Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.
Claim: Teacher's letter home upbraids student for correcting him in class.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, 2006]
This letter is supposedly from a teacher named Adam Hilliker. I suspect that it's humor or perhaps a comment on teaching some controversial issue, but I'm not sure.
Origins: Many of us, during our time in school, have encountered teachers who made mistakes in class and viewed corrections from students not as opportunities to learn something themselves,
but as unwarranted and intolerable challenges to their authority
That is the set-up in the letter displayed above, posted on the Internet back in May 2006 by someone who claimed it was a missive from his math teacher. Putatively written by a teacher (Adam Hilliker) to the mother of one of his students, the letter notifies the parent that her son (Alex) will be serving one hour's detention for "disregarding authority" and demonstrating a "complete lack of respect for his school." The student's
transgression? Having corrected a teacher who insisted to his class that a kilometer was longer than a mile. (In fact, a kilometer is only about 62% of a mile.) Although in the text of the letter Mr. Hilliker acknowledges that the student was indeed correct, he maintains that young Alex "would be better off simply accepting my teachings without resistance."
Is this image a scan of a real letter? It offers no contextual clues that would make it verifiable (it's not written on school letterhead and makes no mention of the school's name or location), and nobody has yet turned up a math teacher in the U.S. named Adam Hilliker. Many readers have seized on small details to declare it phony, such as the similarity of the names "Adam Hilliker" and "Adolf Hitler" (perhaps a bit of a stretch) combined with a date of April 20 (Hitler's birthday); the supposedly too-early appearance of smart quotes in a letter dating from 1994, and the seeming lack of visual distortion in portions of the page that appear to be wrinkled.