Dammit! Here I was, minding my own business; preparing a post on another awesome history book I finished reading, when this story crossed my desk.
After reading several news stories on Mrs. Munroe and her blog, and reading thousands of comments made by teachers, parents, community members, trolls, and anybody else with an agenda, I knew that I had to weigh in with some common sense.
Here are the facts:
3. in this blog, she posted minor quibbles, complaints, and criticisms about her students. She was bitching.
4. Some of her students found the blog.
5. She has been suspended with pay pending resolution of this mess.
Now that we know the facts, let’s talk about what this isn’t.
First, this isn’t about freedom of speech. Let’s take that off the table. Mrs. Munroe has every right to say whatever she wants to say about her students, her co-workers, herself, or anybody else. Where I come from, there is a thing called the Constitution with a Bill of Rights that guarantees the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Of course, while she has the absolute right to be a bitch, I also have the absolute right to say that she is, in my opinion, a self-centered, narcissistic, me-monkey, BITCH with a capital b-i-t-c-h.
What she did was stupid, plain and simple. As a teacher, we all have bad days in the classroom. We all have students that push our buttons. We should also have the sense to know that blanket insults like those from Mrs. Munroe will come back and bite us in the ass.
I’ve been hit, spat at, called names, threatened with death or death of loved-ones, cursed at, told to do things that are anatomically impossible, and screamed at. Sometimes I even work in juvenile hall for some peace and quiet. I rarely get the opportunity to see the same kids over a long period of time, and I even more rarely have the opportunity to bond with the students in a meaningful way.
And yet, I do my best to bond with them. I sit, day after day, being threatened, being cursed at, and all the rest. I do it because I give a damn. It became clear to me very early on what teaching was really about. Are there days when I consider that I might have made a mistake in becoming a teacher? Yes. But not because teaching is too demanding. Not because I believed that all my students would love me and I’m disappointed that they don’t. I sometimes wonder if I made the right career choice because I wonder if I’m good enough. The only thing that keeps me doing it is because I know that there are pain-in-the-ass kids that are lazy, disrespectful, and other things Mrs. Munroe has said. I know it because I was all of those things. But where my teachers had a right (see constitution) to say what a dick I was in school, they instead kept working on me and doing what they could to help me learn what they were trying to teach. That is a lesson that Mrs. Munroe seems never to have learned.
Apparently, Mrs. Munroe disagrees with them and thinks she has found a better solution. she came up with a way to quit that would give her the obligatory 15 minutes of fame, allow her to keep getting paid while she birthed her second child, potentially allow her to come back and resume teaching, taking a job away from a young teacher who might be better suited to being in a classroom.
Second, this isn’t about trying to engage in dialog about the state of education, the relative ability or inability of parents to control their children, or a debate on whether kids today suck because they aren’t as well-behaved as they were back in the day!
Mrs. Munroe missed the boat there. She could have engaged her parents in that very conversation if she knew how to communicate (ironic, considering she was an English teacher). What many teachers (especially union teachers, my next point notwithstanding) fail to understand is that parents are our best friends. No parent seeks to screw their children over. No parent wants to see their child fail or be looked down upon by society. They want us to work together. Most parents (not all of course) would be overjoyed to have a conversation with a teacher about their child as long as the teacher was able to avoid sounding like they are talking down to the parent (who generally pays the teacher’s salary). I can imagine that nobody wanted to have that conversation with Mrs. Munroe, because she showed herself to be a bitch while anonymous. I can only wonder how bad she would be in a one-on-one situation.
Much to my own disappointment, this isn’t even about heavy-handed teachers’ unions flexing muscles and keeping bad teachers in the classroom!
The union has a chance here. I’m sure they didn’t sanction Munroe’s comments or choice of writing her blog during class time. I’m sure many of them are horrified as well. Their choice is whether they will stand up for what is right, or if they will stand up for this teacher who has proven by the sheer stupidity of posting her invective for the world to see instead of bitching individually to her husband, sister, friend, bartender, pool-boy, or whoever.
On the bright side, the pending birth of her baby, if nothing else will keep her out of a classroom, at least temporarily. Hopefully, she will have the good sense to stay out permanently, since she is obviously so unhappy with her career choice. That being said, whenever one bad teacher leaves, another must take her place. Enjoy!