Email Etiquette & Thank You

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From a quick internet search this morning, I learned that over 100 billion emails are sent each day (seriously, I can’t even imagine!).  That number seems preposterous.  How do we even have that many things to say? Much less the time to type and send a 100 billion emails?  Crazy!

Educators must account for a good percentage of these emails, I swear I get close to a couple thousand a day….  Or maybe it just feels that way when I go to clean my inbox!  Regardless of the number of emails per day, I can definitely say that I’m getting my fair share and it’s a task to keep up. And if I am actually keeping up, who’s to say I’m doing a good job of it!  I’m probably sending person X the information person Y requested, or telling Person Y what groceries we need for supper, or letting mom know that person X and person Y are both going to be at the meeting on Saturday (when she really just wants to know what day I’ll be home for Christmas!).  🙂

Which brings me to email etiquette (yes, there’s such a thing) and the need to teach students about it.  Having sent several “re-emails” (as I would like to refer to them) when I realize I’ve inadvertently sounded abrubt or rude or given a partial response or gone off on a tangent (this list goes on, it really does!), I figured I could speak to this issue with my students and possibly teach them about email etiquette.

Our recent trip to Goldcorp provided the perfect opportunity.  The students had just enjoyed it, our contact was willing to receive emails from the students and they had a lot to say.  We talked about “To”, “CC” and “BCC” (they think “BCC” is totally sneaky by the way!), salutations, closings, attachments and voice.  We apparently didn’t talk about editing and revising though (aurgh!).  We discussed formal email voice vs friendly email voice (please no acronyms like “LOL” and “ROFL”).  And then they typed and typed and typed!

Their emails were a great window into their thinking about the field trip.  I had them CC me so I was able to do a little formative assessment as well (speaking of being “sneaky”…).  Here’s a few excerpts from their letters:

“But what I found the most interesting was how you said that it should have taken about 25 years to clean the lake, and it didn’t take that long. The second I found interesting was how you put the tracker in the fish and most of them didn’t die.”

“I would like to thank you for letting the GLC grade seven class visit Goldcorp .I found it interesting how when you came to Red lake the whole Balmer Lake was brown and within fifteen years there are now fish and plant life developing without any defects from the mine and its waste . Good job!”

“When you showed us the pictures of the pike, they were so fat! I was surprised because I thought that the pike were taking over the lake, but then you showed us more pictures and I realized that the food chain just had to balance out a bit.  I really enjoyed our visit to Goldcorp.   It was a very good learning experience for my friends and I.”

“My favourite parts of the tour is when you showed us what you guys were doing to restore the lake and the areal shots of the town, the lake and the mine.”

“I found it funny how they had a little surgery on the fish they were putting in the lake to put a tracker in them. It was really incredible to see that more and more fish started to spawn (different kinds too!). I found the experience really amazing and it was a fun way to understand how ecology works.”

A great big thank you to Dave Gelderland and Goldcorp for this amazing visit to the mine (they had so much fun – they didn’t even notice they were learning!). And thanks for letting them email you as well. I didn’t even mind that this added EVEN MORE emails on to my day (and I’m sure Mr. Gelderland didn’t mind either). For both of us, they were probably the email highlight of our day!    All in all, a great experience for the kids and a small contribution to life-long learning about email etiquette!  Which reminds me, I’ve got some emails to respond to… (long sigh of defeat).