An email to a teacher should have a clear purpose.  It should be written in a polite and professional tone.  Be sure to open with a proper greeting and sign off with your name.  Here are 14 tips for writing a good email to a teacher.

how to write a good email to a teacher

Tip 1 – Be clear about your purpose

Be specific about why you are sending the email.  If you are asking about an assignment, be clear about which assignment.  Include direct questions and share how you have tried to solve the problem  

Unclear Specific
I need help with math. I don’t understand the long division assignment from yesterday.  Can you help me figure it out?
I turned in my homework. I finished my homework and turned it in.  Can you please let me know if I’m missing anything else?  Also, how long do you think it will take to be graded?
When can we meet? I have some questions about the essay from last week.  Can we meet after school on Thursday?

Tip 2 – Open with a proper greeting

Starting an email with “HEY” is not okay.  A good email usually opens with “Dear”.  But, a polite “Hello” or “Hi” is usually acceptable.  Address the teacher with the correct title such as “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or “Dr.”  Skipping the greeting is considered rude.  Using their first name is not appropriate.

Proper Greetings Not Okay
Dear Ms. Smith
Hi Mr. Jones
Hello Dr. Williams
Hi Mary
Skipping the greeting

Tip 3 – Sign off with your full name

A sign off is the correct way to end an email.  Writing “Thank you” is always welcome.  Include your full name.  Remember, your teacher may have hundreds of students.

Good Email Sign Offs
Thank you,
Mary Williams
Joe Adams
Bob Ross
Julia James

Tip 4 – Spelling and grammar matter

Take the time to write something worth reading.  An email with spelling and grammar mistakes is unprofessional and difficult to take seriously.  

  • Write in complete sentences. This includes capital letters and punctuation.
  • Avoid texting phrases such as OMG, or LOL.  
  • Do not replace words with single letters.  For example, write “you” instead of “U”.
  • Writing in all capital letters may be read as yelling and is considered rude.

Tip 5 – Polite and respectful tone

An email to your teacher should be professional and polite.  If you want them to do something, ask nicely.  One line emails are often read as bossy demands.  You should show good manners both in your written emails and in class.

Never send an email when you are upset.  If you are frustrated, write your email and save it as a draft.  Re-write and send later after you have had a chance to calm down.

A written message is easy to misinterpret as rude.  When we speak to each other our voice can help us sound polite or respectful.  As you write your email, ask yourself if your teacher could read the message in a negative way.

Tip 6 – Subject line is not optional

Include a subject with each email.  But, don’t put the entire message in the subject line.  The subject line should give a preview and set the theme for the email.  The subject also helps the teacher find the email in their inbox.

Tip 7 – Give context about your question

You have a handful of teachers.  But, your teacher has hundreds of students across several classes.  Include your class name and period in your email.  This is especially helpful at the beginning of the year when everyone is getting to know each other.

Tip 8 – Less is sometimes more

Your teacher’s inbox is likely overflowing with emails.  They will appreciate it if you get to the point.

Tip 9 – Patience is a virtue

Your teacher will need time to respond to your email.  If they have not responded in 1-2 days, it is reasonable to send a polite follow-up email asking your question again.  Or, ask them when you see them in class.  

Tip 10 – Create an email signature

Consider adding an email signature to all your emails.  A signature is a few lines of text added to the bottom of all your emails.  It is a convenient way to include your full name and contact information to your messages.   

Example Student Email Signature
Billy Smith
Happy Place High School
Class of 2026
Twitter: @BillySmithTheStudent

Tip 11 – Always proofread your emails

Take the time to check for spelling or grammar mistakes.  Make sure your email is polite and professional.  A mistake could mean your teacher does not understand the purpose of your message.

Tip 12 – Respond to messages from your teacher

Do your best to reply to your teacher emails within 1-2 days.  Your teacher is trying to help you.  Take the time to answer their questions.  Or, you may simply need to reply that you received their message.

Tip 13 – What if this email was public?

Consider how you would feel if everyone could read this.  How would you feel if it was forwarded to your parents?  It is a final check to make sure it represents who you are as a person.

Example of an effective email from a high school student
Dear Ms. Williams,

I hope you had a great weekend.

I’m in your 3rd-period biology class.  I am supposed to turn in the essay about photosynthesis on Friday.  But, I have some questions.  Can I stop by your class after school on Thursday?

   Billy Smith

Tip 14 – Timing matters

You may be up at 2:00 am finishing homework.  Your teacher is likely asleep.  Try this tip to schedule your email to arrive at a more reasonable time.  Your teacher may appreciate receiving your message during normal working hours.