I don't answer to "Hey".

The other day I had a meeting with a colleague who indicated that she refuses to answer emails from students addressed to “Hey,”. I was glad to hear this, because although I certainly like to be on a first-name basis with students (including undergrads) working in my lab, I expect students that I don’t know personally to be more respectful. “Dear/Hi Dr./Prof. Gregory” is fine, obviously. “Hi Ryan” from students I don’t know is irritating. But “Hey” is unacceptable. Now that I have tenure, I am probably going to implement a similar “I don’t answer to Hey” policy (though I might let the student know that I won’t be responding, except for the message that indicates that I won’t be responding).

Clarification

I am not talking about:

“Hey Dr. Gregory,

I am enjoying your class.”

(This doesn’t bother me)


I am talking about:

“Hey,

I am interested in taking your class. Can you sign the form to let me register?”

(The student wants something, doesn’t know me, and only writes Hey)


7 comments to I don’t answer to “Hey”.

  • Another difference between the West Coast and Ontario…
     
    I do recall people being generally more formal back when I lived near TO… seems to be quite a bit more relaxed here though, excessive formality even startles some people. I generally adress profs formally the very first time (was born in Russia…), and then never do it again (…grew up in California) =P
    Although I do agree that just “Hey” is kind of rude, mostly because it sounds so impersonal…

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  • If you respond to “Hello” or “Hi” you should logically respond to “Hey”. “Hey” is really “Hej” (pronounced the same, the “j” is “y”) which means “Hello” in many Scandinavian languages. English is full of such horizontally transferred words…
     

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    •  

      Jonathan Badger: If you respond to “Hello” or “Hi” you should logically respond to “Hey”. “Hey” is really “Hej” (pronounced the same, the “j” is “y”) which means “Hello” in many Scandinavian languages. English is full of such horizontally transferred words…

      Really?  You don’t see any difference between, say, “Good day” vs. “Hello” vs. “Hi” vs. “Hey”? — they all mean the same thing, technically.

       

       

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  • Why are you considering enforcing this policy now that you have tenure? Why not enforce it before if it was that important? Is it a status thing?

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    •  

      Morgan Langille: Why are you considering enforcing this policy now that you have tenure? Why not enforce it before if it was that important? Is it a status thing?

      No, not a status thing.  And it’s not *that* important.  It’s just one of those minor irritations that you don’t have to put up with once you get tenure.

       

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  • Scott Kerr

    I hope this a joke.  When I read it all I could think was “Hey, you sound like a major a-hole.”

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    • Vince Peterson

       

      Scott Kerr: I hope this a joke.  When I read it all I could think was “Hey, you sound like a major a-hole.”

      I’m with the author here. Educators must constantly make decisions about whether or not to address the entitlement and narcissism which is undeniably rampant in the current generation of young adults. Many choose to simply ignore inappropriate forms of address in the interest of maintaining smooth interactions, but that doesn’t necessarily prepare our students for expectations in the professional world. Try starting your next job interview with “Hey” and see how that goes.
      As for Mr. Kerr, when I read your post all I could think was “Hmm, he didn’t proofread his first sentence.”
       
       

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