Wednesday, October 25
Why don't students realize that "Hey" is not an appropriate way to address a professor? In fact, it's not really appropriate for communication with anyone when it is your first note to them. Does anyone point this out to students? If yes, how?

7 comments:

fraud, in denim said...

Ugh. This hits close to home because I'm trying to break my son (who's not yet in college) of this habit.

When a student addressed my sixth grade science teacher with "Hey," he'd say, "Hay is for horses." I will never, ever forget it. I don't know if you want to say that, but I promise your students won't forget it either.

If it's email and you'd like to be less direct you could just model how you'd like it addressed to you and sign it with your preferred title (this is what I did to combat the ever-present Miss/Mrs. Fraud).

In the future, or even now, you could clarfiy for your classes the best way to address a professor. In my freshman class especially I give clarifications like this often, usually under the guise of pointers on how to succeed in the next four years of college.

thistle said...

I think you should fight back by starting each email to students - and, in fact, each lecture/class session- with 'Dude.'

Ok, I'm just kidding.

Anonymous said...

I'm a grad student but I literally just talked to my students about this last week. I made it a joke, and told them that the professors and grad students laughed about how students addressed us as "hey" in emails. I think by laughingly embarrasing them (without shaming anyone) did the trick. I let them know that I understood that it may be their hesitance to use first names with a TA but assured them that we'd rather have them use our name than open an email that starts off "Hey". With professors I don't quite understand it since it is easy enough to say Dear Profesor So and So.

Poppy Red said...

Yes! This drives me crazy. Like Anonymous, I address this with my students in a way that makes them feel (or at least this is my goal) that I'm leveling with them, letting them in on something: "You know, professors across the board really hate it when you start off an email with, 'hey.' It also drives us crazy when you don't capitalize or use proper punctuation or grammar in your emails." They usually laugh about it (along with me, as in "Why would someone do that?"), and I tell them that even though they laugh, I get too many emails like that. I do think that once I started bringing it up, the emails did get a little better. A friend of mine gives a whole lesson (well, I mean, I think it's probably 15 minutes, but she treats it like a regular grammar or writing lesson) on email etiquette.

Turquoise Stuff said...

Thanks everyone. These are good points. I think devoting some time to this in the beginning of a course when you're discussing other specifics/norms/expectations is an excellent idea. I'll have to do this in the future.

There is a situation, however, that can't be addressed this way. I get contacted by undergrads who are not in my classes. (For example, students inquiring about future courses.) Do I just not bother with people when it's a one-time-only correspondance? I just feel like it's our job to educate students and prepare them for the rest of life and if they think they'll be able to land a job this way or address future colleagues and superiors this way, that's a problem.

Anonymous said...

From an email I got this morning (only the italicized words are changed, and I teach at a top 20 university):

hey ms. anonymous,
i started writing my impression management essay and i was having some
difficulties trying to find examples from the sex and the city episode, so i was
wondering if you could give me some examples or explaine it in a new light.
thanks,
typical student

Dr. Delaney Kirk said...

I find it useful to write my name
(Dr. Delaney Kirk)on the board and also to introduce myself with the title on the first day of class. Most people will call you what you want them to--you just have to tell them as we have some colleagues that prefer being addressed by their first name. You might also just use title and last name (Dr. Kirk) so that they don't have the first name to call you by.