Emailing Teachers

It’s summer break, but I’m still dealing with the school year.  Today I received an email from a student who is upset about his final grade.  “I would love an explanation” for why his grade is so low, he said.  Despite his poor performance in the course all semester long, he fixated on the chance to raise his grade one letter.  Unfortunately, he showed up to the final class day to take his semester test and forgot his assignment at home.  I offered him the chance to email the assignment to me, but I stressed the importance of getting it to me that night.

What happened?

The next day, at nearly midnight, I received the email from him along with an excuse that he tried to send it three other times but it just wouldn’t work and while he realized it was late, he tried to get it on time, so that should count.  Never mind that grades had already been turned in. Or that he should have handed in the paper on the last day of class.  Not his fault that I didn’t get the email…

So, since it was nearly 24 hours past the deadline I had extended, I ignored the email.  Now, weeks later, he discovers that his grade is low and wants me to change it.  All because he can claim that he sent the email with his assignment attached, but it just didn’t get to me.  “The Check Is In The Mail” or something.

See, this is why many teachers shun technology.  Sure, it offers a number of clear advantages, but it also offers more and more ways for students to blame their failings on the teachers.  Sticking with traditional methods, teachers are used to the “my dog ate my homework” or even the more modern “my printer ran out of ink” excuses.  New excuses make for new headaches.  Sigh.

Now I have to wonder:  Am I better of saying that I will only accept paper assignments that are hand-delivered, or do I need to come up with some sort of email policy that will eliminate this kind of excuse making?

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


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