The other side of love

There comes a time in a teacher's career when they become so wedded to the tools of their trade that every part of life is an unwitting extension of their workshop. Hence you find PE teachers chalking up the scores in the Friday night darts competition, geography teachers on a day out boring anyone who will listen about rock formations, and senior managers staring at their own offspring through the prism of a spreadsheet showing colour-coded marginal gains. And, of course, English teachers with a weakness for an extended metaphor.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm a big fan of teachers who love their subjects and enthusiastically share this love - that is the nature of teaching. So the geographer who delights in chalk escarpments is a good thing, as is the English pedagogue who loves grammar.

If only it stopped there, though. On that same Friday night, when my colleagues were taking aim at a blurry bullseye, I found myself becoming increasingly irritated by the following email, purportedly from my bank:

Dear Client,

During our regular online service routine checks, we noticed some details in your profile are incomplete.

Please take a few minutes of your online experience to confirm your online records.

Please confirm your records.

You may experience future problems with your online access by failing to comply to this feature.

Online Service

Before I had taken a moment to dwell on just how tediously pedantic I had truly become, I found myself responding as if to a terribly disappointing bit of homework by an exasperating student:

This is embarrassingly poor quality phishing. You should be ashamed of yourself. The grammar, punctuation and layout are terrible. "Regular" and "routine" mean the same thing; it's "comply with" not "comply to".

Your random capitalisation is woeful, your lack of personalisation pathetic - especially considering my name is in my email address - and you offer neither your regards nor your (fake) name. Did you take the time to annotate even the most simplistic text exemplars from a real website, or do you not actually qualify for your own online account yet?

Your lexis is all over the shop. You have Facebook profiles, not banking profiles, and I have never heard an adult talk about their "online experience". If it really were an "experience", it would probably be something they'd want to keep to themselves.

To be perfectly frank, if this were my real bank I'd close my account immediately. I'll give you 24 hours to turn this around and get it back to me. If you're going to do a job, do it properly. Have some self-respect.

I am embarrassed to admit that I felt a twinge of disappointment when they failed to resubmit their homework. And then I remembered that my email phisher was not one of my pupils. Perhaps I should take up darts.

Nelson Thornberry is a pseudonym. He teaches in an international school in Asia

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