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Teacher Suspended Over Blog About Students

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the sticks-and-e-stones dept.

Education 634

English teacher Natalie Munroe is in a bit of hot water after she described the precious snowflakes in her class as: “Frightfully dim,” “Rat-like,” “Am concerned your kid is going to open fire on the school,” “I hate your kid,” and “Seems smarter than she actually is,” on her blog. The Central Bucks School District has suspended Natalie after parents complained to administrators. “It’s hard to know that you sat in her class for an hour and a half a day and for her to feel that way it is like, it is an awful feeling,” student Alli Woloshyn said.

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O tempora o mores (2)

menegator (539434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165744)

as subject says

Re:O tempora o mores (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165998)

Quoting Cicero, are we? I think he had a bit of advice that would apply to most Slashdot readers: "Nemo enim fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit." Or maybe that's just me and my two left feet. Seriously though, if we are going to apply famous quotes to this story, don't you think someone should mention something about bricks and walls?

Less Honesty Please... (0)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165754)

If you feel this way about our precious kiddies then please keep it to yourself. We don't want to shatter our impression of our kiddies.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (3, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165826)

That's not the issue. If she had spoken to the parents, privately, about their children that's one thing. To speak about the children in this fashion on a public forum is extremely unprofessional behavior.

Normally I'm aghast when someone gets in trouble at work for their private blog/whatever, but in this case it's perfectly reasonable.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (5, Insightful)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165926)

I not only have to agree with everything the parent says, but add two points:

1) This opens the school up for a big "emotional distress" lawsuit, and

2) I taught emotionally disturbed kids and normal kids. Even for teens, teachers are still enough of an authority that for a student to realize this is being said about them in a very public forum (not just the teacher's lounge, for example) could have repercussions for decades. I've known people that have been insulted by teachers that took it to heart because they respected the teacher and took years to understand the comments were not only inappropriate but not worth paying attention to.

All teachers want to be remembered as an influence and want to change lives, but not in the way this teacher has changed some young lives.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (-1, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166036)

1) This opens the school up for a big "emotional distress" lawsuit, and

Oh, no! Someone said mean words to me! For some reason, I absolutely must get offended by this!

Even for teens, teachers are still enough of an authority that for a student to realize this is being said about them in a very public forum (not just the teacher's lounge, for example) could have repercussions for decades.

Decades? No, even for a moment? Why are some people so afraid of words? If there's anything people need to be taught, it's that you do not need to be offended by mere words, and indeed, it is far more efficient not to be. If you made a mistake, don't make the same one again. If you didn't, shrug it off. Whining about things (especially words) and getting offended doesn't change anything.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166172)

Oh, no! Someone said mean words to me! For some reason, I absolutely must get offended by this!

Shut your festering gob, you tit! Your type really makes me puke, you vacuous, toffee-nosed, malodorous, pervert!

Re:Less Honesty Please... (4, Interesting)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165940)

Depending on the status of her blog, it's arguable how public that kind of communication should be considered. While I think it's dumb that she would post such brutally honest feelings somewhere the parents could find it, I'm not sure it's much different than if she were to say the same things to friends at a bar -- and in the bar situation I would definitely say it's her right to say what she wants without this kind of disciplionary action.

The fact of the matter is, sometimes this stuff is true. And it's definitely true that despite the best intentions, lots of teachers feel this way, even if it's only for the space of an afternoon after a particularly difficult week. Are we meant to fire every teacher who has a negative thought about her students? It's probable that there's more to the story that would change my mind, but I don't see how this is any different that suspending a student because he said he hates his Principal on Facebook.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166286)

I think it's dumb that she would post such brutally honest feelings somewhere the parents could find it

true, but If the kids couldn't find it themselves then they probably are as retarded as she claimed.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166074)

Not to mention illegal in many places. Juvenile law is a pretty different animal, which is why you often see news reports about teenagers with no name or picture associated.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (5, Interesting)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166084)

Normally I'm aghast when someone gets in trouble at work for their private blog/whatever, but in this case it's perfectly reasonable.

Why is it reasonable in this case? What does it matter what she thinks about her students, and why does it matter that people actually know the truth about how she feels? "Oh no! She might hurt the kids' feelings. Their precious self-esteem will be destroyed," you say. Kids so desperately need to learn to hear shit they won't like -- this is something that's missing from our society. Kids need thick skin. If she can get through to the kids and teach them the material, she has done her job superbly. In fact, showing her kids that it's ok to not be scared to speak the truth despite possible retribution is a vitally important lesson, one which too few kids even learn in their entire lives... Instead they turn into Compliance Sheep who never speak up or fight for what they believe in.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166204)

But... that would mean that kids actually need to take a step out of their bubbles that society desperately wants to keep them in! Unacceptable! Censor violent media for children, fire teachers who state their opinions about their students, and blame everything but the child for their behavior! Learning that you don't have to be offended by mere words is just... unacceptable!

Re:Less Honesty Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166102)

Problem is she is almost certainly bang on the money and if the parents of the little sewer rats dont like it tough get with it and start improving their attitude to school and teachers then they would not need staling of perfectly correctly in public a bit of shame for some of these modern day morons works wonders

Re:Less Honesty Please... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166330)

If she had spoken to the parents, privately, about their children that's one thing. To speak about the children in this fashion on a public forum is extremely unprofessional behavior.

Purely playing Devil's Advocate here ....

But haven't kids repeatedly gotten their right to say what they want about teachers online upheld over and over?

I've know a fair few teachers ... as much as they start out really giving a shit, after a sufficiently long period of time babysitting other people's ill-behaved, spoiled brats with various anti-social disorders ... well, eventually, they're mostly just putting in time.

Nowadays they're so hand-cuffed by not wanting to hurt little Billy's feelings by telling him he can't spell, I can see why she would be ranting about the things she'd like to say.

Everyone keeps lamenting how we need more educators -- make it less of a thankless job, and let teachers actually fail kids and be able to enforce some form of discipline.

Won't Someone Think of the Teachers? (2)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166436)

I'm divided on this controversy, because I also know a couple of teachers. They post on Facebook, or they show up in IRC chat, and the number one thing that seem to like to talk about is how there's this one kid that they just absolutely want to strangle some days. Or lesser injustices like kids not doing their homework and such. Considering the stress of the environment and the lack of discipline in some kids, I think it's fair that teachers should want to vent now and then.

What bothers me more about the OP is that the teacher didn't blog behind a pseudonym or behind a locked Facebook post. I'm not sure that putting your actual name on a blog and making it moderately clear which kids you're dissing is a mature thing to do in any case.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165954)

If you feel this way about our precious kiddies then please keep it to yourself. We don't want to shatter our impression of our kiddies.

That's right. We should just bottle everything up because the truth might hurt someone's feelings. And we should teach our kids to never speak out or tell the truth because it might get you fired. Talking shit behind peoples' backs is much more honorable and beneficial to society.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166268)

If you feel this way about our precious kiddies then please keep it to yourself. We don't want to shatter our impression of our kiddies.

That's right. We should just bottle everything up because the truth might hurt someone's feelings. And we should teach our kids to never speak out or tell the truth because it might get you fired. Talking shit behind peoples' backs is much more honorable and beneficial to society.

Are you serious? There's such a thing as professional discretion. She showed none. She's supposed to be a professional educator. That means she's obligated to keep her personal feelings about the children under her tutelage private except in appropriate venues where her personal opinions can be a constructive tool to further the children's education. Her public blog doesn't qualify. I can just imagine how devastating some of her comments might have been to some of those kids, particularly the ones who are struggling academically or who have depression-inducing self-esteem issues.

BTW, it's easy to excuse this kind of behavior when you or your loved ones aren't the target. Try putting yourself in someone else's shoes once in a while.

Re:Less Honesty Please... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166162)

On the flip side, imagine the strokes she'd get if she'd simply claimed 'all our children are above average'.

Not an YRO (5, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165766)

I don't think this teacher's suspension over the blog is a violation of her rights online. Everyone is free to say what they wish without risk of government censorship. But on the flip side of the coin, everyone must also bear the consequences of their speech. She went online, said something stupid and now she has to deal with the consequences of that.

And frankly, she deserves to be suspended. Clearly, if she's posting this kind of stuff, her ability to teach those kids she refers to as idiots and rats is compromised. Does anyone want to be taught by someone who feels nothing but contempt for them?

Re:Not an YRO (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165798)

Does anyone want to be taught by someone who feels nothing but contempt for them?

Does anyone want to teach people who feel nothing but contempt for them? No, but they do anyway, and for a pittance compared to what they have to deal with. I say good for her.

Re:Not an YRO (0)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165858)

Teachers in that area are well paid. Overpaid in fact, considering all the benefits.

Suburban teachers are not in the same poor position as urban or rural teachers.

Re:Not an YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166354)

My parents, sister, two aunts and three cousins are all suburban school teachers, and I assure you that they're paid just as shittily as their urban counterparts.

Re:Not an YRO (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165918)

That might be, but nobody forced her to take the job or change her feelings. If the children were that dim there are ways of handling it. Sometimes parents do need to be told that the student isn't performing adequately. Typically that's done via report card, note home or possible home visit. Handling it via social networking site is completely unforgivable.

Typically I'm against employers holding employees accountable for personal writings, but in this case it's not really a personal writing so much as a violation of the students right to privacy and a general violation of professional ethics.

I've spent a lot of time personally undoing the damage that poor instruction has caused, and that was more legitimate lack of training without malice. Something like this could definitely haunt the students for years and possibly the rest of their lives. And no, I'm not exaggerating, a surprising number of late diagnosed "learning disorders" aren't really anxiety driven rather than whatever the diagnosis was.

Re:Not an YRO (0)

mldi (1598123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165976)

Give me a break. Frankly, I'm tired of teachers being regarded automatically as "underpaid, unsung heroes". Yeah right. First of all, a good teacher is a rare one. We should praise those. But really, I should praise the guy who goes around unclogging sewers for a living just as much. They put up with a HELLUVA lot more than someone who interacts with some brats all day... and then takes a 3 month vacation from that. Don't get me wrong because we need teachers, but we need everybody else too and everyone plays a role in our society. They certainly don't automatically deserve to get paid more, and throwing money at teachers won't do an iota to fix our public schools problem in the US. They should be treated like everybody else instead of these untouchable saints - pay those who perform, punish those who don't, and definitely hold them responsible for stupid shit they publicly say.

Back to the point: the dummy got caught saying some stupid shit, and she has to face consequences. Simple as that, and it should happen more often. After all, this wasn't a private conversation she was having, it was a public podium.

Re:Not an YRO (4, Insightful)

melchoir55 (218842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165996)

Teaching kids is not about getting something from the kids. It isn't about mutual respect. It isn't about them asking "how high" when you say "jump". It isn't about having kids revere you as their mentor.

Teaching kids is about *helping the kids*. If they are great at algebra, then teach them polynomials. If they can barely handle addition, teach them addition. If they can barely pay attention to addition, work on getting them to pay attention/have self confidence/etc. Someone with the attitude of this teacher (or yours) is certainly not doing this. She deserves a suspension. Her attitude betrays a point of view toxic to pedagogy. In a perfect world where she could easily find work elsewhere and where the school could easily replace her then she should be asked to leave. Hopefully she takes her suspension as a wake up call. I doubt it, but we can hope.

Re:Not an YRO (4, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165836)

THIS. I anticipate a lot of kneejerking posts in this thread, but come on, she deserved it. When you continuously insult and degrade your students publicly, whether it's in person or online, don't be surprised when the school fires your ass, and for good reason.

I have a friend who teaches in high school. He comments about his students and their silliness from time to time on Facebook, but nothing even remotely like this. He has sense enough to do it very tactfully and in ways that are not degrading.

Re:Not an YRO (3, Insightful)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165944)

I agree with you completely, I've got a few teacher friends who say similar things to what this woman said in the article. But, they say it privately, usually over drinks with non-associated friends, and they're well aware that saying them in public would get them fired.

Teaching kids is frustrating, and people need to vent sometimes. The only thing to remember is, if you need to work with people you're venting about, don't vent where they can hear you!

Re:Not an YRO (1)

JackOfAllGeeks (1034454) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166020)

Would you say the same thing if it was a student suspended for off-campus speach about his teachers? It seems Slashdot has a problem with punishing the students for this kind of behavior, and I don't see anything that would negate that principle here.

THIS. I anticipate a lot of kneejerking posts in this thread, but come on, she deserved it. When you continuously insult and degrade your teachers publicly, whether it's in person or online, don't be surprised when the school suspends your ass, and for good reason.

Re:Not an YRO (3, Insightful)

MayonakaHa (562348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166098)

Students are neither paid to teach people and assist in the development of their minds nor are they given a choice for what they do in life at this point. Teachers are expected to lead their charges in the right direction and have made the choice to be a teacher in the first place.

Re:Not an YRO (1)

Byzantine (85549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166234)

Would you say the same thing if it was a student suspended for off-campus speach about his teachers? It seems Slashdot has a problem with punishing the students for this kind of behavior, and I don't see anything that would negate that principle here.

You mean besides the fact that they're minors and not held to the same standard as adults?

Re:Not an YRO (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166410)

That makes complete sense. Minors can say whatever they like, but not an adult! The adult might hurt some feels of people too weak-minded to understand that they don't have to be offended by mere words.

If a minor did the same thing, why shouldn't they be held to the same standard (not that I believe either should be fired/suspended)? What is the logical reason for this?

Re:Not an YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165848)

And if she's RIGHT about them?

Re:Not an YRO (2)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166282)

Even if she's right about them, she is still if violation of Federal FERPA statutes for disclosing educational records, which are supposed to be kept confidential.

Re:Not an YRO (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165856)

The problem is most Slashdotters were hailing as "free speech" the Facebook thing where someone decided an employer couldn't fire an employee for blatantly badmouthing him on Faceboook.

So which is it?

Re:Not an YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166018)

I was thinking the exact same thing. Yesterday, it was obvious to so many on Slashdot that an employer can not punish an employee's disparaging remarks about her boss/co-workers on her personal time. Now, a teacher portrays her students in a negative light on her personal time and it is obvious that her employer can punish her for that. Really, Slashdot?

Re:Not an YRO (3, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166396)

There's quite a strong bias against teachers here. There's also a lot of self-proclaimed geniuses who don't get recognized because ["the system" is biased against them | they test badly | they have assburgers | other lame-ass excuse].

I wonder if these two facts are connected?

Re:Not an YRO (0)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166094)

She didn't bad mouth her place of business or her employer, she bad mouthed her students.

Fire her ass.

Re:Not an YRO (1)

jIyajbe (662197) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166262)

So which is it?

Neither. She was not complaining about her employer, so it is a false comparison./p>

The closest I think you could come to it is that she was complaining about her working conditions. Not the same thing.

Re:Not an YRO (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165910)

I would want to be taught by someone who is honest. If a dimwitted student is holding back the rest of the class, I want the teachers empowered to say so and do something about it. In my experience, the more patronizing a teacher, the less effective he or she is.

Re:Not an YRO (2)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166086)

If a dimwitted student is holding back the rest of the class, I want the teachers empowered to say so and do something about it.

There are ways to do that that don't involve ridiculing the "dimwitted" students. This isn't about protecting the self-images of precious little snowflakes, it's about basic human decency and the fact that it's fucking rude to talk about people that way, children or otherwise, especially in a public forum.

It's not the idea she communicated that got her fired, it's the unprofessional manner in which she did so. What happened here isn't "bad speech, you get fired," it's "unprofessional behavior is not tolerated."

Re:Not an YRO (4, Insightful)

smcn (87571) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166430)

A teacher's obligation is to help her students learn, is it not? An appropriate response to a student "holding back the rest of the class" is to confer with the parent and recommend alternatives, not complain about it on a publicly accessible blog. Honesty does not require being an asshole.

Re:Not an YRO (3, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165980)

I don't think her ability to teach is compromised, but her ability to play the politics necessary to educate kids while keeping their parents happy definitely is. She actually got off light. One of my kids' old elementary teachers got fired on the spot for having a blog about her kids, and she wasn't saying anything nearly so mean about them. She had just been awarded the district's teacher of the year award the year before, too. Combine privacy concerns with angry parents, and you can pretty much pack your bags.

That said, I can sort of understand why she was doing it. I've known lots of teachers, and they almost universally say the worst part about teaching is dealing with the parents. Some parents try to micromanage the teachers, others won't ever show any interest in their kids' education at all no matter how hard the teacher tries. Plus, kids come in with a variety of emotional, mental, and/or developmental problems that many times the parents simply refuse to acknowledge.

All of this, along with the daily frustrations of shrinking budgets, increasing numbers of kids per classroom, and administrations that don't seem to care about anything but their own political ambitions, means most teachers really need a place to vent. Sometimes they bitch to each other, but schools can be nasty gossip factories, so it doesn't pay to do that too much. Sometimes you see your kid's second grade teacher in a bar. Sometimes, especially recently, they vent on blogs. The problem is, they don't anonymize themselves or the stories they tell sufficiently (or in this case, not at all), someone who has an axe to grind with them anyway (such as a parent) finds out about it, and it's all downhill from there.

Re:Not an YRO (0)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166090)

She got fired? I didn't know that there were any non-union teachers.

Re:Not an YRO (1)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166006)

Personally, as long as the teacher didn't give specific names I don't think it's a big deal.

My mother used to be a teacher and one of my cousins is a teacher, and they will openly talk about how bad or stupid their students act. There shouldn't be anything wrong with publicly saying bad things about your students in general.

And although I'm in my late 20s, I can clearly remember how me and my classmates would act in our classes. There was little respect for the teacher, and seeing some of the things written for homework or tests by students who simply didn't care about that subject, it could be scary for a teacher.

Plus, I'm sure most of you can remember talking equally bad about some of your teachers. Now as long as this was a personal blog, and not like a blog put on the schools website, I find nothing wrong with this.

Being a teacher in the US these days, you have little you can actually do about your students. To say that a teacher can't even talk negatively about their students in general in public is laughable.

Hell yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166016)

Well, apparently we only want to buy from those who feel nothing but contempt for us, be employed by those who feel nothing but contempt for us, and be led by those who feel nothing but contempt for us. Why should this be any different?

Re:Not an YRO (4, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166188)

Does anyone want to be taught by someone who feels nothing but contempt for them?

I had teachers who regularly called students (me included) "stupid bastard", and that wasn't by any means the worst of it. Never did me any harm - in fact the teacher who was polite and formal all the time was the universally despised one - nicknamed "Timmy!". His kid went to the same school, and was thrown out of a second-storey window because his father was such a pratt. Not defending that, I think it's reprehensible, but it happened.

I had a Spanish teacher (Geoffrey Park) who used to throw a padlock at kids who weren't paying attention, a maths teacher who threw chalk (he was far more accurate...) and it was all fine. I remember getting my own back at the kids-v-teachers football match by starting a chant "Geoffrey Park, super-star!, walks like a woman and he wears a bra". All in fun, and I didn't expect (or get) any comeback in class later.

Of course, I went to school in the UK, in a northern town, and it was far-and-away rougher than the US (at least in CA where I live). No guns or knives (considered the tools of cowards, where I'm from), but it was easy to come home bruised every single day for a year or so, with occasional visits to hospital.

Sometimes the comparison between my school-life and the "issues" and "problems" facing todays youth seems very amusing ...

Of course, it wasn't all bad. I had teachers who shot down thrown paper airplanes with the fire-extinguisher, or who came out to the pub with us for a drink after driving us to 'Bridge night' (I was in the school bridge team, and yes, we were under-age :). We dissected things (bulls eye, frog, ...) from age-11 onwards; I took an explosives option in Chemistry, used woodworking and metalworking power tools from age 12, etc. etc. Basically they treated us as young adults, and expected us to behave the same. Part of that is coping with being told you're a stupid bastard. Because, sometimes, everyone is (the stupid part - the bastard part is just to drive home the stupid part...)

Simon

Re:Not an YRO (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166356)

Basically, yeah. She committed a gross breach of professionalism, and the First Amendment neither can nor should save her from the just consequences of her actions.

Re:Not an YRO (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166376)

So, what's the difference between "risk of government censorship" (which you say she is free of) and "consequences of their speech" (which you say she must bear)?

This is an honest question. How do we differentiate acceptable retribution and unacceptable retribution?

she should quit if she doesn't like her job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165768)

Whether or not she mentioned student's names it would be quite humiliating for a child to be in her class and read those comments and she is certainly not setting a good example.

Re:she should quit if she doesn't like her job (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165796)

I don't know about you, but I always was pretty clear on what my teachers thought of me, and generally it wasn't all that positive...

Re:she should quit if she doesn't like her job (3, Insightful)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165882)

Quit yer whinin! When I was in school, we had nuns for teachers, and they'd tell you worse shit than this TO YOUR FACE. And then the rest of the class would laugh at you while the nun basked in your ridicule. It made you stronger, or at least work hard enough to not be below average.

Re:she should quit if she doesn't like her job (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165906)

Disclaimer: I have not read the blog in question.

Just because she thinks some of her students aren't worth the time she spends on them doesn't mean she hates her job per se. She could feel that some of the students aren't great to be around and a joy to teach. It's just that those students aren't rant-worthy on a personal blog.

If she were smart.... (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165808)

...she would have included at least one post about union activity. [slashdot.org]

Re:If she were smart.... (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165878)

Exactly. I think the hypocrisy in this article's replies will be funny. Most people were all "ra ra, free speech!" in the Facebook incident, now all of the sudden I bet most will be "umm, duh, you can't do that!".

Re:If she were smart.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166026)

That might get you off the hook for ambiguous violations of policy, but for something this blatant I don't think it would. Despite some of the comments here, that's a pretty serious violation of professional ethics. When I'm working with a student I am extremely careful as to how I phrase criticism, because a lot of students magnify whatever is said and it's really not productive to have students crying if you can reasonably avoid it.

You're not always going to be able to avoid it without watering things down, but as a general rule if the student is crying or likely to cry, there's something that isn't working as it should.

So... (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165820)

Link to the blog and/or archived copy?

Anonymous has it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165842)

She could've said all the bad things she wanted about her kids online, if only she'd stayed anonymous.

As long as Sk8rgrl1 is separated from the real person, nobody suspects the garbage they spew onto blogs and forums is from the same hands that grade their children's tests.

Re:Anonymous has it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166038)

People say worse stuff online every day and suffer ZERO consequences because they remain hidden behind their pseudonyms.

If she is posting on a blog where she can be held accountable for her actions, and that is truly how she felt about her kids, she should just do what people have done for thousands of years: held her tongue.

So you don't like your students.. In a few months you'll never have to deal with them again.

She should be fired for being a bad teacher (5, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165860)

Kids have a way of living up to people's expectations. She expects these kids to act like animals, and they're fulfilling her expectations. I'd expect teachers to vent to each other about the students (and parents) they have to deal with, but venting in an online forum displays terrible judgement.

My mother works as a substitute teacher. She takes troubled kids that every else badmouths, treats them with respect, and gets them to open up, stop being disruptive, and actually start learning. If a teacher is having problems with kids, it is as much an indictment of the teacher as it is of the kids.

Re:She should be fired for being a bad teacher (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166010)

Exactly. Several of my friends are teachers and one is a teacher of first & second grade. She invariably ends up with all the special needs children because she's the only one willing or able to take the time and treat them with the respect and care they need to behave well in school. She works miracles with kids that other people would write off and leave in a corner to stagnate.

Re:She should be fired for being a bad teacher (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166326)

My mom could beat up your mom

Re:She should be fired for being a bad teacher (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166406)

Your mother sounds like an lifetime movie. Some kids suck and thinking that you can get everyone of them to open up and want to learn is ridiculous.

Newsflash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165864)

Not everyone likes you, nor should you expect as much; teacher or not.

Wrong job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165868)

Seeing where your students have deficiencies and addressing them is one thing. Being derogatory about it is something else. Teaching isn't the right job for her. The snide "precious snowflakes" remark is out of place. If your teacher talks that way about you, the trust relationship is shattered, no matter how strong your personality is.

Says the blog was shut down. (2)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165874)

Anyone got a link to a cached copy of it? I'm interested in seeing just what was written.

Re:Says the blog was shut down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165920)

Here you go. [googleusercontent.com]

the list is great (1)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166088)

between "too smart for her own good" and "seems smarter than she actually is," there isn't much room in formal schooling i'm afraid.

also, note the sweet irony of her including the derogations: "complainer," "rude, beligerent [sic], argumentative fuck," and "tactless."

see you in hell, bitch.

Re:Says the blog was shut down. (4, Informative)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165948)

still in the google cache (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165904)

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:sOtUI146FXAJ:natalieshandbasket.blogspot.com/2010/01/if-you-dont-have-anything-nice-to-say.html%3FshowComment%3D1297206567911+%22where+are+we+going+and+why+are+we+in+this+handbasket%22+if+you+dont+ahve+anything+nice+to+say&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a&source=www.google.com

+1 this is the real deal (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166176)

This is a real link to the text of the original blog and, shockingly enough ... it's just a blog.

The teacher does not call out any particular students by name. She is talking about her feelings about teaching students in aggregate, with the overall impression that she's considering several years' worth of students.

The list of comments reads like a joke -- she's making up comments that she'd like to say, but doesn't. It's a wacky list.

The students' comments in TFA are still spot-on -- you wouldn't like to sit in a classroom where you had a teacher who thought of you this way -- but you know what? You did. We've all had teachers like this. The difference is, in our day the teacher couldn't be summarily canned for holding opinions. Welcome to the 21st century, where even teachers aren't allowed to think.

Pot, meet Kettle (3, Insightful)

asdbffg (1902686) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165908)

"Frightfully dim," indeed.

She's the idiot (2)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165938)

I get hating your job, I get finding the students to be morons and unteachable, but to post about it in a way that you could be identified? Idiot.

From the video in TFA (1)

vgerclover (1186893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35165962)

That teacher is being accused of posting the kind of things no student likes to hear about themselves.

Since when that should be a fireable offense?

“I think she should be fired. Hopefully that is what will happen,” said parent Wendy Yazujian.

I think she should be able to say whatever she wants to as long as she doesn't fall into libel. Sadly, that is beyond a lot of people.

Re:From the video in TFA (4, Insightful)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166178)

If you tell a child that they are stupid, then you aren't going to be able to teach them anything no matter how smart they are. They will simply stop caring about what you want from them. What she did would no be a problem... if she wasn't paid to be educating these kids. Since she is being paid to educate them, then she should be doing that instead of whining about how little they are learning.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165978)

Well maybe if you weren't such a stupid little whore Alli Woloshyn your teacher wouldn't think that way...

Sheesh, how long has she been a teacher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35165994)

She oughta know that the only appropriate place to make disparaging comments about her students would be in the teacher's lounge amongst her fellow teachers.

/. News Network (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166008)

Insulting children in a public forum causes parents to complain and get the teacher in trouble. In related news, the new model of ship, the trireme is entering production.

all your kids (1)

gearsmithy (1869466) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166014)

are stupid

Dear Diary... (1)

SoBeKing (792451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166044)

I don't know why people have to make everything public these days. Whatever happened to the good old journal or diary? Call me old fashioned but if it's not meant to be public, then don't let it be public.

All that's changed is the medium. (1)

Harold Halloway (1047486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166060)

I went to school in the UK in the 70s and early 80s. The only difference between then and now is that in those days the teachers used to say it to your face.

Highly unprofessional (2)

lpfarris (774295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166062)

What she says may or may not be true. However, if your lawyer, your doctor, your martial arts instructor posted crap like this, how long do you think they would stay in business? Kids attending a public school don't have the option of shopping around.

Re:Highly unprofessional (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166322)

This. While the teacher is certainly entitled to her own opinions, and even to speak privately about them with uninvolved parties, posting things like this publicly is a gross breach of professionalism. The teacher/student relationship doesn't really have anything to do with it; the same would apply between bosses and workers, professionals of other types and their clients, or even coworkers in a business setting.

Or, to put it another way: I have no sympathy for those with no discretion.

1 Cor. 10.23 (2)

dosius (230542) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166066)

"All things are legal to me, but not all things are conducive. All things are legal to me, but not all things are constructive."

Think about what you do before you do it, what potential ramifications it may have. Just because you CAN do it doesn't mean you SHOULD. And remember: anything you say on a publicly accessible Web site is publicly accessible (it should go without saying).

-uso.

Re:1 Cor. 10.23 (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166166)

"Drink ye then not water, but take thee a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine other infirmaties," 1 Timothy 5:23

See, I can quote the bible too!

Re:1 Cor. 10.23 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166304)

1. It's advocating drinking a little, not a lot - there's plenty of passages against drunkenness
2. Wine has been shown to be beneficial to health
3. The alcohol in wine helps make it safer than drinking water in that age
4. The alcohol content was much lower in those days compared to now for wine

No sympathy (1, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166106)

I criticized my child's teacher for her blatant discrimination against my daughter; she had her teachers' union lawyer threaten me with a libel suit and the school district told me I was no longer allowed to communicate with any school district staff. The next year, I complained because her new teacher gave every other child in the class the choice to sit in a chair, but insisted my daughter sit on a blue "X" on the floor, again a violation of state educational discrimination statutes. The school's response was to lie about what what going on the the classroom, again insist I was not allowed to contact any school staff, and a trespass order restricting me from school property (for simply saying "discrimination is illegal, stop it" in the school office). Let's face it, schools are NOT bastions of free speech. If they insist on bitchslapping students and parents for speaking their minds, they need to apply the same standards to the teachers and staff!

Re:No sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166258)

The 'blue x' thing sounds like a punishment for a kid who can't behave. Was the teacher by any chance 'discriminating' against your precious little snowflake for being an insufferable, undisciplined brat?

Re:No sympathy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166318)

+1

Re:No sympathy (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166390)

She was required to sit on the blue x every day, regardless of behavior. She was told she would never be allowed to sit in a chair, regardless of her behavior. Then they lied and said being allowed to sit in seats were a reward for good behavior, and that only 1 or 2 children got that reward. Except when the school's lawyer visited the classroom and found 5 kids were sitting in chairs, and none of the kids were ever told it was a reward. Oh, and by the way... she was the only black student in the class. Plus, when confronted with this, they refused to change their treatment until the school district lawyer got involved. Now, why would they blatantly lie about what was going on in the classroom if they didn't know they were violating the law?

Re:No sympathy (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166438)

One more thing... the teacher she had before Mrs. Simpkins-Moore had zero problems with her, and the teacher she got after I transferred her out of this bigot's class had zero problem's with her. So all evidence points to the problem being the environment, not the student. Her current teacher absolutely adores her -- but then her current teacher has enough experience to actually know how to deal with children and their parents well.

How is this any different than.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166144)

...being a on a public street and stating "my students are dumb as bricks". It's not. It is simply a matter of fact that this teacher posted it on Facebook? So what. Why do teachers have to be so politically correct outside of their jobs? They shouldn't have to. Did she specifically name a person? If she spoke generically, then she should not be suspended. If she spoke about an specific individual and called them out via Facebook, then this is another matter. Frankly, I feel teacher have been too restricted over the last half century. They are the people who spend a lot of time around your children. If they observe extreme ignorance or stupidity and are frustrated then they should be able to vent.

And frankly, all these parents whose children are in her classroom, might just want to stop and start taking a real interest in their children's education.

Analogy (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166150)

This one time when there was a teacher in a rural town way back when. She taught in a one room school house. One day she went out into the town square and loudly proclaimed for all the towns folk to hear how stupid her students were. She was sacked.

Then a new teacher was hired. Whenever her small group of close friends came over for a dinner party, she would tell them all how stupid her students were in the privacy of her own home. She kept her job.

If you don't like your students, that's fine. You can think they are all dumb as a box of rocks even. And you are welcome to rant about them in private. But in public, unless you want to lose your job, keep your fool mouth shut.

Look a little higher up the example chain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166198)

Yet the President of the United States can openly cheat on his wife and have no repercussions!

Re:Look a little higher up the example chain... (1)

sabs (255763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166244)

Dude that was 12 years ago.. LET IT GO.

Wait a minute... (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166224)

There have been many many articles over the years about a major problem in our schools where kids just get shuffled through the system, without issues being addressed, because teachers are afraid of backlash from p parents and administrators when they want to hold a kid back a grade or put them in a remedial program, or TEACH THEM HOW TO READ at the level they are supposed to be at. Also everyone always complains about how teachers are so "bad". So when a teacher decides to take it upon themselves to call out some of these problem kids it is met with suspension and ridicule? Perhaps a public blog wasn't the best place for this analysis but if we are going to suspend teachers for voicing their professional opinion on a kids academic and personal situation, how will this problem be fixed? They are already scared to even teach certain things [slashdot.org] . Are we going to scare them into not even wanting to care about our kids at all? Just push them through and get to summer vacation, right?

Quid Pro Quo? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35166292)

So, do students get suspended when they post similar comments about their teachers?

I want my kid's teachers to be intelligent (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166306)

Barring that, I want them to at least have wisdom and common sense. This lady, by writing what she did, is obviously neither wise enough nor smart enough to have figured out that it was a stupid thing to do. That puts her on par with those teenagers that post public pictures of themselves french-kissing a shoe while drunk.

She's probably right about being dimwits, but... (4, Insightful)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166344)

...that's sadly still no excuse. My cousin recently became a teacher, and had to delete pretty much his entire online identity (or at least, the ones the school system knows about, like facebook, twitter, myspace, etc), as the school had warned him that stuff like this can and will happen, and they would rather avoid it.

Well They Are Your Students... (2)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35166382)

Dear Ms. Munroe,

Okay. I get it. Parents should take an active role in educating their children. That makes sense Ms. Munroe.

But you are also responsible for those students' educations to some extent. If they are frightfully dim, less intelligent than they appear, and so on, isn't it sort of your job to help them with that? So they suck at abstract reasoning? Teach them how to reason better. So they can't do well in mathematics? Find a better way to teach mathematics. So they are petty and dramatic? Well they are only kids, at least they have that excuse. You, however, are supposed to be a responsible adult. Insulting children on the internet is just a bit petty don't you think? Maybe they are simply learning from example.

Of course, you can only do so much. And I can understand how that could be frustrating. However, the rest of us professionals have to deal with frustrating shit in our jobs every day as well. The difference is, we don't necessarily go home to insult our coworkers on the internet after a bad day. So, yes, children should be smarter. Rather than bitch about that, how's about you do your damned job and help them along that path?

Sincerely,
An Adult

If anything, it sounds like Ms. Munroe was insulting her own teaching abilities more than anything.
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