Every Type of Email College Faculty Send to Anyone

This post originally appeared over at The Tattooed Professors blog. Follow him on twitter @TheTattooedProf.

Last week, my Twitter and Facebook feeds were full of links to The Toast’s hilarious piece, “Every Type of Email College Students Send Their Professors.” The best satire is that which rings of truth, and this piece was no exception. Gems like “hey professor i have 97 grandmothers, all dead, i will not be in class for the rest of the semester” hit pretty near the mark, based upon my experience (all students begin emails with “hey” for some reason).

But then I got to thinking…there’s one group that is worse in the aggregate than students at email, and that group is FACULTY. Face it, colleagues, we’ve got precious little room to laugh at students’ online foibles. Because we suck, too. In that spirit, drawn from the sometimes-humorous, sometimes-depressing, always-unique trove of experience, I present Every Type of Email College Faculty Send:

  • Tomorrow’s development committee meeting has been moved to today at 3. Please come to my office to meet, and bring hard copies of the agenda, which I am attaching to this email.” →  → “Sorry I forgot to attach the agenda. Try it now.” →→ “I don’t know what you’re talking about–I attached the document”→→ “Some of you have told me you still can’t open the attachment. I used WordPerfect. If you don’t have this software, I will be bringing extra copies to the meeting, which is today at 2.
  • I see you have me scheduled for a 10 0’clock class in [Building X]. I cannot teach in this building, as I use slate chalkboards, and these rooms are equipped only with whiteboards. I am uncomfortable teaching with this new technology.
  • Dear colleagues, I am sorry for the previous message that came from my account. That language was not meant to go to everyone; I don’t know the difference between “reply” and “reply all.” You should know that I actually am a supporter of institutional assessment. Please delete the last message, Thank you.
  • Dear [Work-Study Student], please make 350 double-sided copies of the attached pdf, which is a blurry, photocopy-of-a-photocopy that has many intricate charts. Place it in my mailbox by noon today, please.    PS–staple in the top right corner; the copier staples in the top left, and as I am left-handed, this makes it harder for me to turn the pages.
  • Dear IT staff, I require personal assistance from you in configuring my Outlook E-mail. In particular, I want to change the font on my emails. I do not do well with technology instructions via email or telephone. Please send someone over ASAP.
  • Dear Blackboard admin., I accidentally deleted a whole column of student grades from the gradebook. I know I got prompt boxes that asked me if I was sure I wanted to delete, and something about unrecoverable files, but I just click ‘yes’ by default on those things anyway. Please go in and recover these files for me.   PS–You might be wondering what specific class I’m talking about. I am going to forget to include that information here.
  • Dear {Registrar}, Your previous message referred to a form I was supposed to submit last month for catalog revisions for my department’s courses. I don’t check email more than once a week, so I’m disappointed that no one delivered a hard copy to me so I could lose it and then request another one anyway. Can you hold the other catalog revisions while I perform this ritual several more times?
  • Dear [Junior Professor], I noticed you dismissed your 3 o’clock MWF class 5 minutes early last Friday. This is not departmental practice–we keep our students for the entire class in order to maximize the time we have to deliver our content. As a result of you violating an unwritten rule that you didn’t know about, a letter has been placed in your departmental file. Which you also don’t know about.
  • Dear student, I know you came by my office during office hours, but since no one ever comes by, I usually go get coffee at that time. You could leave me a voicemail, but I never erase messages, so my mailbox is full. Try emailing me–I will have an unhelpfully vague response to you by week’s end.

I’m sure many of you have encountered these (sent these?) before. Oh, academe. You’re the gift that keeps on giving. Don’t ever stop.

The Tattooed ProfessorThis post originally appeared over at The Tattooed Professors blog. Follow him on twitter @TheTattooedProf.

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