respond when a parent calls and says, “I don’t want my child in class with someone who writes that?” How is a child supposed to sit in your classroom when s/he will be wondering, “What does Ms. Monroe really think of me?” And – to be completely blunt – why should students respect what you do in class when you have shown them such incredible disrespect.

We had a situation at SLA where a student wrote a teacher an email that was a frustrated and snarky email. The teacher, in a very human moment, responded sarcastically via email. It was understandable from a human moment, but it was not the way we can respond as teachers – because we’re the adults.

High school kids say and do really frustrating things. They are kids. It’s almost their job. They are learning how to navigate that space between being really kids and being adult. They try on adult responses. They switch back to childish responses. And through it all, they are learning from how the adults in their lives respond to their actions.

What I told that teacher then – and what I say to you now – is that once you abdicated your responsibility as the adult, you were in the wrong. What a parent has every right to say is, “I understand that my child may have done something wrong, but now I want to talk about the behavior of the teacher.” Because, after all, we are the adults.

Whatever frustration, grief, anger you may have over the behavior of your students… you gave up the moral high ground to speak with authority about that when you wrote publicly in a manner that was profoundly disrespect of and demeaning to those who are in your care.

And finally, there was something else that really bothered me about your most recent two blog posts.

You never said you were sorry.

You hurt kids. There are students who are angry and hurt that a teacher would write those things about them. You hurt kids’ feelings… you wrote mean and cruel things about the children in your care. You may say it was not meant to be public, but you wrote mean and cruel things about the children you teach on a public blog. And those words were found, and kids were hurt by your actions.

And you never said you were sorry.

I hope that you do some serious soul-searching over the coming days. I hope you ask yourself why you teach. I would urge you to consider that your job is not to teach English, but to teach children English… and you need to keep those kids in your class at the top of your mind. And you need to ask yourself if you can find it in your heart to care about them, to listen to them, to want to know their dreams and aspirations, even when they do not line up with your own. If you can, then you need to start with what Randy Pausch defined as a real apology. To make a real apology, you must say – and mean – the following.

  1. What I did was wrong.
  1. I’m sorry that I hurt you.
  1. How do I make it better?

Finally, I would hope that you ask yourself why you are teaching. If the answer is because you loved being an English major, I’d encourage you to find another career.

You must teach because you want to help students achieve their dreams. You must teach because you care almost as much as much about the children in your class as you do about your own children. And you must approach the job with the humility to know that what you are trying to do – to help children grow up wisely and well in an ever-more-complex world – will tax you to the limits of your being. It should – it will – demand the best of you. If you can engage in that reflection… you will understand why you must apologize deeply and profoundly to your students… because you would never want another person to hurt your students as I imagine you have hurt them. You are going to have to listen to them when they tell you how your words made them feel. And you are going to have to be open to feeling that hurt with them. This isn’tthe time for, “Yes, but…” It is the time to listen deeply, with an open mind and an open heart, so that you can grow… so that you might return to the classroom in a fashion that allows all members of that community to learn.

Best,
Chris Lehmann

http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1291-An-Open-Letter-to-Natalie-Monroe.html

Good Riddance to Natalie Monroe in the teaching profession hopefully for good.  There is no place for someone like her teaching our kids.

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2 Responses to “Teacher who blogged about students out of a job.”

  1. jkdales Says:

    Excellent letter by Mr.Lehmann. They should have fired her, instead of suspending her when this first came to light. There is no doubt in my mind, as a parent the attitude she showed in her blog follows her into the classroom. There is no room for a teacher like that. I agree completely . Good riddance.

  2. ben53536 Says:

    This district should be glad they got rid of her when they did. It’s to bad it took them so long. There are plenty of good teacher’s out there who not only like their job, but like their students. She clearly did not like either one. As far as freedom of speech?? She can try to claim that, she seems like she has never taken responsibility for any thing. What a sad life she will have unless she can admit she made this mess, this is on her.

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