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Tips for Emailing Teachers

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Tips for Emailing Teachers

Rebecca Tao, Staff Writer

Email is usually the most preferred out-of-class communication method, and many educators choose this service to relay information to their students. However, because there is no face-to-face contact involved with emailing, there is a possibility of miscommunication. Here are five key tips to keep in mind in order to write a professional and direct email:

1. Respect authority and position

Start your email with a greeting, like “Hi Mr./Mrs._” or “Good afternoon Mr./Mrs._.” In real life, you wouldn’t abruptly approach someone for conversation, therefore, make sure you start your email with a salutation and the teacher’s name. For the actual content of the email, remember to respect a teacher’s authority even if you are frustrated with instructions and need clarification. They are there to help you, so be respectful of their teaching style and schedule. For example, some teachers have stricter email response periods, such as not replying after 6:00 p.m. Therefore, flow with your teachers’ schedules and learn to be flexible in communication. Always keep in mind that the teacher is not required to conform to you, but as a student, you will need to learn to adapt to your educators.

2. Address the situation

In the subject bar, include the class and period you are in along with the topic so the teacher knows what you are referencing. For instance, a header can be “Review for Ch. 7 Test Alg 2 p.5.” This subject is simple and easy to understand. Don’t be afraid to ask for explanation or clarification on something you don’t understand. More often than not, teachers appreciate students reaching out to them for help through email, as this exhibits how the student is aware of what they do not understand and are actively working to solve any complications.

3. Get to the point

What is the purpose of your email? To ask a question about a concept the teacher brushed over in class? To send a link for a file? To ask for a favor or teacher recommendation? For all of the above, make sure to state it in the subject line and in the first few lines of your email. Check that your email is not in an accusing tone, and try to avoid using “you” (teacher). To illustrate this, “you did not explain this clearly” sounds vastly different from “I didn’t quite grasp this concept in class.” When attaching files to your email, first give some background explaining the assignment and what the file contains; this clears up any confusion regarding the attachment. For favors, avoid trying to convince your teacher to do something, instead, just asking and ending with a thank you will be enough.

4. Proofread and perfect

Read over your email at least once and make sure it contains no grammar or spelling errors. You can even try running it through Grammarly! Possessing good diction, grammar, and syntax is just as important as the actual content of your email. However, do not imitate Joey and his thesaurus on Friends and go overboard with fancy language when ten-cent words suffice.

5. Don’t overthink it!

Email is just another way of talking to your teacher. You are not expected and have no obligation to impress them with your words, so don’t contemplate on whether or not you should send an email—just do it! Be direct and state what you want politely. Overall, email offers an effective way to communicate when outside the classroom—so utilize it!

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Tips for Emailing Teachers