Lisa Alvarez,Rebel Girl wishes there had been more of an explanation for the abrupt change in policy—Why? Tell us why!—and certainly the English teacher in her pines for a proper salutation and perhaps unimportant details like deadlines, punctuation, spelling (e.g., orgin), etc. She does approve of the zesty inclusion of Espanol or Spanglish—"familia" status! Ay yi yi!—but then again, she would. She remains perplexed by categories of knowledge she would never possess about her students: "genetic information," "Social Security number," for example, or those she would never mention: "color," "religion" etc.
5500 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, Ca 92618
YOUR RECOMMENDATION LETTER IS IMPORTANT. PLEASE ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES. Do not identify the student by RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, NATIONAL ORGIN [sic], AGE, SEX, FAMILIA [sic] STATUS, DISABILITY STATUS, VETERAN STATUS or GENETIC information. Do not provide the STUDENT'S NAME, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, STUDENT ID NUMBER, BIRTH DATE or any other information that may identify student
[long hyperlink here to cut and paste]
Your temporary password is [a series of capital letters]
Having begun drafting her first letter though she realizes that most faculty are faced with a special challenge: how to avoid the gender revealing pronouns: he or she.
Rebel Girl wants to help.
One can rely upon "the student" to get though most of the letter, though with some tiresome repetition.
The choice of "they," while popular, violates the shift in number statute of the MLA English usage code and repeat violations may result in diminishing the power of the recommendation.
Rebel Girl suggests the more fashionable, cutting edge s/he. Notice the forward slash, very popular these days. Admire how this new hybrid pronoun retains the spirit of the she and the quiet solitary power of the he without sacrificing the gender integrity of either. People who prefer the parenthetical over the slash can opt for (s)he.
There is the weary-making he or she or she or he.
But what to do about him and her?
No idea. You're on your own. Retreat, if you must, to that reliable noun student. Vary it with its slightly British cousin scholar.
Now write your letter.