Formal Lessons Preferable To 'helpful' Interruptions
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How can I help my girlfriend learn to use the correct words during our conversations in English without constantly correcting her?
When I interrupt her to suggest the correct words, it appears to be more frustrating than helpful for her.
GENTLE READER: Much like with autocorrect, alternate suggestions while one is trying to convey a coherent thought are not as helpful as they might seem to the instructor, who is supposed to be listening to the ideas being conveyed.
If you want to avoid coming across as Henry Higgins (because there is little chance that that relationship lasted), Miss Manners suggests that you and the lady make the lessons reciprocal. Devise a plan to learn each other's languages at designated times -- and not during regular conversations. In other words, let the rain in Spain stay mainly on the plain.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a college professor, and students often ask me to write letters of recommendation for them for medical school, or other professional applications where such letters are required.
I am happy to write them. However, they take time to write.
The students are aware that I have complied when the letters are submitted via their application portals, and they receive an email of their receipt. But they will often not even acknowledge my recommendations with a simple thank you in an email, much less a thank-you card for writing them. This has been ever more consistently the case, and I am tired of writing recommendations without even receiving a thank-you for the time I spent.
Am I asking too much of this college generation? It makes me not want to write any letters of recommendation anymore, but I know this is unfair to the few who do acknowledge the time and effort I put into them. It's impossible to know beforehand who will at least be polite enough to send a simple email.
What would you suggest I do -- not write these letters anymore, or just not expect any thanks? Any other suggestions?
GENTLE READER: That you have more to teach your former students.
Just because one may be electronically aware that the letter has been posted does not mean that it should go unacknowledged.
The one excuse Miss Manners will concede is that often, students are not privy to the content of that letter, and therefore uncertain of the degree of gratitude owed -- if any at all.
You might preempt that -- while also prompting thanks -- by saying, I trust that you know by now that the letter I wrote for you has been received. I wanted to let you know that your attributes have been rightfully praised and I wish you success with your admission. Please keep me informed of what happens. If, at that point, they still do not respond to thank you profusely, then you may privately despair.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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