Crafting an effective email to your child’s teacher about a problem is no small task! Clearly articulating your concern, while nurturing the home-to-school relationship can be a tricky balance.
Rest assured, you can advocate for your child while maintaining a positive relationship with their teacher!
Whether you’re looking to address failing or declining grades, absences due to illness, or behavior concerns, our free sample emails (to teacher from parent) will support you in helping your child thrive!
Why is it important for parents to communicate with teachers?
Research consistently shows that students do better when their home and school stakeholders communicate in a positive way.
Studies show that family involvement in student learning is tied to higher levels of achievement, regardless of income, race/ethnicity, and other demographics.
Key benefits include:
- higher grades and test performance
- better school attendance
- healthier social/emotional development
- higher likelihood of attending college
[See specific studies cited in Henderson & Mapp (2002)]
Initiatives that focus on building respectful and trusting relationships among school staff, families, and community members are more likely to be effective…JoBeth Allen, Professor of the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia
Why is emailing my child’s teacher so hard?
If you find it challenging to email your child’s teacher, you’re not alone.
On one hand, you want to make sure that you are respectful and nurture your home-to-school relationship. On the other, you also want to make sure that you get your point across.
Many parents struggle with:
- Knowing if a concern or question is worthy of an email
- Fear of confrontation or perceived conflict
- Finding enough time
- Finding the “right” words
What warrants an email to my child’s teacher?
Communication is the cornerstone of the parent-teacher relationship. Some emails may be quick and logistical (e.g., a quick question about what to pack for a class field trip).
Other emails may be more emotionally-tied, and as a result, require more care and thought.
- Academic concerns
- Sickness or long-term absence*
- Behavior concerns (at home or school)
How to write an email to your child’s teacher
As a former professional school counselor, I spent nearly a decade helping parents and teachers troubleshoot every problem from A to Z and foster partnerships to support student growth.
When it comes to parent-teacher emails, I’ve seen it all!
As a certified positive discipline parent educator, I’d be honored to help you effectively advocate for your child’s school success and well-being.
Let’s dive into how to craft an ideal email to your child’s teacher.
When should I email my child’s teacher?
As a parent, you have the right to contact your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns related to their success and well-being. Intervening early and getting ahead of a problem is key!
At the same time, let’s talk about when not to email your child’s teacher. Avoid hitting “send” in haste when emotions are running high.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to take a minute or sleep on it.
Here’s why: Impulsive emails often take time and attention away from solving the problem at hand! They can evoke additional feelings of embarrassment and stress on top of the initial concern.
The primary goal of your email should be to collaborate with your child’s teacher to solve a problem.
Shift your perspective
As a parent, you are the #1 expert on your child. At the same time, when it comes to school concerns, we don’t always have all the facts as parents (as hard as that may be to accept!).
As parents and teachers, we can gain all the information necessary to solve a problem when we come together in peaceful partnerships.
Taking on this perspective will help you serve as the most effective advocate for your child.
Who should email my child’s teacher?
Once your child is old enough type, in many instances it’s best to have them be the first point of contact. This is especially helpful for academic questions.
Putting your child in the driver’s seat empowers them to become their own self-advocate. Best yet, they will feel more confident in speaking up and seeking help in the classroom.
Teachers highly value the opportunity to problem-solve directly with their students first when appropriate.
Key tip: Help your child craft and proofread their email. Have them copy your email address on the message so their teacher knows you’re in the loop.
When NOT to use email for home-to-school communication
In the event of an emergency or time-sensitive matter, calling your school’s main office is typically most appropriate.
In addition, take precautions when emailing about sensitive or confidential issues, such as peer-to-peer or mental health concerns.
Most teachers are diligent but know their computers are often open in a classroom of students and connected to projector screens. One wrong click can expose your words to the masses.
You can always email your child’s teacher asking them to call you at their earliest convenience.
Be sure to provide the appropriate contact information. Remember most teachers will be unable to talk during school hours as they are teaching and supervising children.
Email to a teacher from a parent: 3 key samples for grades, attendance, and behavior
Curious how to write a letter or email to a teacher about a problem? As a professional school counselor for nearly a decade, I’ve read hundreds of parent-teacher emails. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I’ve done the hard work for you and crafted a sample email (free for you to download) to effectively address:
- Academic concerns
- Attendance concerns
- Behavior concerns
With our customizable templates, you will feel at ease knowing the precise words to speak from both your head and your heart.
Sample email to a teacher from a parent about declining or failing grades
If your child has experienced a significant drop their academic achievement, it’s time to open the lines of communication with his or her teacher.
What’s a “significant” drop in achievement? A general rule of thumb is a decline by 2 or more letter grades across 2 or more assignments or assessments.
It also never hurts to be proactive, such as reaching out at the start of a new grading period. Ask your child’s teacher to identify how they can get off to a strong start (and how you can support them along the way).
FREE DOWNLOAD: Sample email to a teacher from a parent about declining or failing grades
As a seasoned former professional school counselor and certified positive parent educator, I created this free template for you to feel confident crafting an effective email to your child’s teacher about academic concerns.
Sample letter or email to a teacher from a parent about a sick child
Timely home-to-school communication surrounding your child’s absences is critical for:
- Fulfilling attendance reporting requirements set by your district and state
- Helping your child make up for missed academic obligations
- Ensuring school staff is prepared to accommodate any significant medical concerns for your child
In most cases, your school’s main office (or designated attendance office) will be the primary point of contact surrounding attendance. However, teachers benefit from knowing as soon as possible that a student will be out, particularly if they will need to send home makeup work.
Policies on documenting absences and requesting makeup work vary by school.
For example, some schools require a doctor’s note for medical absences spanning three or more consecutive days. The same amount of time missed may be a prerequisite for having makeup work sent home.
Your school’s website or student handbook is a great place to look for these attendance policies.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Sample letter or email to a teacher from a parent about a sick child
As a seasoned former professional school counselor and certified positive parent educator, I created this free template to help you quickly and effectively craft an email to your child’s teacher about attendance concerns.
Sample email to a teacher from a parent about a child’s behavior
If your child is experiencing behavior concerns, maintaining open and consistent communication with his or her teacher is essential.
A change in behavior at home can often be indicative of a problem at school. Kids may hold it together until they arrive back at their “safe place.”
At the same time, some children may exhibit more challenging behavior in structured settings like school and less so in more relaxed environments like home.
Whether your child is struggling with behavior or social/emotional concerns at school, at home, or in both settings, consistent parent/teacher communication is important and necessary.
FREE DOWNLOAD: Sample email to a teacher from a parent about a child’s behavior
As a seasoned former professional school counselor and certified positive parent educator, I created this free template to help you craft an effective email to your child’s teacher about behavior concerns.
Children thrive when their home and school support work together as a united, supportive front. Our template is designed to help you achieve just that!
FAQ about Writing an Email to a Teacher (From a Parent)
In some situations, communicating with your child’s teacher is easier said than done. Let’s talk about some of the most common areas of confusion and where to go from here.
Have a question and don’t see it listed below? Be sure to ask in the comments section at the end of this post!
“My child’s teacher isn’t responding to my emails. What do I do?“
Allow at least 24 hours for a response. Teachers have very limited (sometimes non-existent) breaks during the school day. Remember, they are busy teaching, which is what we want for kiddos!
After 24 hours, know it’s okay to send a quick follow-up email to confirm they received your message. If you still don’t hear back, you can leave a phone message for them through the main office.
If a lack of communication from your child’s teacher becomes a pervasive issue, you can request a face-to-face meeting and be upfront with your desire to collaborate. Identify how you can best reach them in the future.
Key tip: It sounds silly, but be sure to double-check the correct spelling of the teacher’s email address. I once had a parent storm into my office with a stack of printed emails furious I had been ignoring her. Upon reading the emails, it became clear she had sent her messages with a typo in my email address!
When should I contact school staff other than my child’s teacher (e.g., school counselor, school nurse, administrator)?
In most cases, talking to a school counselor or administrator should happen in addition to your child’s teacher, rather than instead of.
The classroom teacher is the primary staff member supporting your child and will most often be the one to execute any interventions or supports at school.
Additional school staff may be contacted about:
- Instances of repeated bullying that stem beyond typical peer conflict
- Mental health concerns
- Disciplinary infractions
- Cases of a suspected or confirmed student disability
- Long-term or chronic health condition
Who do I contact if I suspect my child has a disability?
With any school-related concern, your child’s teacher is the best first point of contact. He or she should be able to direct you on the next steps for completing a formal referral for interventions and/or potential school-based evaluation.
You can and should be asked to document your concerns in writing. You should also expect to receive an invitation to discuss your referral with school stakeholders in a formal meeting.
For more information on the special education referral process, you can visit The Parent Center Hub for a sample referral letter and helpful resources.
The last thing you need to know about emailing your child’s teacher
Whether you’re PTA president or you couldn’t attend any parent-teacher conferences this year, know this:
You are a great parent.
Regular email communication isn’t reserved for only parents who have the time and/or ability to engage in person at their child’s school.
Parent/teacher communication is for all parents who want nothing more than to help their children rise above challenges and succeed.
You are not only communicating with your child’s teacher but you are here learning the most effective way to do so. Be proud!
You are a calm, confident collaborator ready to advocate for your child. You’ve got this!