General Question

answerjill's avatar

How would you respond to this student?

Asked by answerjill (6198points) November 16th, 2008

I am a teaching assistant at a university. I recently received a rude email from a student in which she accused me, among other things, of ignoring her prior emails. Would you “call” her on her rudeness, or just state the facts and move on?

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14 Answers

mccabe's avatar

Forward the email to the professor and let the professor handle it. Unless you are obviously at fault, the professor should assume that the student is the problem. The professor will of course want to hear your side of the story, but I don’t think you have any reason to be defensive.

lynzeut's avatar

Ask her to resend the emails that she sent you so you can address her concerns. They should have the original send date on them, that way you can get to the bottom of the problem.

tigran's avatar

yea, why get defensive? just state the facts and move on.

skfinkel's avatar

If you failed to see the emails and respond, you could say that was the case, and ask to have them resent to you. And if so, it would be nice to apologize in a nice way. Not defensively. If you are polite to her, perhaps she will get the message. But I would also alert the professor you are working with to the situation. If you can handle it well, yourelf, that would be the best outcome. And also perhaps you can clarify the email address so it doesn’t happen again.

TaoSan's avatar

Did you actually receive those prior emails? Spamfilter or anything?

If not, I’d simply ask her very politely to check her computer and move on.

mea05key's avatar

it is rude of her to say that to you. Point out her mistakes and simply talk to her to find out find out why is she doing that to you.

answerjill's avatar

Thanks for all of the thoughtful answers! Here is a bit more info. I checked my email and found that she had sent me one email. I am very good about responding to email, but it does seem that I may have forgotten to respond to it. I won’t mention the other accusation here, for the sake of confidentiality, but I will say that it was ridiculous. Her tone was the main problem, for me.

answerjill's avatar

PS _ her email accusation was that I failed to respond to two emails.

tigran's avatar

well you can’t really do anything about her being rude. That’s her choice. But you need to make sure you are covered when things like this happen. If you missed her email once, then apologize for answering late and be formal about it. I would do that and see if she needs help with anything else. I’d rather give the answer to a question and find a solution to their needs then spend time figuring out what was said when and why. I know you might be looking to make her realize how impolite she is being, but its not worth it and in the end she will realize that.

Jane_Ann_Deaux's avatar

I agree with tigran

Apologize for the late response.
State the facts.
No need to be elaborate, short and to the point will suffice.

I would cc the monitoring professor, just so he/she knows what’s going on, in case there are any further problems.

Comedian's avatar

answer her emails?

cdwccrn's avatar

here is an additional thought. You are dealing with a STUDENT. This person will soon be interviewing for jobs, and starting a career.
Does she need to be counseled about the proper way to address conflict with those in authority( I.e. Bosses), and are you the right person to do so, and if not, who might be? ( all right- that’s three questions).

answerjill's avatar

UPDATE: Before consulting Fluther (sorry, guys!) I responded to the student with an email in which I stated the facts and told her that her tone was inappropriate. I also copied the message to the prof. The prof. responded that while she understood my irritation, it did not usually help to “scold” a student for her tone. However, a few minutes ago, I received an apology from the student in which she said that she realizes now that she had been inappropriate. On the other hand, I think that if this happens with another student in the future, I will check with the prof before responding, since she is my boss.

TaoSan's avatar

Sounds like it turned out okay. I mean c’mon, you have to establish boundaries, yes?

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