The 9 Types of People Ruining Your School Email

Every teacher I know (including myself) is inundated with email. So why are our fellow colleagues some of the worst offenders when it comes to bad school-email behavior? Have you spotted any of these folks in your inbox lately?

1. The Reply All-coholic

This person’s gut response to any email is to reply all, regardless of content. Someone’s looking for their coffee mug? Reply all to let everyone know they don’t have it. An offer for free tickets to the football game? Boom! Reply all to tell us why they’re too busy to go. The Reply All-coholic is the worst email offender. This person may not even know that there is a reply-to-sender option.

2. The Smart-Ass

The Smart-Ass is incapable of giving a sincere response. Perhaps it’s boredom. Perhaps they are plagued by repressed memories of missing punch lines. This person can only make a mockery of mass emails. However irking, this role serves a critical purpose: They help people consider whether to reply all and thus take the risk of being bullied by the Smart-Ass.

3. The Closet Smart-Ass

A more advanced version of the Smart-Ass is the Closet Smart Ass. This person is able to produce satirical responses so advanced that a large proportion of the staff won’t even catch the joke. Unfortunately, this role is gasoline on the frustrating flames of email threads. One response from the Closet Smart-Ass is likely to multiply responses three-fold, as people try to work out whether it was a joke or not.

4. The Proud Mama/Papa Bear

A warmhearted soul, the Proud Mama/Papa Bear just really wants you to know some exciting news about their students. Mackenzie got a response from Highlights magazine, and they thought you all should know. Amir just won a $100 scholarship from the Future Zoologists Organization. Although there is nothing wrong with the Proud Mama/Papa Bear’s joyful tell-all, the issue emerges when people attempt to one up each other with congratulatory praise, even weeks later.

5. The NPR-vangelist

Every school has at least one NPR-vangelist—someone who has a constant stream of boring NPR news stories lilting in the air. Nary a group email can exist without the NPR-vangelist sharing an “interesting” (a.k.a. not interesting) podcast or news clip about the topic at hand. While no one actually reads the articles or listens to the podcasts, the next time you see the NPR-vangelist, they will ask if you “saw that article I sent.” It’s important to have at least one reference to This American Life handy to shift the NPR-vangelist’s focus away from the fact that you ignore every email they send.

6. The Pot Stirrer

We can thank the Pot Stirrer for keeping everyone grumpy. Rather than speak to an administrator directly, like a responsible person would, the Pot Stirrer poses controversial questions to the whole flippin’ building. You thought the yoga-pants dress-code debacle was history until the Pot Stirrer writes, “I thought we made a rule against yoga pants. Why am I still seeing so many?” 

7. The Angst-hole

In days gone by, a teacher was only subjected to griping at the monthly staff meeting. Thanks to the jerks who made the interwebs, the modern teacher is now liable for an angst-induced vent at the click of a button. The Angst-hole has a bone to pick with … life and wants to make sure everyone knows it. Complaints range from student backpacks to evaluations to a 500-word lecture on how to change the copier toner for the next person. Consider the Angst-hole a former Pot Stirrer with an extra decade of teacher rage. Whatever you do, whether you agree or not, do not respond to the Angst-hole.

8. The Cryptic One

A lover of obscure literature, the Cryptic One packs a lot of meaning into nonsensical emails. Usually the message title contains the key idea with only a question mark in the actual email. Or, a pure lack of predicate exists, such as,

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