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The GEM Debate: Should THIS Teacher Still Be Teaching?

Natalie Munroe

Remember the uproar last year after it was discovered that a Philadelphia area high school teacher had been keeping a blog where she said some not-so-kind things about the administrators, co-workers and students at her school?

Natalie Munroe was suspended from her nearly $55,000 a year job and faced the very real possibility that she could lose her job. So Munroe can count her lucky stars because she’ll be back at the blackboard this fall at the SAME SCHOOL. Good idea or bad?

Munroe is an English teacher who put her skills to use in her blog titled, “Where Are We Going & Why Are We In This Handbasket?” Catchy title, I’ll give her props for that.  But for someone who’s job it is to educate kids, Munroe needs to do a bit of learning herself.  Okay look, I have no doubt that some of what she wrote was true. I’ll bet she worked hard on lesson plans that fell on deaf ears and got tired of ‘entitled whiners’. I’m sure she did overhear some talking about partying and doing drugs and I’m sure she had more than her share of sullen, insolent teens. I don’t fault her for thinking these things; teachers are human too and under inordinate pressure these days. And this may come as a surprise but I even support her right to say these things, as long as they are in any of the following places:

*A diary

*The bathroom mirror, holding a hairbrush like a microphone

*A therapist’s office.

*With a very best friend

But I do fault Natalie for thinking that no one would find out about her blog! She was smart enough to start a blog but didn’t know that people might find and read it? Don’t most people know that by now?  To me, this is really about judgment – or rather the lack of it!

I get Munroe’s side; she’s tired and frustrated by these kids who know it all; heck I get frustrated and I only have two! But as a parent (and as much as I believe in second chances) I wouldn’t want her teaching my kids. I don’t for a second believe that if she feels that way in private it won’t somehow seep out when she’s dealing with them.

Natalie Munroe is back to blogging and, judging by some of the comments on she’s become something of a folk hero. She even has a Facebook like page where the majority of her support comes from those who feel her First Amendment rights are being threatened.

I don’t think it’s that cut and dried. Munroe has a right to say what she feels but when do her rights bump up against my rights as a parent to make sure my kids get the best education possible by people who WANT to teach them?

It’s a touchy one so let’s throw it out there for debate. Do you think it’s a good idea for a teacher who wrote unkind things about her students, to be back in the classroom? Does she have a right to publish a blog like the one she had? Would you want her teaching your child? Fire away!

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