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Monday, February 28, 2011

Teaching Teenagers: A Piece of Cake?

"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers." 
 Socrates


If your high school students are “ rude, disengaged, lazy whiners” who “curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire and are just generally annoying” and you state this easily observable fact in public, should you lose your job?

            Does it depend on the venue? For example, walk into any local bar after 5 PM in any city in the United States and you’ll find a teacher sucking down a Corona and complaining about her students to the bartender. Would you insist that this teacher be fired for venting to her favorite therapist/mixologist?
 (Note: When a teacher starts putting vodka in her personalized mug and drinks it while teaching a 2nd period American Lit class at 9 AM, that’s an entirely different issue. Believe it or not, this does happen occasionally. Teaching isn’t as easy as it looks. Really.)

How about if instead of sharing with her bartender, this teacher wrote her comments down and posted them on her private blog/diary? No problem because that’s private, right? Well, no. These days, nothing is private. What if one of the “rude, disengaged lazy whiners” proved to be not-so-lazy and hacked into the teacher’s private blog and posted her comments on FaceBook?

Natalie Monroe, a high school teacher in Philadelphia, is currently suspended with pay during an investigation into her blog, which was hacked into and posted online by one of her students.  Her comments, quoted above, are critical of some of her students, and she apparently took a few licks at the school administration while she was at it.

Now I ask you, should Natalie lose her job because of her comments?  I personally believe that if a teacher’s students are “rude, disengaged, lazy whiners” the teacher should have the right to say so. As for writing about your school’s administrators, you should be allowed to do that, too. Just don’t expect a great reference when you want to change jobs.

Despite all this fuss, Natalie says that she wants to continue teaching. Um…Why? Just asking.

Read more about Natalie Monroe:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/17/us-teacher-blog-odd-idUSTRE71G4WQ20110217

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