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View Diary: Teachers' Lounge: Why I answered student emails over break (19 comments)

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  •  I pretty much always answer student email (11+ / 0-)

    because my office hours are usually filled with meetings and I can't hang out on campus waiting for students to "stop by." So I conduct them online. They can pretty much email me anytime and unless I tell them otherwise, I'll answer in a day.

    I don't mind. Usually the answers are quick. With students I know, we have a casual, utilitarian style. Usually they'll start with a salutation (hi, badscience or similar), but in conversation we'll skip that.

    However, with students I do NOT know, I expect a polite salutation with information in it. I get a lot of emails that begin "Hey!" from a student I have never met and know nothing about. If I'm feeling curmudgeony I'll correct them. If their email is incoherent, I will absolutely correct them.

    The informality can be a problem, but I think most students have no context for it. My polite daughter is a sophomore in college and had to email a prof. She asked me the best salutation because it seemed weird to call her otherwise informal prof "Professor." I told her to err on the side of formality. :-)

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