A Teacher’s Second Career Writing Soft-Core Porn


According to an article posted to the local television station’s website, parents in Snyder County, Pennsylvania are outraged by a high school English teacher’s second job.  It turns out that Judy Buranich, a 25-year veteran teacher at Midd West High School in Middleburg, writes erotica on the side. Published under the pen-name, Judy Mays, her books have titles like Undercover Heat, A Breath of Heat, Celestial Passions, and In the Heat of the Night… are you sensing a pattern here?

The article quotes two parents and two former students who state their distaste for her second career and suggest that it makes her unfit to teach teenagers.  One parent notes: “Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side?” While the other suggests: “She is teaching children that are under the age of 18 and definitely the books that she is writing are adult books. I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author.”  My favorite quote, though, has to be from a former student: “I was sort of shocked. Sitting in her class I had no idea. She is a good teacher but I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes.”

He makes it sound so untoward.

As far as I can tell, behind the scenes a middle-aged lady is sitting at a laptop pecking out the written equivalent of Skinamax—you know the soft-core porn that airs late-night on premium cable channels in which naked women and semi-naked men (you rarely see full-frontal male nudity in these shows) simulate sex set to the dulcet tones of saxophone music. The covers of her books are like knock-offs of Harlequin romance novels and look so cheap, practically fake, that they make one wonder if they are self-published (but they are available on Amazon and have Kindle versions to boot so I guess they’re for real).  When I “peeked inside” of Rednecks ‘n’ Romance (because how could I not) I got bad dialogue and a lot of cursing but no sex. Still, Amazon only lets you see the first few pages, so I must admit that her stuff could be a lot kinkier than it appears. 

What I personally find most disturbing is that the majority of Ms. Buranich’s/Mays’s books seem to be about werewolves, aliens, or vampires but this does not appear to be why parents are concerned.  They are upset because this mild-mannered woman (who looks a lot like a pre-makeover Susan Boyle, the Britain’s Got Talent runner-up) spends her nights writing and thinking about sex.  That, in-and-of-itself, seemingly makes her unfit to teach high schools students (or anyone under 18). 

My immediate reaction to this was outrage and disgust. Do we really live in a society that is so scared of sex that proof that you think about it after hours (we all do by the way, we just don’t all commit those thoughts to paper), reflects poorly on your character? 

I had to check myself a little just to make sure that my knee-jerk, liberal-lefty reaction to anything that smacks of censorship or, hell, prudishness, wasn’t then followed up with hypocrisy. Am I saying that it is never appropriate to consider what a teacher writes in his/her spare time as part of the criteria for their fitness to teach?  Or is it just that, as a sex educator, my exposure to and tolerance for sexual content is higher than that of the parents of Snyder County?  Where is my line?  What would a person have to write in their spare time to make me think that he/she was unfit to teach my child? 

Since most porn doesn’t really bother me, I tried to use another genre of fiction that does as a kind of mental litmus test. I hate any depictions of torture.  I can watch people in movies get shot and killed without too much trouble but any scenes that show (or even let us hear) a person getting beaten or whipped make me nauseated.  I turn away.  And, yet, movies like Saw I–IV and Youth Hostel XI, which have little plot other than torture (and have been referred to as torture porn), have wide audiences. I can’t believe that anyone watches them, and I can’t imagine what kind of a writer could dream this stuff up.

That said, these movies are works of fiction and if I found out that my kid’s teacher spent summers on a back lot somewhere making these films I would not immediately jump to the conclusion that he no longer fit to teach algebra.

We don’t know what most teachers do or think in their spare time and that’s probably for the best.  But unless it becomes clear that their personal preferences and viewpoints are seeping into the classroom this shouldn’t be the basis on which we judge their performance.  Ms. Buranich is clear that she’s writing novels for adults (her website says that it’s for those over 18); she did not share her work with her students.  In fact, by using a pen name she made efforts to keep her two professions separate.  Her 25-year career should not be set aside and her judgment questioned just because a parent discovered her bibliography on the web.

Now, if the parents want to question her qualifications based on Mays’s barely coherent plots and bad grammar….

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  • crowepps

    Parent Wendy Apple has a son in 10th grade at Midd West High School in Middleburg. His English teacher’s name is Judy Buranich. Apple said she recently found out that after school Buranich has a second job; she writes erotic romance novels.

    “Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side,” Apple said. She added she found all of the information on the internet.

    And HOW does her son know?  WHO is the person who told her son the shocking knowledge so that he could sit in her class thinking about porn?  Who is the one who “found all of the information” and spread it all over town?  Why it was MOM!  Why is this woman gossiping about her son’s teacher?  Why is this mother talking to her son about porn?

     

    I think this woman should have kept her big flapping mouth shut and then her son would still have no idea and there wouldn’t be any scandal for her to be all freaked out about.

     

  • ack

    Unless her books contain inappropriate relationships between adults and minors, this is completely irrelevant to her job. Presumably, a lot of teachers read erotica and watch porn. She was enterprising enough to say, “Hey, I could do this.” Because let’s face it, most erotica is not difficult to write. If she’s a good teacher, she’s a good teacher.

     

    And crowepps, I totally agree about Angry Mom’s son.