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Pennsylvania teacher suspended for blog post calling students “lazy whiners”

A high school English teacher in Pennsylvania is fighting for her job after a post to her blog, in which she called her students “disengaged, lazy whiners” and wondered what is wrong with calling them out?

The Associated Press reports that Natalie Munroe, 30, wrote in one post that her students “curse, discuss drugs, talk back, argue for grades, complain about everything, fancy themselves entitled to whatever they desire, and are just generally annoying.”

The blog posts, since removed by the now-suspended teacher, touched a nerve online. Supporters praised her for taking a “tough love” approach while critics called her profanity-laden posts something akin to verbal abuse, the AP said.

Munroe’s blog was originally intended to be just for family and friends before it was brought to the school’s attention by students.

This news comes to me on the same morning that we published an article titled “National Merit students see technology’s impact,” in which stellar students from Bozeman High School praise connectivity and all the power that digital tools give them to learn — an initiative at BHS driven by a group called the Tech Junkies, which gathers teachers, administrators and students to find and promote new classroom technologies.

Two sides of the coin when it comes to depicting how students and teachers interact with each other through digital means.

It’s an interesting situation. We consistently ask teachers to become more involved with their students and to connect with where they are — online. Yet few guidelines are given to teachers about how they should conduct themselves online, especially when things they post online — seemingly not intended for students — can be read by anyone, students included.

Are you a teacher? How do you interact with your students online on social networking sites? Does your school have a policy in place for this sort of thing?

And here’s an open question: What role should technology play in the relationship between teachers and students?