Strange. A letter that had been personally stamped, addressed, and delivered by USPS must surely meant something to the sender. Yet it didn’t feel that way on my end; it seemed to be a trick to force unnecessary information on me.
So when I decided to email merge promotion-in-doubt letters to students this week, I did it with low expectations. I figured that students might pass over the letters, or feel once again feel reminded that they were not meeting expectations.
What I didn't predict was that I would receive over twenty emails back from promotion-in-doubt students! Their responses were genuine, and their concern was heartfelt.
- "Okay Mr. Levy i am going to make u proud"
- "I PROMISE TO COME TO SCHOOL EVEN IF I COME LATE TO SCHOOL"
- "Thank you Mr.Levy i wull make shore that i will not give up I want to pass"
What had started as form letters in my outbox had transformed into authentic student communication. I've happily responded to each of these students, and have been able to explain more of the details surrounding their promotional status. In one case, a student had done the work necessary to change her grade and needed to be removed from the promotion-in-doubt list! We were both very excited.
I think my favorite response was a three-word response from a 7th grade boy, who learned he was at risk: "thats not cool."
He was right--potentially bad news is never cool. But email-merging semi-personalized information to students? Cooler than I thought.