Example of a terrible email:
hey i was absent last week and i dont understand the work i need ur help
–anonymous student, writing from his bustamove.gmail account
Do you need to send an email to a professor or teacher? STOP! Read this helpful guide first.This blog post is dedicated to all my instructors I may/may not have sent horrible emails as a student.
1. Don’t skip the greeting. Even though you are in a hurry, take the time to say hello before making a request or asking a question. Dear Professor, Professor Jones, etc. are acceptable greetings. By taking a moment to address your teacher, you are establishing the culture of respect between you.
2. After a polite greeting, take one sentence to wish your teacher well. Something like, “I hope you are having a good day so far,” or “I hope your week is going well” goes a long way in establishing goodwill on your end. You’re not just jumping in with what you need. Teachers get dozens of emails a day, and almost everyone needs something. It will be worth your while to demonstrate to your teacher that you regard him/her as an actual human being with feelings.
3. Politely state your question/request. Here are two examples of the same question.
A) This homework is crazy! Do you think we are graduate students or something? I can’t do this assignment!!!!!!
B) If it’s not too much trouble, may I see you after class to get some clarification on the homework assignment? I’m struggling quite a bit and want to do well.
Same question, different effect.
4. Don’t end your email without using some kind of “complimentary close.” This means to add a “Sincerely,” or “Many Thanks” etc. before you sign your name. Under no circumstances should you not sign the email (that’s just lazy).
5. Don’t forget to use proper grammar and spelling. An email is not a text, and your professor is not your bestie. Keep it formal, and don’t use “text speak” ( i cu). That’s unprofessional and discourteous.
Last but not least, don’t forget to say “Thank you” to your teacher. She’s probably reading your email at 11:00 p.m. before she falls asleep. After all, she’s a person too.