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Author Topic: "favorite" student e-mails  (Read 4906117 times)
cgfunmathguy
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« Reply #20970 on: November 30, 2012, 11:37:31 am »

I'm Facebook friends with an advisee who graduated a few years ago (I never "friend" current students) and she recently posted a link to this article.

I was surprised by the reaction of the former student and her friends.  Some of the comments were, "Getting upset about lack of title use has always been a red flag about a professor to me", "I feel like every email to a prof for me has had "hey!" at the beginning", "In my book, "Hey!" is a perfectly acceptable way to start an email and I'm 35", "That second paragraph made me want to strangle the author".

I don't even know what to say.  Shouldn't college graduates know better?
You would think so. I mean, you wouldn't just walk up to the POTUS (assuming you could) and say "Hey, Barry." Why not? Because you don't know him and are being presumptive about familiarity. The same is true with a student whose first email (I've received one for next semester already) to a professor starts with "Hey, CG." However, no matter the salutation, it is our job to teach them how to address others with whom they don't (or shouldn't) have familiarity, especially if parents won't teach it.
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Alas, greatness and meaning are rarely coterminous with popular familiarity.
pgryffindor
Junior member
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Posts: 73

Why is all the rum gone?


« Reply #20971 on: November 30, 2012, 2:12:39 pm »

Here's a doozy:

Professor PG,

I am emailing you because I missed your test  yesterday. I have stayed up these past few days working on two design projects as well as studying for your test that I literally missed your test when I rested my head for 2 seconds. I have back to back classes after your class so my day wasn't over until 9:30 pm. I apologize for not taking it yesterday but it wasn't my intention to miss it. I came into work at 7 am and usually don't get off till 5 or so but I already explained to my boss I will need to leave for 2 hours to take a test. Please let me know what time you are free for me to take the exam. I apologize for the inconvenience but the semester has taken a bit of a toll on me. I hope it is not too much trouble, I know you are a busy person as well and I don't want to interfere with your schedule. Please let me know what I need to do.


Thank you,

[Student]



My response. I know I shouldn't feel like a jerk, but alas, I do even though all of my students have to deal with the same pressures of school, and this student has no excuse other than falling asleep. It sucks and it's a hard lesson to learn, but I have to be true to my word and follow the syllabus.

Student,

Thank you for contacting me. However, I am not on campus today and will not be back on campus until next Monday afternoon. The date for Exam 3 has been stated on the syllabus since the first day of the semester. Additionally, per the syllabus, a make-up exam is only granted for documented emergencies. Unfortunately, over-sleeping and work for other courses does not qualify as an excused absence. Therefore you are not eligible to make up the 3rd and final exam in [course].

Per the syllabus:

   It is expected that you will attend every exam. Vacation or holiday travel, heavy traffic, parking problems, work for other courses, and outside job responsibilities do not qualify for an excused absence. However, occasional emergencies do occur.  If possible, you must notify the Professor in advance.  If it is not an excused absence, you will receive a zero for the exam. (This policy also applies to university excused activities.)

If a true emergency occurs and it is impossible to notify the Professor in advance, the student must contact the Professor within 48 hours from the start of the exam and must be able to provide the Professor with sufficient proof of the emergency. If one of the two mid-semester exams is missed, it must be made up within one week of the originally scheduled exam. It is the studentís responsibility to schedule a make-up time with the Professor.
   
There is no cumulative final exam. Exam 3 will be held on the final day of instruction not during the final exam week. See the Topics, Readings, and Key Dates document for details. If the third exam, given on the final day of class, is missed it will be made up during the Universityís scheduled final exam period for the course. If two exams are missed, the student will receive an automatic zero for the second exam and no make-up exam will be granted.


As such, you will receive a 0 on Exam 3, which could result in a failing grade for the course due to your performance on the previous two exams, as well as your participation in the course. I have copied [department chair/advisor in another department] on this email to make him aware of the situation, so that you can meet with him to discuss how to best handle this situation and your courses for the Spring 2013 semester.

Regards,

PG

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My Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail.
usukprof
Not sure he's been around long enough to really be a
Member-Moderator
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 11,512

.


« Reply #20972 on: November 30, 2012, 2:16:31 pm »


My Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail.


You should have used an owl.
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woolfiac
Senior member
****
Posts: 570


« Reply #20973 on: November 30, 2012, 2:46:22 pm »

I'm a grad student who just started teaching. Been lurking here for a while, but I had to join and share this e-mail because it made me so happy:

Hi Woolfiac,

My [one page comment] turned out to be a first draft of my final
paper, I found myself writing and I just kept going. I don't expect a
lot of comments on it because I know that I was only supposed to write
a one-page commentary, and if you want me to write something else and
send it to you instead I can do that too. Just let me know! Sorry! I
couldn't help it, I felt really passionate about the subject and I
couldn't stop at just one page!

Best,

Awesome Student


Oh, please don't apologize for being excited and going above the assignment, Awesome Student! I haven't gotten a lot of snide, clueless e-mails quite yet, but after reading this thread, I think I might print this e-mail out and stick it on my wall for low days when I've gotten too many of the other kind...
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dr_know
It's hard out there for a
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 5,952


« Reply #20974 on: December 01, 2012, 3:41:16 am »

I'm a grad student who just started teaching. Been lurking here for a while, but I had to join and share this e-mail because it made me so happy:

Hi Woolfiac,

My [one page comment] turned out to be a first draft of my final
paper, I found myself writing and I just kept going. I don't expect a
lot of comments on it because I know that I was only supposed to write
a one-page commentary, and if you want me to write something else and
send it to you instead I can do that too. Just let me know! Sorry! I
couldn't help it, I felt really passionate about the subject and I
couldn't stop at just one page!

Best,

Awesome Student


Oh, please don't apologize for being excited and going above the assignment, Awesome Student! I haven't gotten a lot of snide, clueless e-mails quite yet, but after reading this thread, I think I might print this e-mail out and stick it on my wall for low days when I've gotten too many of the other kind...


Do that.  I still look at the book a student gave me long ago that listed all the wonderful things teachers are.  It reminds me that somebody somewhere liked and learned from me and didn't send crazy e-mails or shout at me in the hallways.  Ah, good times.
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It's a real shame I'm too young and too poor to retire...
^Listen to Dr. Know.  She Knows.
dr_alcott
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 11,930


« Reply #20975 on: December 01, 2012, 10:20:55 am »

I'm a grad student who just started teaching. Been lurking here for a while, but I had to join and share this e-mail because it made me so happy:

Hi Woolfiac,

My [one page comment] turned out to be a first draft of my final
paper, I found myself writing and I just kept going. I don't expect a
lot of comments on it because I know that I was only supposed to write
a one-page commentary, and if you want me to write something else and
send it to you instead I can do that too. Just let me know! Sorry! I
couldn't help it, I felt really passionate about the subject and I
couldn't stop at just one page!

Best,

Awesome Student


Oh, please don't apologize for being excited and going above the assignment, Awesome Student! I haven't gotten a lot of snide, clueless e-mails quite yet, but after reading this thread, I think I might print this e-mail out and stick it on my wall for low days when I've gotten too many of the other kind...


Do that.  I still look at the book a student gave me long ago that listed all the wonderful things teachers are.  It reminds me that somebody somewhere liked and learned from me and didn't send crazy e-mails or shout at me in the hallways.  Ah, good times.

My Happy Folder has printouts of these kinds of emails. I suspect that next week, when I'm mired in grading, I'll be taking that folder out and looking through it.
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You must be your own snow, Dr_Alcott.  You must lift, and sparkle, and then melt away.

I love everyone here!
barnaclegoose
Freshly Minted
Senior member
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Posts: 259


« Reply #20976 on: December 02, 2012, 10:56:15 pm »

My students emailed me rough drafts of their final papers, so that I can get them comments and make sure they're on the right track. The rough drafts are supposed to be as close to finished (in the sense of within spitting distance of the page limit, but still in need of revision) as possible. I open up the next email in line and get this gem:

Dear Professor Goose,
Attached is my rough draft. I simply did not have enough time to write out all my thoughts due to other work and commitments (I do not believe it was because of my mismanagement of time).

From,
Stu Dent

So, you didn't mismanage your time, but you still didn't complete the assignment as directed by the scheduled due date that's been on the syllabus since day one and I've reminded you about throughout the semester? I would call that mismanaging your time, dear Stu. Or at least, a choice in priorities if the management was intentional.

ETA: I neglected to say that this paper lacks anything resembling a thesis statement, or even a hypothesis.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 10:57:18 pm by barnaclegoose » Logged
fishprof
Super Duper Ooper Schmooper
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 3,250


« Reply #20977 on: December 02, 2012, 11:33:33 pm »

Ah, the end times have arrived....Warning!! Long Post.

From a student on Friday, the night before the written final exam and the oral practical exam.

"Good morning Fishprof,
I am looking at my grades and I am wondering what I need to do to get a C.  I missed some quizzes so can you turn those back on for me?  Also, can I do some sort of extra-credit project, so I can get a C?

Student-who-is-suddenly-concerned-with-grades"

So, I reply with:

"SWHSCWG,
Per the syllabus, no extra credit.
Fishprof"

Fast Forward 18 hours to written final (54%) and the Practical exam (6%) (Equivalent scenario: Go to Art Museum and look at Woven Basket Exhibit.  Question:  What is the primary constituent of the Reed basket shown here?  Answer:  Mud?)

So, student has bombed the final (Auto-Fail per the syllabus) and has grades in the 5 equally weighted categories of 46%, 54%, 60.1%, 56%, and 67% (standard 90-80-70-60 grade breakdown).   Clearly a FAIL, in essentially every category.  A quick check reveals roughly 20% of the work was never turned in (spread across the 4 non-final exam categories).

Cue email from last night:

"Good Afternoon Fishprof

 I am not feeling so good about the final written or oral exam, but I guess we will see Tues when you post the grades. Is there anything more I can do in order to pass with at least a low C? Any extra credit or anything?

 Thanks
Student-who-is-suddenly-concerned-with-grades"

You feel "not so good" about the oral exam?  In which you correctly answered 2 of 29 questions?  Go figure.

Repeat email about no extra credit.  Send blanket email to entire class saying RAW final exam grades are posted, to NOT email about grades until the period for submitting everything ends (that is Tomorrow night, BTW) and remind class to finish any outstanding work.

So tonight, I get this:

Fishprof [no longer accompanied by a 'Good Evening' - I note]
 I know that you do not want to be contacted about the RAW grades, but can you please tell me if there is anything at this point I can do in order to pass the course? Cause with the RAW grades posted, I am back to failing again. Any extra credit? Anything at all? Thank you for your time.
SSWHSCWG"

Before I even see that email, this one follows:

"Good Evening.
 
I just sent you an email, but ok, that is unfortunate, but your right it does say that. Looks like I am failing the course. I'm so upset and I wont be able to take classes in the spring because I will now lose my financial aid, but I understand .
 
Thanks"

I WANT to reply with something along the lines of:

IF your grade is so IMPORTANT to you, please explain why you
1) Missed 3 of the 10 class meetings, including BOTH the field trips;
2) Didn't do 8 of the quizzes (all online, with generous windows for taking them);
3) Blew off the three lab reports with your group, making up 25% of your lab grade;
4) Didn't bring your book, or notes (did you HAVE any?) for an open-note, open-book multiple choice written final;
5) Didn't bring/bother to prepare the allowed 3x5 notecard for the practical exam;
6) Never came to office hours for additional help;
7) Never stayed even 2hrs into the 3hr lab periods that you DID come to;
8) Think it is MY job to save your Financial Aid?


Instead, I'll maintain radio silence until the deadline to complete everything has passed.  I think I'll have a drink....

 
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"Before I hand back your exams, I'd just like to say how refreshing it is in this modern era to see that most students still don't give a damn about grades."
marigolds
looks far too young to be a
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 11,582

i had fun once and it was awful


« Reply #20978 on: December 02, 2012, 11:49:46 pm »

Oh, they're all going to start coming out of the woodwork now.

*rubs hands together expectantly*
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They are our servants.  They are like dogs.  Sometimes, they think they remember being wolves, but they are only dreaming.
big_giant_head
Possible nun-shoe wearing
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,384


« Reply #20979 on: December 03, 2012, 12:22:32 am »

How 'bout this one?

"I'm sorry I'm barely sending you my 10 sources & the annotated biographies."

No need to apologize, actually, since nothing was attached to the message. And yes, that should have been an annotated bibliography...but you take what you can get.
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carthago can haz delenda
krisanthe
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 1,485

sciencerely


« Reply #20980 on: December 03, 2012, 9:19:20 am »

Oh, they're all going to start coming out of the woodwork now.

*rubs hands together expectantly*

Oh yes.  I haven't posted grades yet, but I am anticipating an email from a student who earned a "D" in my freshmen survey course.  Attendance is part of the grade and he only came to two classes.  He also missed two major assignments.  I'm betting on a "but I didn't knoooow!" excuse. 

This morning I received an email from an advisee asking me a few questions.  It ended with:

"I'd like to get this squared away as soon as possible so we can both relax and enjoy the holidays". 

This kind of rubs me the wrong way.  It's like a polite way of saying "respond as soon as possible because I don't want to be inconvenienced by waiting on your response".  Plus, "relax and enjoy the holidays"? Uh, I'll be working for most of the break, but you go right ahead and enjoy away.
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Sweet biscuits! Now I really HAVE heard it all.

If you are in to Oreos we can talk about it more.
dr_backwoods
Zeal vs. Real
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,582


« Reply #20981 on: December 03, 2012, 10:01:45 am »

This morning I received an email from an advisee asking me a few questions.  It ended with:

"I'd like to get this squared away as soon as possible so we can both relax and enjoy the holidays". 

This kind of rubs me the wrong way.  It's like a polite way of saying "respond as soon as possible because I don't want to be inconvenienced by waiting on your response".  Plus, "relax and enjoy the holidays"? Uh, I'll be working for most of the break, but you go right ahead and enjoy away.

Seriously. It really comes across as condescending; I'd rank it right up (down?) there with "Thank you for your cooperation."
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barnaclegoose
Freshly Minted
Senior member
****
Posts: 259


« Reply #20982 on: December 03, 2012, 10:44:57 am »

Oh, they're all going to start coming out of the woodwork now.

*rubs hands together expectantly*

Oh yes.  I haven't posted grades yet, but I am anticipating an email from a student who earned a "D" in my freshmen survey course.  Attendance is part of the grade and he only came to two classes.  He also missed two major assignments.  I'm betting on a "but I didn't knoooow!" excuse. 

This morning I received an email from an advisee asking me a few questions.  It ended with:

"I'd like to get this squared away as soon as possible so we can both relax and enjoy the holidays". 

This kind of rubs me the wrong way.  It's like a polite way of saying "respond as soon as possible because I don't want to be inconvenienced by waiting on your response".  Plus, "relax and enjoy the holidays"? Uh, I'll be working for most of the break, but you go right ahead and enjoy away.

I agree with being a bit irked over the first part, but not the"relax and enjoy" statement. Students don't always know how busy we are or how school breaks are the chance for us to catch up on all the things teaching made us push to one side. I grew up with a university professor as a parent, and yes he worked over break, but he also spent extra time with family. The student's comment may be naive, but no doubt meant well. Take it in the spirit intended.
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mickeymantle
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 1,421


« Reply #20983 on: December 03, 2012, 11:47:52 am »


Had an "enjoyable" exchange with a student I'll call "Waiting Breathlessly to Perhaps Fail."  She's blown off most of the classes this semester, and cut out of the class halfway through last week.  (I saw her standing outside chatting with a friend during the five-minute break; it's an evening section.)  She then had the nerve to "send" a backdated email explaining her need to leave early.  When I didn't respond right away, "WBTPF" sent me a more snotty email this morning asking for her last examination grade (which she didn't get, being absent for most of the semester.)  I calmly emailed her back, requesting that she see me this week. 

But to be fair a student did email me back about taking one of my upper-level sections next semester in a prompt, courteous manner. 
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I am now too distinguished a forum member.
citrine
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,731

Beware the Annoying Bad Luck Snail


« Reply #20984 on: December 03, 2012, 1:29:31 pm »

Quote
I am not going to be able to finish my paper today. [Serious life issues that the student is experiencing redacted.] I understand this is a problem, but all i want right now is to pass all my classes and get this semester over with. So if that means getting a D, im fine with that.

Im sorry for this, but it is what it is.

My reply was sympathetic to the problems that the student has been experiencing and attempted to point him towards resources that could help him, but also pointed out that if he does not submit anything for the two final projects, he cannot earn the D that he is "fine with" getting.
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