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.

  • Justin

    Please don’t blame this behavior on our country. I believe it has become all too common of Americans to lose faith in the USA due to the influence of the media. A little nationalism and a little pride go a long way in improving the plight of any society, and self-hatred is infectious. So a punky high-schooler with terrible grammar wrote a note to a teacher. Meanwhile many other high schoolers struggled through AP classes while playing sports and being in band on top of their after school job. This type of behavior wouldn’t make the news if it was normal.

  • Proud American

    Tami, maybe it would your best interest to leave. You can head South, Mexico is nice year round. That would leave more room for people who dream of coming to USA.

  • Kane

    It was written by a high school senior everyone, calm down. We’ve all been there before, and pretty much felt the same way. Read the article, laugh, and go about your day. There are far more important things going on in the world than disrespectful high-schooler… not really something new either.

  • Mike McDonald

    i don’t even know if this response would get a 75%. good thing speeding tickets consist of filling in boxes.

  • Art Smith

    I used to work for a state agency and was told at a half-day presentation that I cannot reject an application if there were misspelling, typos, wrong boxes checked, etc. because “maybe the person filling it out isn’t the same person who’s applying for the job.” Never mind there was a box at the end of the application that said “I understand the answers on this application reflect my best answers” or something to that effect.
    When I pointed this out to the Bureau of Personnel person giving the presentation, she said that didn’t matter. I told her I would reject those application as I didn’t want a secretary or anyone else for that matter who couldn’t fill out a form correctly working under or with me. She said if I ever did that I would get into trouble. Then for the rest of the 3 hour presentation she stood between me and the rest of the class with her back to me ignoring me.
    Afterwards I went to her supervisor and her supervisor’s supervisor complaining about her presentation method and the policy of not being able to reject any applications due to wrong answers. One guy said the policy was correct, the other said there wasn’t such a policy.
    I lasted several more years working for that state and eventually had to go into the private work place to get an honest job.

  • Sammy

    I am a teacher so here is my response to your statement which read like this:

    i don’t even know if this response would get a 75%. good thing speeding tickets consist of filling in boxes.

    Capitalize “i”, it’s the first word of a sentence plus it is always capitalized when referring to a person. Capitalize the “g” on “good”. It is the first word of the sentence.

    Good thing YOU aren’t a teacher.

  • Nicole

    No, I don’t think so. She was being harassed in this letter and has every right to defend herself. Kids these days are disrespectful pieces of trash. Parents need to learn how to raise their children.

  • Elizabeth

    I don’t disagree with any particular point, but in my experience, any time you use the word stupid in relation to the kids, even if you are telling them how to not be/look stupid, parents turn it around to the teacher harassing the students. It’s one of the reasons I think the system is so very broken.

  • Karithia81

    Yes, indeed it is! I am a pre – school teacher and I see 2 year olds telling their parents what to do. It only makes me scared to think how these kids will raise their own children in the near future. What kinda kids will come off of those raised!!!
    By all means, I am all against Child Abuse, but there’s a difference between rendering a child and abusing a child!!! A spanking never did me wrong! Parents now a days go by the baby books too much! Children now a days use the Child abuse factor to excuse themselves for their bad behavior.
    Why can we as Adults and Teacher use the same excuse or better yet some new laws that states”Teacher Abuse and Harassment” maybe that way the children of this new era won’t have so much empowerment over Adults!!!! Maybe that way “Teachers” can regain some Respect!!!!

  • Kai Mana

    Yeah @moosemom what decade do you think this is. On a side note EVERYONE on these comments seemingly has proper grammar, probably compensating for something after reading this, lol.

  • Florita Cameron

    attn VAL..” grammer” is spelled GRAMMAR..check your message and typos before sending one..it is “said” not “sad”

  • Mo

    Ignorance would imply they were never taught proper grammar, and if that is true, then we are screwed as a nation! I don’t believe this to be the case, I believe this is a case of laziness and disrespectful behavior of a poorly raised, babied and entitled, sorry excuse for a citizen of this country! Anyone who does not believe proper grammar is essential to the progress of a nation, just take a look around at the current state of this country, it speaks volumes!

  • Jake Randolph

    One problem, ignorance and stupid ARE totally two different words. To be ignorant is to try and talk about something you have no idea about, you are uneducated about, undereducated about. Like talking about politics. Most people have no clue what they are talking about, but try and say they do.

    Being stupid, like this kid was being… is different from ignorant. Too many people LOVE to confuse ignorant or just swap ignorant in place of stupid because it is a big word?

  • Bob

    Yes on the spelling error, but I think she was making a judgement call using ‘sad’ to mean something like ‘unfortunate’ and did not mean ‘said’ at all. “It is said” is a terrible phrase, anyway.

    To the article itself, I don’t understand how this is a “brilliant” response. It looks like what any English teacher I ever had growing up would have done if they had to grade this indignant piece of drivel, and the author more than likely would have gotten detention.

  • Jason J. Desrosiers

    Rich, I’ve found that an application and an interview are generally when people show their best. If they can’t fill out an application and take a few minutes to proofread, it says a lot about what their work ethic will be like.

  • Sharon

    Obviously, you’re not a teacher. By the way, it’s “Who” taught, not “that” taught. …. and I’m not an English teacher,

  • Isamaar

    You obviously haven’t been at a really bad high school recently. There are plenty of uneducated twits that are graduating as we speak.

  • coaster26

    It’s possible that this English class had not gotten to dangling modifiers. A run on sentence is something taught in elementary school though, so the student would know what she meant.

  • Vanessa

    You’re a teacher? Then get off your high horse and show some support for a fellow teacher! Yeah, I’m sure you’d have have handled this situation perfectly. Oh wait, you’re are college teacher. That’s right, you know nothing about high school. I wouldn’t expect you to understand.

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