with Talyaa Liera
I'm Talyaa, the poster child for the concept that there's no one right way to be a parent. I went from stay-at-home attachment-parenting mom of four to being the non-custodial parent, working as a professional writer and channel-psychic. Let's talk about throwing away the parenting manual and exploding the myths and mystique of motherhood!
Check out my personal blog at Juxtapositioning.
By now you’ve likely heard the story about Natalie Munro, the Philadephia-area high school English teacher who was suspended last week for blogging rants about her students. She is said to have characterized them as “out of control” and “disengaged, lazy whiners.” I should also point out Munro was blogging on her personal blog, didn’t identify herself by her full name, and didn’t mention the name of her school or any individual students.
If you read the only post on Munro’s blog that is still standing — the other 84 posts have been removed — you can see more of the story. You get a picture of a teacher who became frustrated with the nature of things. Who among us wants to give 110% all the time when it consistently falls on deaf ears and seems unappreciated? Some of her students likely are disengaged lazy whiners. And many are amazing people who care about their future and the futures of all of us, but it’s the students who appear not to care who make things harder for everyone else.
My mom gave up teaching elementary school after 20-some years back in 1980. She was tired, she said, of students who didn’t care and parents who didn’t care. That was a long time ago. It’s still happening. We haven’t fixed anything.
The story got my attention largely because Munro teaches in the district where my older daughter went to high school, next door to the district my three younger kids are in now. But the more I read, the more I began to agree with Munro. I think these things needed to be said. Our kids need to hear direct criticism. We need to stop treating them as if they’ll break. We need to acknowledge the truth about ourselves, our children, and our school system. Being “nice” isn’t helping.
I think that Munro made some serious mistakes, though. She should have realized that as a teacher and therefore a public figure, her blog — even though it had only nine followers — is a public forum and that comments made there impact her standing in the community. She should also have taken another route in conveying criticism to her students. Waiting until you are so incredibly frustrated with a situation that you nearly explode causes it to build exponentially, which diminishes any ability to convey information in a balanced way that can be heard and received. Isn’t this what parent teacher conferences are for? And don’t teachers have an opportunity to meet with troubled students on a nearly daily basis? Constructive criticism, effectively and compassionately delivered, leaves everyone feeling better. Munro missed her chance to make a real difference.
What do you think? Was the suspension justified? And do you want your child’s teacher to be scathingly (but compassionately) honest about your child? Can you take it?
Subscribe to blog via RSS