Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Mr. Savage

Every now and then, I get nuggets of wisdom or comical emails from my students. Below are a few I have gotten recently:

When one student asked another for help just before a quiz:

Pretty much, there is a lot of stuff that you need to be able to do, and if you don't know how to do it, that sounds like a personal problem.
A personal problem? Harsh, but language that I would use. 

Two students discussing how long one of them has been with her boyfriend:

Student 1 to student 2: "It's your anniversary today?" Me: "Anniversary of what?" Student 2: "Dating my boyfriend-8 months" Student 1: "Aww. That's adorable. That's like three quarters of a year!" Me: "No, that's 2/3 of a year..."

Emails- all of these are unedited, in their entirety. Names have obviously been removed.

A student asking for clarification on a homework assignment
Subj: Map thingydo you want me to draw perty pictures on my map?
Yes, I would like you to add pictures to the assignment, but it is not important whether or not they are "perty".

A student was not feeling well, and that apparently meant that he could not use grammar appropriately too:

I have a headache tonight please can u please take it easy on practice.

A student realizing that he had the wrong textbook at the beginning of the year:
Oh. Shit. Mr Hartford didn't tell me that there were different textbooks and I assumed they were the same since it just says chemistry. Ill get one tomorrow.
While not having the appropriate textbook would elicit the same response, I am not sure if the feeling would be strong enough for me to say it to a teacher.

Trying to be witty/hip, and usually failing.
Kwik Kwestion Mr. S, the research for the Research paper due tommorow, or the actual Research Paper

Sup S Dog,I noticed my grade was a 79.6 ish and was wondering if that could get bumped to an 80. I noticed it a few days ago but didn't want to mention it in case you intended on doing so already.Best, Student's name.

S Dog. That's new.

Hello Señor Savvy,Is the lab whole writeup supposed to be typed or only the conclusion. Ive been told both and it worries me.Thank you, Student's name.

Señor Savvy, for when I teach my chemistry classes in Spanish. Hola estudiantes, hoy vamos a aprender la química

Complete emails, with no context:
What can I do to get my grade up quick?

You could start your emails with a greeting, put your name somewhere in the email, and use appropriate grammar. My response was "Who are you?"

if i didnt send these in time im sorry, ive been quite sick, ill have my mom send you an email if need be

Where was your mom when you wrote this email? I am sure that she would want to look this over and wonder when the public school system failed at teaching her son how to write.

im sending them through this email i tried to send them through the other but if you didn't get them ...i tried plan "B" instead.
I hope it wasn't what most people consider to be plan B. We would have a significantly larger issue on our hands then.

Hey here's my email.
Phew. I was wondering what I would do without it.

Now, most of the emails that I receive don't fit the caricature of the emails that have been presented here. Most, however, are missing greetings, signatures, etc, and have at least one grammatical error. While writing emails does not fall within the typical curriculum for high school classes, this skill is still important. Perhaps the lack of formality is due to the relationship that the students perceive that they have with me, but I have a feeling that these emails are commonly received by teachers.

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