By Geri Coleman Tucker
Most teachers expect and welcome communication via email. But you should be careful about what you say and how you say it in the email.
Be sure the teacher is willing to communicate by email. Ask to exchange email addresses.
Express how much you appreciate the teacher’s hard work or how much your child likes the class.
Long emails often aren’t read closely.
Don’t expect answers on weekends, evenings or vacations. Teachers have family lives, too. Find out what the teacher’s policy is on how quickly you’re likely to get a response.
Don’t ask questions if the answers can be found in class materials. Many teachers now go to great lengths to put grades, assignments and other materials on a web portal. Check that first.
An email to your child’s teacher should only include other school professionals if they’ve been involved in the particular issue you’re emailing about.
If you want to discuss a learning issue, try to stick with the facts. Instead of writing “no one is helping my son with his math,” you can cover the same territory in a less accusatory tone. For example, you can write, “He failed the last two math tests, and I’m concerned he needs some math help. Can you and I set up a time to talk about this further?” That may start the process of a helpful dialogue.
Thank the teacher for taking the time to read your message, and say that you look forward to hearing her thoughts.
Being on the same page with your child’s paraprofessional can be helpful for everyone involved. Use these strategies to build your relationship.
If your child with learning and attention issues is struggling in school, you may need to help him more with homework. To be effective, you’ll need to understand how he’s being taught. This way you can help your child within the context of the class and avoid confusing him.
Here are some respectful conversation starters to use with teachers that ask about teaching approaches. You may also be interested in conversation starters for discussing services and supports.
Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today.
Kristen L. Hodnett, M.S.Ed., is a clinical professor in the department of special education at Hunter College in New York City.
Video: A School Superintendent on How to Advocate for Your Child
Behavior Contracts: What You Need to Know
8 Conversation Starters for Discussing Social and Emotional Concerns With Teachers
9 Tips for Working With Your Child’s Paraprofessional
How to Talk With Your Child’s Teacher About Too Much Homework
Checklist: Questions to Ask at Your Parent-Teacher Conference
There was an error posting your reply.
Thanks for being a part of the Understood Community. Your comment will appear shortly, once it’s been reviewed.
*Please confirm you are not a robot.
See how brain structures and brain chemistry are different in children with ADHD.
Hear from our math expert, Daniel Ansari, Ph.D.
Why some kids may have trouble organizing information from the senses.
Hear from the National Center for Learning Disabilities on what’s happening.
Sign up for weekly emails with helpful resources for you and your family.
This email is already subscribed to Understood newsletters. If you haven't been receiving anything, add email@example.com to your safe-senders list.
Name must have no more than 50 characters. Email address must be valid. Email message must have no more than 140 characters and cannot include the < > / \ special characters. Please fill out all fields and complete the reCAPTCHA to send a message.
*Please confirm you are not a robot.
Don’t worry—we saved what you wrote.
Sign up to get personalized recommendations and connect with parents and experts in our community.
Only members can view and participate in conversations.
Child’s nickname is private and only you can see it.