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A 101 Guide to Writing Emails to Teachers

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Open, honest communications is the key to a strong relationship, especially when it comes to your child’s education. Parents who want to be partners in their child’s education must develop trust with teachers and administrators. At CCA, we are open to your suggestions and questions because, after all, you know your child best. We want to know your child’s strengths and struggles as we customize the learning experience. 

In the back and forth with teachers, a quick text doesn’t always say what we need to say. Learning how to write emails to teachers equips parents with the space to explain a situation, ask for help or suggest an idea. The result is a richer, more productive dialogue that leads to good outcomes for your child.

A 13-Step Guide to Writing an Email to Your Teacher

Teachers have a lot on their plates, but at CCA we prioritize communications with parents and students. That’s how we ensure each child a personalized learning experience.

So why does it matter that you know how to write emails to the teacher for absences or some other reason? Because a well-written, respectful email gets your point across. If it’s unclear or angry, the response could be equally vague or contentious.

Follow these steps, and you’ll know how to better write email to teachers for help:
1.) Create a clear subject line: The subject line is like an email’s first impression. Be clear and concise, letting the recipient prepare for the conversation. Don’t leave the space blank. Don’t SHOUT IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Don’t include exclamation points. Don’t cram in the entire topic. Use a few short words, such as “Retaking Tuesday’s test” or “Classwork question.”  

2.) Provide a formal intro. Just like old-fashioned letters, emails should start with a formal greeting. Begin with something such as “Dear Ms. Ali,” or “Dear Mr. Lopez,” especially if you don’t know the teacher well. If you’ve gotten to know the teacher, it’s OK to switch to “Hi, Ms. Ali.”

3.) Introduce yourself. Don’t assume your email address clues in the teacher to who you are. Remember that the teacher receives a lot of emails and has a lot of students. Introduce yourself in one sentence, simply stating your child’s name and the class he or she is in. 

4.) Write an overview. Just as an essay opens with a theme, your message should begin with a one-sentence overview. Think of it as padding the subject line, so you might write, “I’m writing to ask if my son can retake Tuesday’s test” or “We’d like more clarification on today’s classwork instructions.”

5.) Include body text. This is where you share your primary message. Again, get to the point. Be brief and concise. Break up the message into paragraphs, so it’s not one big block of words. Bullet points can be effective in helping the reader keep track of multiple points and questions. 

6.) Conclude. Clearly state what you expect the teacher to do in response, and include a deadline when necessary. For instance, say, “I would like to hear back from you by Friday the 8th,” or “Please let me know your ideas for helping Maggie understand her math tables.” And, of course, close with a sincere thank you. 

7.) Proof before sending. Don’t be tempted to skip this step. Read the email out loud to catch anything that sounds unclear. Check carefully for spelling and grammar errors. This is not a cell phone text, so don’t abbreviate phrases. 

8.) Send the email to yourself first. This is a great way to get an objective look and take one last opportunity to proofread.  You may also try sending the message to a trusted friend for their objective input. 

9.) Be respectful. This point cannot be overstated. Even if the subject is emotional, keep your cool. The teacher is trying to help and, like you, deals with stress every day. A calm approach recognizes that the teacher cares and wants to help.

10.) Avoid blame, and take responsibility. Maybe you and your child are upset about a bad grade. There might be something the teacher can do about it, but pointing fingers only makes the situation confrontational. Avoid saying, “I can’t believe you gave my child an F!” Instead, try, “Alexa worked very hard on that assignment. We would appreciate knowing why she failed, so she can do better next time.”

11.) Don’t hit send if you’re angry. Even if you feel you’ve composed a respectful, clear email, pause for a moment. Walk away, and come back later. Review the email to make sure it will get your point across without escalating the situation. Try the tip about sending the email to yourself, for a better impression of how it will look to the teacher. 

12.) Avoid sarcasm and emojis. A written “joke” doesn’t always read as funny but can instead appear critical or offensive. Smiley faces can’t change a snarky tone.

13.) Don’t overdo formatting. Bold type. Italics. Underlining. Colors. It all gets distracting quickly. Restrict use of special fonts to points needed to ensure a shared understanding of things like dates and times, such as, “Can we meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 13?”

Examples of Effective Emails

Once you know how to write email to teachers about bullying, schoolwork, tests or any other topic, you’re a more effective partner in your child’s education. Start by asking yourself, “How would I want to hear about this from someone?” Then write an email, using these examples for inspiration:

(Subject) This weekend’s assignment. (Intro, overview, body) Dear Ms. Gehrig. I am David Ruth, father of DeShawn Ruth, who is in your fourth-grade class. I’m writing to ask if my son can hand in this weekend’s assignment on Tuesday, instead of Monday. He will be traveling with family from Friday evening through Monday afternoon. We are visiting his elderly grandparents and cousins for the first time in two years, and I would appreciate a chance to let him enjoy the opportunity without worrying about doing schoolwork. Please let me know by noon Friday if this is acceptable. I appreciate your help and hope you enjoy your weekend. Thank you.”

(Subject) Cyberbullying. (Intro, overview, body) Dear Mr. Finkenbinder. I am Karen Dover, mother of Amelia Henderson, who is in your eighth-grade biology class. I’m writing because I fear my daughter has become the target of cyberbullying from students in your class. The evidence that makes me believe this is happening includes:

  • She told me two of her biology classmates have been teasing her.
  • She showed me social media posts from students disparaging her weight.
  • She has become fearful of joining virtual biology-class activities. 

I know the school has a zero-tolerance policy for bullies. I would appreciate a chance to meet you and the school principal to discuss this issue and resolve it quickly. Are you available to meet no later than this Friday, October 14? Please let me know the next steps. I appreciate your help in this serious matter. Thank you.

(Subject) Math help. (Intro, overview, body) Dear Ms. Offenbach. I am Lourdes Martinez, mother of Emma Martinez, who is in your fifth-grade class. I’m writing to ask if you can help Emma improve her math grades. She received a C- and a D on her most recent assignments. We would appreciate knowing the reasons the papers were graded poorly, so she can work on improving her weak areas. Can you suggest additional work she can do for extra credit? And would you be available to work with her after school this week to help her understand the concepts that she finds challenging? I believe we can work together to bring up her grades. I look forward to hearing back from you by Wednesday. Thank you for your help.  

At CCA, your child’s teacher is a partner in exploring new ideas and new concepts. Your child gets passionate about learning because education is tailored to his or her talents, interests and challenges. With CCA’S flexible learning, families can make school fit their lifestyles and priorities, and it’s easy to keep in touch with teachers. Discover more information regarding the vibrant, personalized learning experience at Commonwealth Charter Academy by reaching out today.

Author

Commonwealth Charter Academy

Published

July 13th, 2021

Category

Learning Lab

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