Thursday, 13 January 2011

E-mail - Not Cool!

How often have we been told that humo(u)r and sarcasm don't always translate in e-mail. Do we, I mean I, ever learn? I mean, do we?

(True story - on my mother's life.)

Last night I received an e-mail from one of the 15 year old's teachers, inviting parents to some sort of exhibition of their work. (I forget the details. Don't they all merge into one?)  What caught my eye was the enormous font of the body of the e-mail, compared to the surrounding text in my e-mail folders. I kept making the font smaller, but it was still enormous.  And then it dawned on me.

The hilarious e-mail I could send as a reply. Here it is ver batim:

Thanks for the information Mr M.
By the way - we 9th grade parents may generally be in our late 40s and early 50s but we don't need the HUGE font quite yet.!!!!
Toni H (not yet 50 and almost 20/20).

Hilarious, don't you think?

The Man-Child (whose teacher it was) stood by me, loudly denouncing me as a loser and that he would be SO embarrassed he couldn't possibly show up for class, but I knew he didn't really mind otherwise he'd have either pulled the computer plug out of the wall or picked me up and deposited me at the far end of the room.

So I sent it.

The reply? I give up. I realise teachers have to tread warily with parents, but please. Could I really have been serious.

"Sorry about that...I attempted to copy the text from an email I had written on our grading server and there must have been an issue with the formatting.  My apologies on that one... "

Argh! No! You're supposed to think I'm one hilarious, hip-cool mama, not a Type A, politically correct a** hole.

In my own defence, I couldn't resist sending off this one last e-mail in the desperate hope that the teacher would realise I had been hilariously joking all along:

"No problem - it was worth the absolute humiliation that I seem to have put the Queenager and the Man-Child through! ;-)"

Unfortunately, I cannot disagree with the teens that this is just one more teacher who now harbours the suspicison that their mother is indeed, insane.


  1. LOL! That's the problem with email - it doesn't detect your tone. We need fonts that can be used for sarcasm, irony, etc.

    Or it could be that this guy just doesn't have a sense of humor? Because had I received your email, I probably would have laughed and made a joke about how I needed that enormous font.

  2. Sadly, I know of parents who would have written something like that as a serious complaint :-(
    The emails that bug me are the ones that are full of html code - but again that's usually because someone has copied and pasted.

  3. Sorry to laugh, but it's the way you tell 'em. I get the impression (no disrespect to teachers intended) that teachers think all we parents are morons and when we reach our 40's we are thick as two short planks.

    I have a friend who can't take a joke and I spend countless hours saying to him, "I was only joking" then he smiles and says, "oh, sorry!" ARRGGHHH!!!

    CJ xx

  4. I know. I have been here 20 years. Wouldn't you think I'd learn that sometimes my sense of hunmour isn't always appreciated!

  5. As a (sub) teacher, I would have done the same thing this teacher did. Too many parents do complain and would have been serious, and we tread carefully. I think something like LOL or a smiley at the end of the comment would let me know that you were actually joking. I occasionally joke to my kids teachers, too. They don't get it, so I try to remind myself not to.

  6. Just a thought, Ffina...[as you know I have been out of that particular loop for a long long time] but how do the teachers communicate if the parent is not 'on-line'?

    I too would have felt a strong impulse to be funny.

    Isn't it all about seeing to be PC these days?

  7. Hilarious. I find communicating with teachers by email quite strange, although convenient. Very difficult to detect the spirit in which an email was sent, and whether it is serious or jokey.

  8. I can really relate to that and have come a cropper many a time with an off the cuff remark that was met with a stony email silence! Teachers in particular don't ever seem to find witty emails remotely amusing!!

  9. Ooops, sorry - Forgot to sign myself, - Expat Mum.

  10. Moannie - personally I don't know anyone who's not on line anymore, but they would probably send things via the child's Facebook account. (Wink)
    I find it much better - harder to lose things than bits of paper, and there's not such a huge pile next to the bread bin in my kitchen!

  11. It reminds me of the parents evening I went to where Peter's form tutor said and I quote: "Peter is a very bubbly boy, but I think we have managed to knock that out of him now".
    Yes she was serious. I mean it.
    He was sitting there but I felt I had to challenge it. And I did. Surely we all want bubbly kids?? agggggggggggggggggh