Should we Expect Professional Emails from Students?

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

I am writing to get your input on using professional grammar and writing mechanics when students (and parents) need to communicate with their teachers. As the owner of the academic tutoring and management company Doceo, Dallas, I am finding that I have to teach my students how to compose properly written emails to their teachers, rather than using “text lingo.” With the rise of acronyms, emojis, and other shortcuts used for social media and texting, how important is it that students (and parents) compose properly written emails? As a former HPHS teacher, I was more likely to respond to well-written, professional emails for this sole reason - it showed me that the student was willing to put forth the effort to communicate with me professionally. I never expected a grammatically perfect document (they’re still learning), but the effort went a long way with me.

I also have a problem with smiley faces. To me, they are very unprofessional, especially coming from parents. Once a parent has established a personal relationship with the teacher, I feel as though these are fine. But for the first piece of written communication, smiley faces should be left out.

Thank you!
Lindsey Thompson

Dear Ms. Thompson,
A few years ago I saw a story on the national news where college professors were complaining about students composing “text speak” emails. Whenever I ask my children to write their teachers an email, I always look it over first. I try to explain to young people that composing emails is like writing a hand written note – it needs to be formal. I am glad that part of your business is encouraging students to write their own emails, because it is good practice for when they enter the workforce. As for smiley faces (and any emojis), I agree with you that they are not professional. As parents, we need to make sure our emails are formal, and then pass this standard along to our children. We always tell students that anything on the Internet can be passed on and never gets erased, and we need keep this in mind for our own emails as well.