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Teacher has brilliant response to student’s profane letter

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An English teacher got a nasty note from a student. The letter tells the teacher, after some profanity that, “I’m pretty much out.” It was taped to the door of the classroom, according to a posting on Reddit.

The 101-word letter can be difficult to read. It is full of grammatical and spelling errors. How did the teacher respond? By correcting all of the student’s mistakes.

The teacher went through and sliced and diced the letter in red marker, noting everything from not having a date to not indenting the signature line to a comma splice.

And at the bottom, the teacher had one last smack down for the student by writing: “*Please use your education appropriately. Proofreading takes five minutes & keeps you from looking stupid.*”

Perfect.

See the letter below. Note: Some readers might find some of the language offensive.

fixletter

47 comments

  • John Lister

    I have to say that the teacher should have proofread with a slightly more critical eye. Things all fall flat if your corrections aren’t correct!

    “During my time in your class, It’s been fun…”

    “It’s” is a contraction for “It is”, not “It has”…

    • Coaster

      The contraction for “it has” is the same as the contraction for “it is”. “It’s” is appropriate either way. This is where context clues come in.

  • Drew

    I’m desperately hoping that this letter came courtesy of high school English teacher, Mrs. King. This is exactly what she would do!

  • herrhegel@gmail.com

    There is no rule against starting a sentence with a conjunction. It is an effective rhetorical technique when used in an appropriate setting. Garner and Fowler both agree on this point.

    • coaster26

      Exactly. “When used in an appropriate setting”. Until a child, or any other writer, learns what settings are appropriate and purposefully starts their sentences with conjunctions to convey meaning, they are taught not to.

      • herrhegel@gmail.com

        The use of “But” in this letter was correct or appropriate, and such use should have been encountered long before a senior year English class. Given that it was correct, the teacher’s knee-jerk reaction to it and his or her categorical statement that it is never correct rubbed me the wrong way.

        If things should be marked as incorrect for being beyond the child’s deemed skill level, every polysyllabic word in that letter should have been struck out. “Go back to pointing and grunting, young man…”

  • Al

    I think it was incredibly immature on the teacher’s part to rise to this student’s bait. A high school senior is maybe 17 years old? Just shy of an adult but this particular student is obviously neither mature nor bright. And let’s face it, high school kids do stupid things. As a teacher, you should set an example, be mature, and don’t lower yourself to their level. Should’ve just threw the note in the garbage. If that student doesn’t want to try in class and fail, then there’s only so much you can do.

    • Julie

      I respectfully disgree with several comments here. I am a college instructor of developmentalEnglish; I’ve had many students come in and say they didn’t belong in my class. The only way to demonstrate objectively to them that they do is to take a writing sample or give them a basic exam and correct it for them to see how sorely they need the class. Why is a teacher accused of “being petty” or “stooping” when he/she is correcting errors, probably hoping to give him/her one last chance to realize he needs help before he fails? And as for a “college teacher knowing nothing bout high school,” well I guess a quick class in logic/rhetoric would be helping in showing how oversimplification leads to assertion errors, Vanessa. Don’t judge all instructors on a single comment.

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