Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We can't handle the truth

At the tender age of 30, suburban Philadelphia English teacher Natalie Munroe found herself at the heart of the fall of Rome.

It was right there before her in her Central Bucks East High School classroom.

"My students are out of control," Munroe wrote in her blog Oct. 27, 2009. "They are rude, disengaged, lazy whiners. They curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying."

Then the entry got good . . . or bad, depending on whether you're reading it or living it:
In the past week alone, I've written up 4 separate students--one for dropping the f-bomb in class, one for repeatedly saying "s***tin'," one for crafting a pencil topper made from paper clips into the shape of a man and woman having sex, and one for being disrespectful to me (Me: Stop tapping. Him: (ignores and keeps on tapping. Another student tells him to stop but he still doesn't, indicating that if he didn't stop when I told him to, he wouldn't stop for this kid either. Another student then kicked the back of the first student's chair. Me: "I DID tell you to stop that already!" Him: "Yeah, you were ignored." Me: Do you want me to write you up?" Him: "Go ahead." Me: "Done!")

Then there's the kid in the other class who wasn't happy with the score he earned on his test. (Nevermind that I told kids what to study in preparation for this test, or that I offered to move the test to Wednesday instead of Tuesday to give them more time to study but they voted to keep it on Tuesday.) So this kid earned a 54% on the test, having lost 2 points for not following directions, 7.5 points for being unable to match the names of characters and settings with the story names (which is the easiest section on the whole test if you've simply read the stories for lan's sake!), another 10 or so on another section asking him to match definitions to terms... really, the kid just didn't study enough.

The issue was, though, that his test grade brought his overall grade down significantly (because he had an A, he had farther to fall), from an A to a B. He approached me last Wednesday when I handed back the tests and wanted to know if we did second-chance learning. No, I told him. He wanted to know if he could do some extra credit. No, the English department doesn't offer extra credit, I told him. On Thursday he approached me to find out how many more points are on the marking period because he wants to be able to pull his grade up by then. I told him the assignments I know I'll be grading prior to that time. On Friday he emailed me and explained that he was unhappy with his score and again asked for extra credit or a chance to make up his test, citing that he must have been having a bad day and was very upset that his grade dropped so much. He then approached me the same day in class and wanted to discuss the email. I explained again that the test is done and he needs to move forward, just working as hard as he can before the marking period ends to recoup points, but that he could not do other work to make up the grade. On Monday there was an email waiting for me from his mom weighing in on the no extra credit/no retakes policy and intimating that the test was unfairly weighted as it brought her son's grade down from an A to a B. I responded to that email sharing the information about where he lost points on his test (indicating that he should have studied harder), explaining how it's unfair to kids prepared the first time around to have an opportunity to make up the points somehow, defending the weight of my test which was 67 points and was the culmination of 3 weeks worth of work, and giving her the heads-up that college courses often base their grades on 2 tests and a paper. Today this boy visited guidance during my class. I'm not positive that it was about this grade issue, but I suspect it may have been. I did not, however, receive any emails from guidance trying to get me to modify my stance, so perhaps it was simply a coincidence. Frankly, I really want the issue to drop because it's rather annoying me that I've had to have the same conversation about this issue as many times as I have. What it comes down to is this: you did poorly on your test for whatever reason; you may end up with a B because of it; move on and try harder next marking period. It really isn't the end of the world. Maybe the next time I announce a test and give insight into what should be studied, I will be taken more seriously.

Or not.
OBVIOUSLY, there's a problem here. Unfortunately, what's so obviously problematic isn't that "(k)ids today are out of control." It isn't that "teenagers are complete asses." It isn't even that "(t)here's no respect for adults, for authority, for teachers," or that "(p)arents won't allow anyone but themselves to discipline their kids, but THEY don't do any disciplining either."

No, the problem is that young high school English teacher in affluent Bucks County, Pa., said so. In her anonymous blog.

NOW MUNROE has been suspended with pay, escorted out of the building by the principal and a security guard, and just might lose her job. For being honest.

It would seem we can put up with a society of spoiled louts and incompetents --
Hey, Rome managed it . . . until it couldn't -- but what we can't handle is the truth.

And the truth, folks, is that a lot of your kids are a-holes and cheats. Ignorant ones at that.

If you doubt what I say -- or, more importantly, what Munroe wrote -- the comments on her most "notorious" post, left after some Central Bucks East students somehow came across the blog, serve as a rather bracing quod erat demonstrandum moment.

READ ON and be educated:
dontcare said...

Jokes on you because this link is being cycled throughout the students of
CB East via facebook. Have fun applying for unemployment.


"cooperative in class."

brett said...

haha shes leaving due to being knocked up... she probably found a piece of toilet paper in the trash that a guy cleaned up after himself with and impregnated herself; i can think of no other way this homely ass c*** could get f*****

cbeast123 said...

Well..good luck getting a job as a teacher anywhere else.

If you're in a school district as prestigious as CB East, you should act like it and stop blubbering to people who couldn't care less about your life.

Just because you hate your job, doesn't make it okay to whine about it on the internet.

And I can guarantee that at least 50% of the students you just spent making fun of will become a lot more successful than you.

How sad is it that you're way too busy blogging about your students that you have no time to actually leave a mark/make a difference on their lives. I can't imagine that you do not aspire to be that one teacher that changes someone's life, and if you do not..why are you a teacher?

If you hate kids, your own intellect would tell you to choose a career avoiding them.

ConcernedStudent said...

Why would you waste your time blogging about how we are belligerent f*** (you spelled belligerent wrong dumbass)? You should be spending your time helping out students instead of insulting them on here. You have cheated, screwed, and under-cut every single one of your students this year. And i speak for everyone when i say you were a douche to all of your students in class and made no effort to help any of us achieve our academic goals. Maybe you should learn to teach and be compassionate with your students. Respect goes a long way, and the only way people will respect you is if you respect them (too late). Have a nice life. Good luck with the inner-city s***hole they call a school in philly.

grapist said...

Students suck almost as much as teachers who think they're god and spend more time trying (and failing) to control their class than actually teaching. I feel bad for her and all the other bad teachers who just don't get that.

jcs002 said...

Dear... you,

Hey, I remember you. This is Jeff Shoolbraid talking, just so you know I'm not hiding behind a computer screen and just randomly bashing you. I'm not sure if you remember me, but you were by far the worst teacher I've ever had because you were simply a c***. Turns out my assumption was correct. Though, if I just sit here and call you names and such it really doesn't prove any points and makes me essentially as unintelligent as you. It also doesn't really solve too much, but now that it's out of the way, here are my just as pointless two cents: Students can be a pain, but it's your job to deal with them. So this means it's your job to deal with the a**holes, weird kids, drama queens, quiet kids, and so on. The students, on the other hand, don't really owe you anything. You see, as a teacher, the world should not revolve around you. You should revolve around the students' lives. Sure, maybe kids treat you like s***, or don't give a s*** in general as far as the class goes, but you have to remember the demographic here. You're teaching high school kids. These are the rebellious/self involved/self discovering times in there lives. They are transitioning from being kids to adults. So sorry if they don't exactly know how to go about being interested in a high school English class. You need to give them a reason to give a f***, and this starts with showing respect to them, which involves a little bit of extra work on your part. Though, if you're not willing to do that, I don't blame you. I for one don't know what it's like from a teacher's prospective like yours, and I'd believe you if you said it was tough. Maybe teaching isn't cut out for you though. It doesn't give you the right to virtually abuse your class via an internet blog, which is just tacky by the way. It also doesn't give you the right to rob you students of a solid high school education. It's not a students' job to please you, it's your job to get a student an A to the best of your ability in a reasonable fashion. So sure, some students may still not give a s***. If so, give them an F. Some students might still be a**holes, but I had a pretty good relationship with Silverfox and all the principles at the school (not in a bad way) and I know they're all more than capable with dealing with those kids. And sure, some kids still might be drama queens (and kings, lets keep it pc) but hell, that's life. I also heard that this little stunt is getting your fired, and to all the students and parents that you've pissed off over the years, I'm going to take this opportunity to say good riddance!

Jeff Shoolbraid

PS. Presidents have something to do with politics, I hope you've learned this by now.

matt said...

wow ur future as a teacher is pretty muched f***ed at this point. i dont even go to east

style&music said...

Real Classy Ms. Munroe. I just have to say that I am very disappointed by this. I originally didn't completely loath you like the rest of the junior class, but my feelings have now changed. I don't appreciate how in a previous post you stated that describing teachers and administrators with four letter words was inappropriate, is describing your own students with these same words acceptable? How's that for a rhetorical question?

Also, how could you not have even thought to delete this? The worst of the posts are from a year ago, why didn't you delete them? It's understandable to want to talk about your day at work, but the internet, seriously? By the way, what is my "cooperative in class" comment mean?

"A complete and utter jerk in all ways. Although academically ok, your child has no other redeeming qualities." well I don't believe an hour and a half a day for half a year can really lead you to a point where you can see a person's full character, you can't make those types of assumptions.

"Asked too many questions and took too long to ask them. The bell means it's time to leave!" FYI your job is to teach.

and the classiest "Rude, beligerent, argumentative f***." you tried to throw in a few "big words" but the final four letter word makes up for it.

I am not going to call make up some "comment" to describe your teaching skills, personality, or character because I only spent an hour and a half each day for a semester with you. Just a small part of my day, and an even smaller part of my life. I can't judge you from just that... But your blog(this post alone) gives me a better and full picture.

P.S. How was my use of ethos, pathos and logos?

WhatThe.... said...

Hit the screenshot button so many times, it's borderline rape.

Laura said...

Why in gods name would you become a teacher if you have so many problems with all your students. This is insane, I'm a senior at cb east right now and I'm almost positive you're leaving this school with me after this year.. sad thing is, I'm actually going to do something with my life.. you just ruined your chances. It's really sad that a 17 year old girl like myself can be more mature than a grown freaking woman like you. I'm just glad i had Hendrickson and Rosini my first couple years at East, I couldn't stand the thought of someone like you secretly bashing me and my classmates. Shame on you.

HELL HATH no fury like a teenager whose self-esteem has been assaulted. Especially those who have been raised by wolves.

I will, however, award a couple of points to the commenter who upbraided Munroe's condemnation of problematic students in her blog with some of the same profanity she found objectionable in the classroom. That would be at least a middling command of logos, while I found this aggrieved student's attempts at pathos and ethos less compelling.

Then again, my wife and I were volunteers in Catholic youth ministry before Munroe even was in high school herself. We've seen it all -- and that was at church. I can only imagine. . . .

Then again, I don't have to. We have the cache of a beleaguered educator's blog from the front lines of American decline. The date: Dec. 2, 2009. It sounds about right to me:
That brings us to today. There were myriad problems with today's class proceedings; so many, in fact, that I won't even bother to circumscribe them here. For the sake of relevance, I will note only those bits that concern this lad. First, when I was checking vocabulary and another boy didn't have his, I mentioned to the unprepared kid that this is the 3rd week in a row he didn't do his work. He asked if it would hurt his grade. I told him it would, a great deal. Then the other kid chimed in and said, "Yeah! She ruined my grade last marking period." I said, "I'm sorry... I ruined your grade?" "Yeah." "No. YOU ruined your grade. It was your actions or inactions which earned you your grade. I think it's time for you to stop trying to pass the buck to other people all the time, and start taking responsibility for your own actions. All you ever do it blame others for what happens to you. You need to own it." He told me I sounded like his mom and should stop saying things like his mom would say. Then, he had his head down for most of the block. When he did finally raise it, he took out paper and--surprise!--wrote another note. After my lesson, when walking past his desk, I confiscated the letter. He tried to hold the page down. I sternly told him that he'd better let it go because I was, indeed, taking it. He tried to tell me that I had no right--that it was his letter. I said, "Actually, it's MY letter. This is MY time in MY class, and this is now MY letter." I took it and put it on my desk. I didn't even look at it. Moments later, he came up to my desk and picked it up as though to take it. I said, "You'd better put that letter back on my desk and walk away." We had a reprise of the "It's my property" conversation, but I said, "I suggest you put it down now because if you leave here with that letter you are most definitely getting written up for it." He said, "I was just going to rip it up and throw it out." I told him that I would take care of it. He then followed me to the door saying, "I'm waiting to see you rip it up. I'm watching.... Rip it." The bell rang. I fixed him with a stare and said, "This is now my letter. I will do with it what I want. The discussion is closed. Get out of my room." By this time, he was in the hall and the girl was coming over from across the hall. He said something to her like, "Yeah. I don't have the letter--" I interrupted and said, "--I have it. Now go." Then SHE started in, trying to get it from me. She goes, "Can I have my note?" I said, "No. It's my note. Goodbye." She said, looking annoyed, "But it's mine. Can't I just have it?" Me, getting more and more pissed off, "The note is mine. He wrote it in my class on my time. You two are always writing notes back and forth and texting through class. It's going to stop. You aren't getting this letter." He sort of pulled her away and said something to her. I can only assume he'd indicated the contents of the note to her because she came back, told me that she'd asked him to write it, and some other bunk. I interrupted a final time, a nanosecond from writing this chick up, too, for arguing with me, and said, "I don't know what the note says. I didn't read it and don't really care what's in it. I won't even read it. But neither of you are getting it back and I'm not going to discuss it with you further." The boy latched onto that, saying, "You didn't read it? Good. Because you'd cry. But ok, if you don't read it, good. Deal!" and pulled the girl away with him.
WHAT CAN one say? Apart, of course, from "We welcome our new Chinese overlords!"

Perhaps when they take over what's left of America, it will be safe for Natalie Munroe to teach once again.

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