Back in 2009, when I was in Year 11 (the final year of compulsory education), work was being done to create a year book. A contest was held to include a poem on the front cover and I decided to enter it. I can’t remember exactly what I wrote, but I know it was a limerick which started “This book is about the Corsham School” and ended “To buy this you’d be a fool”. Of course, that wasn’t serious; I was very enthusiastic for the year book and I still have it safely in my room now, I was just doing some self-loathing humour and, as I was pretty close to the teacher organising it all, I thought she’d laugh and appreciate the joke.
The next day I was in my drama class, which was taught by the teacher behind the year book. She gave the class their task and then afterward said “Adam, could you come into my office? I need to have a word with you.”
“So, why did you want to see me?” I asked once inside. I’d almost fogotten about the poem at that point.
“I think you know why you’re here,” she said.
“Do I?” I replied, a little confused.
“Yes. You’re poem for the yearbook.”
“Oh yes! Did you like it?”
“No, Adam,” she said, sounding very sad, “it was very hurtful. I put a lot of effort into that year book and so have a lot of other people. I’m really upset that you would ridicule it like that.”
“Oh, well, I’m sorry to have upset you,” I said. “But you must know I don’t feel like that, you’ve seen that I’ve been so enthusiastic about it before. I hoped it’d be clear that it was just a joke. I certainly didn’t intend it to be an attack on the yearbook.”
“Well, that’s how I took it,” she said. “And if that weren’t bad enough, you didn’t have to send it to every person in the year.”
“But I didn’t do that,” I said. This was very confusing, I had only sent it to her, as far as I knew.
“Yes, you did, Adam. I think we’d better arrange for you to apologise to the whole year in an assembly soon…”
Later in the day, I went onto a computer to see if there was any reason that my email might have been sent to everyone in the year. It seems that when I’d sent it to her, I’d done so by clicking ‘reply’ to her email about the poem contest… Only I hadn’t clicked ‘reply’, I’d accidentally clicked ‘reply to all’ and my inbox was full of emails from people who had received it.
“That was good adam but why did you call me Miss?”
“Um. I think you clicked the wrong button.”
“This is hilarious.”
“Adam, how did you mix me up with our teacher?”
I replied to all of them and either thanked them for their compliments or explained to them what had happened.
The next day was the week’s assembly day and that was when I was going to have to give the apology. Thankfully, for whatever reason, the assembly was cancelled and then when the next assembly came along my teacher was feeling better about it (and was convinced I hadn’t tried to be mean) and said I no longer needed to give the apology. So, since then, I’m always sure I definitely don’t click “reply to all”…