Monday, September 21, 2009

How to send an e-mail to a teacher - REALLY!

In your high school career you are beginning to communicate via the internet with your teachers. It is crucial to follow some basic guidelines when you do this for a couple of reasons.

First, your teachers are busy people (as are most students) and e-mail should be a tool which makes everyone's lives easier rather than more difficult.

Second, and more important, your e-mails are a projection of your professionalism. Get used to writing professional e-mails so you are taken seriously by teachers, college professors, peers, employers, and others you think should take you seriously.

1. Write a subject line that tells the reader what the e-mail is about. For email about classes, include the class name and period in your subject line.

Don’t: SUBJECT: (don't leave it blank or put something like "hi")

Do: SUBJECT: Question about observation assignment Hon. Bio. Per. 5

2. Sign the e-mail with your full name and your class and period number. Many students have e-mail addresses which don’t include their name, and remember that teachers have about 150 students so be sure they know who you are!

Don’t: seeya J ;-)

Do: Sincerely, Juan Gonzalez, Hon. Bio. Per. 5

3. Write in a professional manner. Use standard academic capitalization and punctuation. Use your computer’s spell checker and proof-read your email before you send it. Remember, using ALL CAPITALS is like YELLING in an email.

Don’t: yo mr c wazup wat u giv 4 homwurk 2day

Do: Hi Mr. Cantor. I am absent today because I’m pretty sick. Can you please e-mail me any notes from class and our assignment? I’ll be sure to bring a note from my grandma so my absence is excused.

4. Only send appropriate emails. Please don’t forward chain letters or other Spam. Please don’t send joke or “inspirational” e-mails unless they relate to our class. Many chain letters are urban myths. Before you feel the need to forward the message about a new computer virus or free laptop giveaway, check to see if it is true or not. Also, I don’t “friend” current students on Facebook, so please don’t send a friend request until you graduate from NGHS.

i.e. I’d love to see a clean and school appropriate joke or cartoon about evolution that involves Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud bungee jumping, but I don’t want to see any joke that might be mean, racist, sexist, obscene, rude, offensive, or otherwise irrelevant to our class.

5. If you send a paper or other assignment to a teacher learn how to send it as an Attachment. Name your file something that makes sense and is unique to your paper.

Don’t: biologypaper.doc (every student might name it this)

Do: JuanGonzalezWhatIsSciEssayPer05.doc

If you can’t attach your file as a .doc or .docx, you can copy and paste your document into the body of your e-mail, assuming it isn’t too long and full of graphs etc.

6. If you don’t have internet access at home there are other options:
- Use the library at school during lunch or after school.
- Use the Chicago Public Library – There are several branches near school.
- Use a computer at a friend or relative’s house.
- Arrange to stay after school in my room, or another teacher's room to use the computer.

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