How to Email Teachers
In this day and age, writing a formal and professional email can be a little unnerving. With the technology that is out there and the informal “texting” language that has become a part of our daily vernacular, the pressure to change one's tone or style of communication is imperative in a professional setting. This includes communicating with and writing an email to a teacher or professor. To help you out, we have put together a guideline with tips for effective and respectful ways to email a teacher.
Find the Best Form of Communication
First and foremost, make sure sending an email is the best way to communicate with the teacher you are trying to contact. While some teachers may prefer a phone call or in-person meeting, others may prefer an email. Once you've established the best form of communication, it’s time to begin your email.
Have an Appropriate Email Address
Whenever you email someone in a professional or more respectful capacity, it's important that you have an appropriate email address. While the email address you had in high school might be funny, it's best to use something that is simple and straightforward such as your name (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more tips on crafting an appropriate email address, check out our professional email address examples guide.
Start with a Clear Subject Line
When you are writing an email to a teacher, it is important to remember that they receive many emails each and every day. This is why the subject line matters. The subject line is the first clue as to what your email is regarding, and it could be the difference between a quick and helpful response versus no response. For example, if you are sending an email regarding an assignment for your English class, use the line “Rhetorical Analysis Essay Help” rather than “please help.” The tone is more professional and straightforward, giving the teacher a clue as to what to expect when opening the email.
Formally Address the Teacher
Starting with a salutation is much better than simply jumping right into your message. Begin the email with a respectful acknowledgment of their name and a greeting. Depending on your relationship with the recipient, the casualty of the greeting will differ. Typically, starting with something like “Dear Mr. Jones” or “Hello Mr. Jones” will work just fine. This formality is also the case for an adult emailing a teacher, whether as a student or as a parent of a student.
Another thing to make sure of is spelling names correctly. There is nothing more off-putting than reading an email and instantly catching the misspelling of your very own name.
Teachers have busy lives and depending on how many students they juggle, you may not be able to rely on their memory when it comes to knowing who you are. Whether it’s a class that you have with them, a clear instance that is unique to you and their relationship, or your child that they teach – remind them who you are. If you have never met them before, make sure you inform them of the relationship you desire. For example, “I am interested in enrolling in your class next semester.”
Use Proper English
This is an incredibly important point that is a crucial aspect of creating a respectful tone in your email. This means not using “texting” language or slang such as “lol” or “idk.” This also means using standard punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar. Instead of “do u have a copy of the hw you handed out yesterday i lost it lol” try something like “I am writing to ask if there is any chance you have a copy of the homework you handed out yesterday? Unfortunately, I have misplaced my copy.” Obviously, they won’t be too thrilled with you, but they’re a lot more likely to oblige to someone who uses commas and proper spelling.
Get to the Point
Make your email brief and to the point. Long emails can be daunting to read as well as a waste of the teacher’s time. Ask what you need to ask or say what you need to say – as long as it is in about five sentences or less, you should be good. Don't make them read an essay; they already do that in the day-to-day.
End the Email
Ending the email in a respectful tone is almost just as important as beginning the email, this means signing off with something like “Thank you” or “Regards.” It's recommended you sign off with your full name after the closing words.
How to Email Teachers
Learning how to write professional and respectful emails is a skill that will help you not only with your current teachers but with any and all professional communication you have in the future. Remember, using courtesy and the correct email etiquette will help you substantially when you are sending emails, and hopefully this article will help you understand exactly how to do so.