'I hate your kid'
An American teacher is suspended after blogging trash talk about her students. But do we expect too much of teachers, asks Adele Hamilton.
For a year, American high school teacher Natalie Munroe wrote an anonymous blog in which she shared her thoughts about her life. Included in her posts were some in which she let off steam about her job and especially the annoying students. (The original blog was deleted.)

Last week, she was walked out of her school by officials, after students discovered her blog and circulated links. Currently the education authorities are deciding what to do: fire her to placate angry parents and students, risking legal action on freedom-of-speech grounds – or keep her on and face the wrath of the school community.

To complicate the issue, English teacher Munroe is 8-and-a-half months pregnant.

The things she said (since removed) were general remarks about the students being lazy, and a series of spoof report comments including things like:

"Nowhere near as good as her sibling. Are you sure they're related?"


"Am concerned that your kid is going to come in one day and open fire on the school. (Wish I was kidding.)"

As an outsider, the comments - which don’t refer to specific students by name – seem quite funny. Don’t we all sometimes get annoyed with the people we work with on a daily basis, and find a way to vent these feelings?

And teenage learners are no doubt at times frustrating even for the most dedicated teacher. Whether Munroe was a good or bad teacher, why is it not acceptable for her to express her feelings? Especially since, as she points out, she never intended them to be for general consumption, but rather for her friends – and herself.

I think it’s absurd to expect teachers only to feel and express positive feelings about their really challenging task.

Why do we think teachers should never feel negative? Surely it’s their actions that matter? Do we really think they have some sort of calling that makes them less sensitive to workplace annoyances than the rest of us?

Perhaps her biggest mistake was to trust to the anonymity of the internet, which takes only one weak link to break apart.

Read more by Adele Hamilton

How much right do teachers have to share the frustrations of their job?

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