Natalie Munroe: A Tale of a Teacher in a Digital Age
In comments on public Facebook pages, using their real names, listed as belonging to the “Central Bucks East High School” network, many of these “almost utopian” students let loose:
… she was retarded.
MS. MUNROE … YOUR A FUCKING TEACHER, NOW FUCKING ACT LIKE IT, YOUR 3 YR OLD DAUGHTER HAS MORE RESPECT THAN YOU!
Fuck capitalism, fuck communism, fuck the American dream, fuck America, fuck your blind faith, fuck society not the kids or the parents.
An East teacher defends them: “They don’t always make the right comment and don’t carry themselves as adults, because they’re not. They’re kids.”
It was a perfect storm. The kids understood all the fancy new media, but didn’t care about the risks of airing all their thoughts on it. And the adults? They understood the consequences, but not the medium where this whole thing had been playing out.
Principal Lucabaugh, for one, hadn’t seen any of the students’ comments online. As he wrote in response to an e-mail from a Munroe supporter: “I don’t belong to [F]acebook.”
ONE ADULT, THOUGH, seems to have figured it out.
Recently, rumors swirled in teachers’ lounges at East that Munroe had a book deal in the works. While she admits to being naive about the privacy of posting online, she isn’t naive about her future, especially now that she has Anna Caroline at home, born on March 26th. Her maternity leave ends in May.
“Hopefully, in the end, it will work out and I can teach again,” she says. “I have no control over it. What can I do?”
What she’s decided to do is something made possible by this brave new media world: She can build an online platform. She can take advantage of the national press and the fact that a Google search for “Natalie Munroe” yields nearly half a million results. She can keep writing online, where a 30-year-old with fewer than nine semesters of teaching under her belt can start the “conversation” about problems in education. More than 3,000 people “like” the “I Support Natalie Munroe” Facebook page. In mid-April, her new blog had 635 followers. There have been more than 100,000 visits to her site since she launched it, averaging about 400 views a day. Two recent posts have been viewed around 3,000 times each.
Maybe she doesn’t need to teach again.
On March 3rd, Natalie Munroe appeared on “Fox & Friends” for the second time. The show was running a segment on coddling kids. And they called in Natalie Munroe.
As an expert.