Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

My Email Pests Have United

I know I’m an email addict, especially at work, but I can’t help it. The nature of a teacher’s job these days requires her to be in constant electronic communication with parents, administrators, and other teachers. And if she adds any degree of school leadership to the mix, she is inundated with and compelled to send even more messages. It’s annoying, I know, but I’m not half as bad as other people. At least my emails are sent to clarify, remind, and check. Other people use, misuse, and refuse to use email purely for the sole purpose of ticking me off, and they’re good at it, too. They’ve even started pestering me in the same work week. I think it’s part of a larger conspiracy to make me lose my cool, but I won’t crack!

Here are the worst offenders:

  • What subject is she teaching? (from

    The I-don’t-want-to-be-held-accountable-for-that-information-so-I-just-refuse-to-check-my-email woman: This is the woman who has 3041 unread emails in her work account. She goes to class everyday doing the same things she’s done since Reagan was president regardless of the fact that the students, curriculum, expectations, and world are different. Knowing means doing, and if doing means changing, she’d rather not know.

  • What’s really behind that smile: “Look right here, you lunch disturbing jerk! Here’s the answer to that question for which you had me paged over the PA system. Finish the damn email!” (

    The yes-I-got-that-email-but-I-didn’t-read-it-completely guy: He’s the one who hunts you down during your lunch period to ask you something that is clearly explained in your email. The problem is that he hasn’t finished the email, and instead of taking the seven extra seconds to finish reading it, he spent 15 minutes trying to locate you, putting a veritable APB out on you (i.e., “Let her know that I’m looking for her; it’s really important), and when he finds you and hits you with the “I hate to bother you while you’re on lunch” introduction, you contemplate spitting the chewed up tuna salad bite in his face when he finally asks you what documents he’s expected to bring to the meeting.

  • Okay, I get it; you’re angry, but why must I receive the proof of said anger? I have nothing to do with this! (

    The I-am-so-upset-about-something-that-has-nothing-to-do-with-you-but-I-know-you-check-your-email-so-I’ll-electronically-complain-to-you dude:  So he got into a car accident with a parent dropping her kid off in the staff parking lot. As a result he was late for first period. This is my issue how? While I am saddened by what has happened to him, and yes, the parent drop off chaos is upsetting, I cannot fix this issue, nor can anyone in my immediate circle of friendly colleagues. Why must I be a recipient of this information? I teach English for goodness sake! Must I show you my certification to prove it to you?

  • Really, so we couldn’t figure that one out, huh? (

    The I-have-several-degrees-but-apparently-I’m-not-smart-enough-to-figure-out-how-to-send-an-email-properly lady: She really gets under my skin. First of all, she sends emails about a “behavioral issue” with one student (e.g., “Bobby J. refused to use a pen to write his essay. What tactics would you recommend?” or “Johnny B. types his papers in all caps. Nothing seems to be working to break him of this habit.”) to everybody in the school by typing all names in the CC spot while she herself is the primary recipient. Then, to make matters worse, she types the entirety of the email in the subject box, but leaves the actual space for the typed message empty. I have to put my mouse pointer on the message to read the whole thing, and because I actually do read the entire “message,” I’ve wasted two and a half minutes on something that’s totally ridiculous. I’m just glad she hasn’t figured out the “urgent message” function!

Are there any annoying email habits you would like to share about your coworkers?

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