A fitting pairing with all WRTG120 instructors who foreground genre for the second project, Laura Portwood-Stacer’s Medium article, “How to Email Your Professor (without being annoying AF),” is deservedly circulating in recent days.
Every semester, I see the tweets and Facebook posts. My professor friends, they are annoyed. Their students do not know how to write emails, they say. What they really mean is that their students don’t know how to follow the conventions of email etiquette in the academy. I used to be exasperated by student emails too. Until I realized that there was a simple explanation for why they didn’t know how to write them — they’ve never actually been taught how.*
The article maps specific features of an appropriate email. Consider as a complementary activity to this reading asking students to bring in emails they have written and sent in the past for comparative analysis. Have emails whose features accord with Portwood-Stacer’s model been received favorably? What are some of the requests that, in spite of the email’s careful adherence to this model, might still be ill-received?