The Sex and Werewolf-Obsessed Novelist (But NOT Naked!) Teacher Principle

Could YOUR English teacher have written this?

Mild-mannered  Judy Buranich has taught high school English in Pennsylvania’s Midd-West School District for 33 years, always with the accolades of parents and students. Until recently, however, she had successfully kept a very different second occupation secret: under the pen name “Judy Mays,” she has forged a niche in the genre novel field, writing erotic fantasy suspense tales about lusty women who are typically involved in complex love-triangles where one or more participants are outer space aliens, vampires, or especially werewolves. On the Judy Mays website, a synopsis of her latest novel, “Undercover Heat,” reports:

“Melody Gray has a dilemma, two of them really. First, a CIA agent name Nick Price has appeared at her detective agency looking for a former client of hers named Jake Fields….What Nick isn’t telling Melody is that he’s really searching for Jake because his superior believes he’s a werewolf, not that Nick believes in them….What Melody isn’t telling Nick is that Jake Hurley is really Garth Gray, her brother.  She knows exactly why Nick Price is hunting her brother.  After all, Garth is really a werewolf.  So is Melody for that matter….Melody’s second problem?  Seems there’s a wolf named Drake who thinks she’d make the perfect mate.  Melody isn’t interested.  Go live in the woods as a wolf for the rest of her life and give up bubble baths and chocolate?  No way!  All she has to do is figure out how to convince Drake, who’s got to be the most stubborn wolf she’d ever met. Two males, one human, one wolf, and both driving Melody to distraction….”

Kinky! (The website directs readers under the age of 18 to leave.) Kinkier still is Buranich-Mays’s prose, like this selection from “Fires of Solstice”:

She heard the door open. Too soon for James. Some coworker then.

“Not now. I need to be alone.”

“But I want you now.”

That voice! Damn all fucking men to hell! Spinning around, Meredythe stared at the stranger from her boss’s office. His silvery-gray eyes bored into hers. Six feet tall, wickedly lean with muscles clearly defined by his tight, black t-shirt and jeans, he exuded sensuality.

A shiver danced its way up Meredythe’s spine and shattered the composure she’d regained as she let her gaze slide down his body. Damn, but he was a hunk. If only he would turn around so she could get a look at his ass. A picture of him standing naked before her flashed in her mind. Her cunt muscles tightened and her nipples tingled. She looked back up into his face.

The corners of his mouth lifted slightly. Amusement appeared in his eyes. “Like what you see?”

Jerking her gaze from his, Meredythe’s anger burned higher. How could she find such an arrogant man attractive? She hated arrogant men.

He held out his hand. “Come to me.”

Hubba Hubba! But a couple of students learned about the teacher’s secret identity, and soon parents were demanding answers, accountability and dismissal. Wendy Apple, one of the parents who want to throw the veteran English teacher to the werewolves,  had Buranich as an English teacher in high school and thought she was “top-of-the-line.” Alas, no longer. Apple says the Judy Mays books are “unethical, totally unacceptable. Period. It just sort of sickens and saddens me to know everybody’s sort of looking at this like, hey, this is OK.”

Like, hey, this is OK.

Buranich’s writing career undermines her ability to teach high school students English in no discernible way. Her dual careers do not trigger The Naked Teacher Principle, which holds that once an instructor allows photographs of herself (or himself) nude to become available for viewing by students, parents are not being unreasonable to conclude that the naked teacher has undermined her ability to be taken seriously as an authority figure. For one thing, Buranich isn’t nude, her characters are. She is teaching English, and her ability to get her own novels published and sold both demonstrates her competence and provides interest and inspiration for her students. Her novels do not undermine her moral authority, any more than the novels she may assign in class. They are light fiction, not serious “How to Have Hot Sex With Werewolves” manuals.

What has Buranich done that is so “unethical”? Are the novels themselves unethical? No; they are erotic fantasy, with a hint of fetishism. Is the language in the books unethical? No; that’s the genre, and there isn’t a word in the novels that would shock any of her teenaged students. Did she take reasonable precautions to make sure her extra-curricular novelizing wouldn’t impinge on her effectiveness as a teacher? Apparently: nobody discovered who Judy Mays really was for many years. Unlike the Naked Teacher scenarios, no smitten students are likely to start seeing the middle-aged Buranich as a sex object. How, precisely, is her now-blown cover going to harm her students and their educational prospects in any way?

It won’t. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure Judy Buranich is soon going to be Judy Mays full time, unfair and unreasonable as this is. Too many parents would rather see their children instructed in English by teachers who couldn’t write a publishable paragraph of prose if their life depended on it, than allow students to learn how to express themselves from a successful writer of erotic werewolf novels.

In the end, this is less about ethics than it is about narrow-mindedness, snap-judgments, misaligned priorities, and once again, the “Ick factor.”  Buranich’s novels are certainly strange fare coming from a mild-mannered Pennsylvania English teacher.  But she had every right to author them, and their existence doesn’t compromise her ability to teach in any way.

18 thoughts on “The Sex and Werewolf-Obsessed Novelist (But NOT Naked!) Teacher Principle

  1. You’re just covering your own butt for when we discover that you’re actually Marsh Jackson, author of steamy novels as “Ethics Heat” and “The Golden Ruler,” about a wealthy teacher with a taste for opulent discipline.

  2. “Buranich’s writing career undermines her ability to teach high school students English in no discernible way.”

    I have to disagree with you there. If the synopsis and excerpt you quoted above are representative of her overall work, she is an extraordinarily terrible writer. I wouldn’t want someone who writes things like “Her cunt muscles tightened and her nipples tingled” to be tasked with teaching English to teenagers, but it’s not because the vulgar language offends me, it’s because that is just an appallingly silly way to describe sexual arousal.

    And I hope you won’t counter by reiterating that her novels proved “publishable.” That’s really not an adequate gauge of literary quality. If you set a thousand monkeys down at a thousand keyboards, the first one that produced a vaguely readable novel about sexual affairs involving supernatural creatures would get a lucrative contract and be widely read by repressed high school girls and their sexually frustrated mothers.

    • No, I’m going to counter by saying that I will bet you anything you like that even if the selection is representative, she writes better than 99% of the English teachers in the nation. Hell, she writes better than Dan Brown, and he taught English at Amherst. We’re not talking about a high bar here. If she can teach all of her students to write as well as she does, they’ll be so far over the average citizen that they couldn’t be seen without a telescope.

      Anyway, I’m a middle-aged ethics teacher from Boston. I have no idea if that’s a good description of sexual arousal or not.

  3. What has been seen cannot be unseen.

    But she had every right to write those books. Free speech and all that. Still, a full-time niche novelist has to be better pay than a teacher.

  4. The public needs to be highly skeptical anytime we hear that free speech/expression must be stifled “for the good of the children!”

    The fact remains that this woman wrote these novels on her own time, in private, and even used a pen name so she wouldn’t be clearly associated with the work. She never mentioned these novels to her students.

    The larger issue here appears to be a bored or perhaps vindictive parent.

    • But the erotica, she said, “is unethical, totally unacceptable. Period. It just sort of sickens and saddens me to know everybody’s sort of looking at this like, hey, this is OK.”

      It’s not a vindictive parent. It’s a puritan parent.

      • How do you define “puritan”, TGT? And why is it that the writer of sex novels- be she literate or not- is considered a fit role model for children? Whether she physically emulates her tawdry and occasionally occult characters is not the only issue. That a person can write sexualized trash of this nature is indicative OF character right there. As to literacy again; why must there be a choice? Aren’t there enough competant AND morally straight teachers anymore to meet the demand? If not, then it’s a further indictment of our public school systems.

        • For puritan, I’ll go with merriam webster online:

          As a noun: one who practices or preaches a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code than that which prevails

          As an adjective: of or relating to puritans, the Puritans, or puritanism.

          I don’t see any reason she can’t be a role model. I also don’t see being a role model as a necessary requirement to teach.

          • We’re talking about teachers AND children, TGT. “Role model” has everything to do with it. Children look to their adult authority figures as they develop their attitudes and personalities. And they remember those teachers through life. In 1956-7, my kindergarten teacher was a kindly old lady named Mrs. Keith. I can name and remember all of my homeroom teachers (and others in middle and high school) and what their characterstics were. Their characters MATTER. If that’s being “puritan”, fine.

            • Teachers don’t have to be the best of us so long as they aren’t the worst of us. I can remember a significant percentage of my teachers as well. The most important thing was whether they could teach, not whether they dressed in a suit, or had runs in their stockings, or occasionally cursed in class.

              Now, if this teacher were a murderer? An arsonist? A serial liar? Those would all be causes for replacement.

              • I think that being sex-obsessed- or catering to those others who are sex-obsessed- rates as such when it comes to school teachers. Again, this is a matter of character. And few things matter more in a classroom. Anyone with as much as two years of college ought to be able to teach elementary school children. But how do you teach them the all-important lessons of manners and virtues when extra-curricular clientele is composed of those who reject the very concepts? And that you yourself profit by catering to this? That mental “wall” that some build between two disparate lives can prove all too porous in practice.

                • I think that being sex-obsessed- or catering to those others who are sex-obsessed- rates as such when it comes to school teachers.

                  Unless she starts writing sexual things at school, it doesn’t matter.

                  Anyone with as much as two years of college ought to be able to teach elementary school children

                  Clearly, you’ve never been a teacher. I weep for our future.

                  But how do you teach them the all-important lessons of manners and virtues when extra-curricular clientele is composed of those who reject the very concepts?

                  By understanding that what’s appropriate for adults isn’t necessarily appropriate for kids? It’s not like it’s not something that all parents have to be able to do. Also, I don’t see the concepts of manners and virtues being rejected by anyone here.

  5. “Too many parents would rather see their children instructed in English by teacher’s who couldn’t write a publishable paragraph of prose if their life depended on it, than allow students to learn how to express themselves from a successful writer of erotic werewolf novels.”

    I don’t usually do this, but the irony of your apostrophe misuse in a sentence about the fallibility of English teachers was just too much.

    • Really? Bite me. It was a typo. If I had an editor, He or she would have fixed it. The post is four years old, and this is the first time anyone brought it to my attention, albeit snottily. And I have been published, many times. I’m sure you can find lots of typos among the 5000 posts here, if that floats your boat. You’re a jerk. Unleash that.

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