In a world before email and texting, students were required to appear, in-person, during office hours, to ask a teacher a question.
Try it sometime, but don’t be surprised if the interaction is awkward. Students always seem to think their visit is disturbing me. Not true. The only reason I’m in my office is so you can come in. And when I say ‘come in’, I literally mean – come in. Most students linger by the doorway as if my office floor is paved in hot coals. And that empty chair next to my desk? It’s not an electric chair. It’s there for you, so we can sit comfortably and talk.
As a result, most students opt for email, especially when the question involves something negative. Missed a test? Forgotten homework? Half-written paper? Excessive absences? Who wants to sit inches from their teacher’s skeptical frown while they discuss their dog’s homework eating fetish?
If you choose to go the email route, here are TEN commonly used email tricks a teacher will quickly dismiss.
TEN EMAIL PITFALLS TO AVOID
- “I stopped by your office, but you weren’t there.”
No you didn’t, so don’t say it.
- “I couldn’t make it to class today 🙁 So I’ll be handing my paper in tomorrow!”
“Not for you to decide.”
- “I put my paper in your box. Just wanted to make sure you got it.”
“See above. If the paper was due during class, don’t assume the teacher will take it just because you wrote it in an email.”
- “You haven’t confirmed you received my paper. You must have missed my first email where I sent you my paper as an attachment. I’m resending the paper now.”
No again. The missing email strategy is a red flag especially when it arrives a few days after a due date.
- “I understand this paper is late and you won’t give me a grade. I just wanted you to read it so you know that I tried my best.”
What? I was planning on reading the dictionary today!
- “About my absences, I just wanted you to know that it’s not you. I really like your class.”
Whew! I was worried about that.
- “I was going to email you earlier, but I didn’t know your name.”
Okay, now my feelings are hurt.
- “I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to come to campus during this weather, so I’m emailing you my paper. Due to the weather, it’s little late.”
How do you think I got here? On a magic carpet?
- “Here’s my paper. I had to email it because I overslept!”
Then why didn’t you hit send before you fell asleep?
- “Here’s my paper!” (attachment missing)
Here’s my grade. 0%
Ooooh, that’s mean on my part.
The missing attachment scenario actually happens quite often. When it does, I’ll email a student back immediately and let them know they forgot the attachment. However, if the student doesn’t respond within a few hours, I have to assume there was no paper.
All comments welcome!