The semester is well underway now. Students have completed several assignments, I am started to remember names and the cooler weather is a welcome change from the scorching summer temperatures. Another sign that the semester is rolling along is the receipt of my first “hey” email. “Hey” emails start like this: “Hey! I was reading our textbook” or “Hey! I was recording my speech” and, well, I’m sure you get the idea.
A word of advice to students who one day wish to enter the professional world of work: learn the correct spelling of your professor’s name and begin your email message without the word “hey” in front of it. Dear Professor Johnson or even Hello Dr. Smith is preferable to “hey” anything.
Why is it so offensive to me? It is too casual, too disrespectful and too startling. Why is it happening so often lately? I think because students don’t email regularly and they are mimicking the colloquial style of Facebook and texting. I realize that some professors may be casual, too (an awful lot of us are on Facebook these days and do our fair share of texting as well). Still, resist the temptation to treat us like another online social networking friend.
If your email etiquette is something you’d like to brush up on, this site offers some excellent tips.
Every semester I remind students to email with care. That will be the opening topic for class on Wednesday. After that, I will be “hey” email free and students will be well on their way to presenting themselves in a way likely to get the positive attention of a graduate school or employer in the future.