“Professionalism: Noun. The conduct, aims, or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person. Example: A high level of professionalism is expected when working with clients.” So the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the key expectation of a teacher. Natalie Munroe, a Pennsylvania teacher that negatively blogged about her students, clearly lacks this quality.
Munroe, in her blog entitled “Where are we going & why are we in this handbasket,” spoke about the laziness and whining of her students, according to an article in Time magazine. One quotation pulled from her website indicated her general lack of common sense when she unreservedly said, “I hate your kid.” The New York Post pulled off a disturbing line in which Munroe claimed that she wished she could be truthful on student evaluations, writing things like, “Am concerned that your kid is going to come in one day and open fire on the school. (Wish I was kidding.)” While Munroe didn’t use any specific names in her blog, her identity was not concealed. Anyone could have guessed who she was talking about.
Blogging, a common form of “public journaling,” so to speak, may have just become the new enemy of teachers. Instead of venting in private to her friends or husband, Munroe decided to publish her anger. With such a current tech-savvy generation in school, it is no surprise that Munroe’s slanderous words were found. She deserved to be suspended without the chance of reinstatement.
While Munroe’s first amendment rights are protected under law, the question here should be whether or not she chose the right occupation. It is safe to say that all teachers encounter frustrations when working with students. As the daughter of two teachers, I’ve heard my fair share of stories of aggravating students.
The issue with students is not that they can’t learn, as some of Munroe’s opponents thought she was trying to say. For a teacher, it can be exasperating to try to work with students who really don’t want to apply themselves to their studies. However, whether or not a student wants to learn, teachers are in place to teach, and complaints, no matter how “private,” have no place in this occupation. Words that are written down are more likely to be spoken. And to put these words in a blog that the whole world can see is just downright disrespectful and very dangerous. While Munroe didn’t intend for her frustrations to be seen by parents and students, they were publicized and public outrage ensued.
Although Munroe’s original blog posts have been deleted, she still continues her blog at www.nataliemunroe.com, an unwise decision considering her status as a teacher is still suspended. There are better ways to make states aware of their too-low standards, and perhaps Munroe found the worst way to do so.