As a teacher and now a mother, I have seen both sides of the coin in dealing with an educational system. After reading this post, you will know how to send an effective email to your child’s teacher.
No matter where your child attends school, parents, teachers, and the student must work together in order for the child to have the most successful school year possible. This includes respectful and effective communication.
Sometimes, you can’t see the forest for the trees, especially when your child is involved. That’s why I will give you an outside perspective that you can use as a template when emailing the school about matters that deal with your child. Matters of the heart!
The #1 Reason It is Important For the Teacher and Parent to Keep a Positive Relationship
A student who knows that they have a teacher who communicates regularly with their caregiver and knows that their parent communicates with and trusts their teacher is more likely to put more effort into school.
By the same token, when a student knows that they have a teacher who rarely, if ever, communicates with parents, or they know their parents don’t trust, respect or communicate well with their teacher, you have a recipe for disaster. More than likely, the child will use the broken relationship to what they believe to be their advantage. But in reality, it is not to their advantage at all. Instead of energy being used to create a successful school year for a student, it becomes a battle of wills.
Be an Advocate for Your Child
What does it mean to be advocating for your child at school? You do not have to be in defense mode to advocate. Remember, being your child’s advocate means being their supporter, true believer, cheerleader, encourager, and fellow traveler. There does not have to be a negative situation in order for you to be their advocate. Being involved is being an advocate.
If your child brings something to your attention, you show empathy, discuss the situation, and decide if you need to act. You want your child to trust that when they come to you, you protect them. This gives them the confidence to come to you.
If you have your child’s interest at heart and I know you do, it has to be a partnership or the only one that suffers is the child. Teacher + Child + Parent = Success
Get Off to A Good Start Before Writing an Email to Your Child’s Teacher…
- Write to the teacher at the beginning of school and tell them about your child. Likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, anything that would help the teacher out instead of taking 3 months to figure it out on her own. Tell your goals for your child and what ya’ll are working on such as paying attention, trying their best, making friends, etc.
- When your student has anything extra such as special glasses, IEPs, 504, Special Ed, medication, inhaler, EpiPen, food allergy, Speech, mental illness, really shy, anger issues, anything else I haven’t thought of, send a message about it the week before school or the first week. Give the teacher your point of view on it. *Do not have a mini-conference about it at Meet the Teacher.
- If you have a high maintenance child and you will communicate more than most, ask the teacher their preferred method of communication if they haven’t mentioned it.
- Send letters of thanks and appreciation. Ask if there is anything you can do to help.
Do’s of an Email to Your Child’s Teacher
- Include your child’s first and last name in the subject line with 2 or 3 words why you’re emailing.
- Keep the email around 2 to 3 paragraphs.
- If it’s a serious concern, cc or bcc the principal.
- If the teacher has several classes, say which class period your child is in.
- Stay respectful and calm.
- Use I statements to avoid putting the teacher on the defensive. Instead of, you told the class that or you gave him a 50 on his spelling test...
– I am concerned about…
– I am worried about…
– My heart is saddened because…
- Whenever you want to talk, ask them to call or have a conference about the matter. If it deals with other teachers, request their presence and cc them on the email.
- If it’s an issue about transportation, email or call the principal or the transportation department depending on your district. Teachers do not have control of the bus drivers. Same thing with walkers, car riders, etc. E-mail the principal.
- Be a teacher advocate.
– Remember that teachers are human, and they make mistakes as imperfect humans do!
– Give the teacher the benefit of the doubt.
– Remember that the teacher is 1 human with however many students. You know what it’s like with 1, 2, 3… children of your own. Show empathy.
- Inform the teacher when there is “stuff”. Divorce, moving, a new baby, Dad’s out of the country for a month- Moms on her own, etc. They need to know to have empathy for your child. They need to know rather than find out the hard way.
- Remember that anything you type in an email can be saved and printed out.
Don’ts of an Email to Your Child’s Teacher
Remember to start each sentence with DON’T…
- Call the teacher by the first name.
- Ramble on in an email to your child’s teacher.
- Come across judgemental. Remember innocent until proven guilty. Use I statements.
- Expect immediate feedback. Usually, a teacher can’t focus on email until after dismissal.
- Hit send without reading over your email and making sure you are keeping a positive relationship.
- Write the email when you are ticked. Breathe. It is best to wait until you have cooled down.
- Use other kids or parent’s names unless there’s no way around it. Only discuss your family. Usually, the teacher is not at liberty to use names either.
- Try to talk to the teacher like a friend. Keep it professional. Yes, you can treat her like family. When I say friend, I’m talking asking for advice on boyfriend issues, town gossip, talking about other students or teachers type stuff.
- Email your child’s teacher about another teacher. Email that teacher or the principal. For instance, if you have an issue with the PE teacher, take it up with her or the principal. It is fine to CC the child’s homeroom teacher, so she knows of the matter. But you can expect her to run around putting out students’ fires.
- Try to have a conference when in passing while you are at the school or supermarket. If you need a conference, email that you need a conference.
Receive the PDF: Do’s and Don’ts Checklist and Sample Emails to Your Child’s Teacher
Send Me the Checklist and Sample Emails
Major Issues Are Not for an Email to Your Child’s Teacher
If there is something a teacher did that you are strongly offended by, it is best to contact the principal using the same Do’s and Don’ts above. The principal can help take steps that are at the best interest of the child.
If you do not get the sense of urgency, respect, or attention you deserve, you continue to climb the chain of command ladder until you do.
Collaborate, Collaborate, Collaborate!
Call to Action
As you can see, effective communication can go a long way whether it’s in person or in an email to your child’s teacher. Of course, this is true in all areas of life. The parent-teacher relationship can make or break a child’s school year.
Remember that your child has to spend their days with these people, and people have a subconscious. Although we would like to believe that children aren’t treated any differently because of something their parent did or said, I’m pretty sure it happens. If it happens for the positive, then we can assume it happens for the negative. Keep it respectful, and communicating sooner is always better than later.
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Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS