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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I seriously suck at e-mail etiquette.[hr][/hr]

Dear Professor ____,

I was wondering if it could be possible for you to tell me the number of absences I have had in your class.

I think that I have only missed once. But I wanted to double-check.

The reason for this is that I have* to miss class tomorrow (Thursday, May 20th).

The reasoning for this is, kind of a long story, but quickly: my sister came to visit me from the US and we were planning to travel to Belgium tomorrow evening (wouldn't have conflicted at all with your class), but our original train was cancelled because the Frankfurt train drivers are on strike (!!). So the only other option is to take an earlier train that leaves at 4. So I would have* to miss your class. It isn't really possible to reschedule the trip since she is here only a limited time.

*(unless I have already missed twice).


I apologize if this is TMI. I was just worried and thought I'd let you know my situation since [school name] has the 2 absence policy. I remember that I missed your class once before, but other than that I do not think that I have missed.


I would still be able to turn in my research paper tomorrow. I would just have to leave immediately after that to go catch my train.


Again, I apologize if this was too much information. I know that your time is very valuable and I do not at all mean to disrespect it by bothering you with my petty issues.



Kind Regards,
Ember
 
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Every communication should be tailored to the particular recipient but as a general rule personal matters should never be discussed. Formal language is also a must and details should be kept to a minimum.

I suggest something along these lines:

'I am unable to attend lecture tomorrow, 20 May, due to an appointment that cannot be rescheduled. However, I am able to stop by to submit my assignment. Is it possible to have this absence excused? I apologize in advance and I look forward to returning on [date].'

You may have to accept the possibility (and the responsibility) that this absence cannot be excused. Personal reasons are rarely acceptable reasons to miss class unless it is a true personal emergency (e.g. close relative has died, medical reasons).

I hope this helps!
 

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As a professor, here is what I read.


Mr. x,

I cannot remember how to look up my attendance in your class, and was wondering if you could remind me as I don't want to call the help desk or front desk or sign into blackboard to look it up.

I am going to miss your class and was wondering if this means I will be dropped from the class, and don't have time to read the syllabus. I realize you are not as busy as I am.

Regards,
student
 

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As a professor, here is what I read.


Mr. x,

I cannot remember how to look up my attendance in your class, and was wondering if you could remind me as I don't want to call the help desk or front desk or sign into blackboard to look it up.

I am going to miss your class and was wondering if this means I will be dropped from the class, and don't have time to read the syllabus. I realize you are not as busy as I am.

Regards,
student
I have instructors who do not have help desks; my university is not organized that way and thus any questions regarding course expectations must be submitted to the instructors. Neither do these instructors use online resources unless the course is online.

However, I would read this e-mail as suggesting an optional and recreational activity as being more important than lecture. The OP needs to choose between attending lecture and accepting an alternative way to spend time with his sister versus not attending lecture and engaging in an indulgent way to spend time with his sister. If I were the professor and I received this e-mail, I would have the student in my office to explain why he thought he was entitled to an exception because he wanted to take a train ride instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Both of you have very interesting points of view :) Thank you for responding.
 

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I would take the professor's advice here, as he is a professor... but if nothing else, I would clean up the colloquialism.

"kind of a long story, but quickly"
was going to pull out stuff from that entire explanation paragraph but... I would really suggest going through and being more formal on whole
"I apologize if this is TMI" text talk...
A little too self-deprecating at the end. And that's coming from me. I apologized to one of my professors and he got onto me. I mean, you can keep that, it is a bit endearing, but I would suggest saying... something more formal.

Mainly, I would clean up that paragraph and just sound more... polished. I'm sure your professors have recieved worse emails than this, and I think you can see that you are trying, but this comes across as a bit nonchalant and flippant. Clean it up. Polish your words. Don't use sentence fragments or text talk. BE FORMAL. Consider what the professor here wisely said. And have fun in Belgium, assuming your professor responds well to this message.

Edit: oh my gosh and whatever you do please get rid of those two exclamation marks in the middle of that paragraph.

Edit 2: I always respond with "Thank you for your time" at the end of my emails, but "Kind regards" is an interesting choice. Not quite offensive, but... hmm. I suppose you can keep that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Jetstream Aya Could you please close this? Topic is resolved.


(thx <3)
 
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