Some teachers dread contacting parents. Sending emails and making phone calls is not the focus of teacher preparation.
It is generally something teachers learn over time. Or from colleagues. Or previous experiences.
“What do I say?”
“What if they don’t read it?”
“What action do I really want (need) them to take?”
When contacting a group of parents (We can contact an entire class at once in Skyward at my school), I have found a number of tricks that have made those emails more effective.
My definition of effective parent emailing is that parents open the email, easily understand what you are stating, and mostly take the action you desire.
You are not going to get every parent to open every email you send home. That doesn’t mean you aren’t being successful. Your goal is getting as many parents to open as many emails as possible.
3 Tips For Emailing Home
1. Write an attention grabbing subject line.
Parents are probably bombarded with email already. They are getting email from advertisers, their boss, family, their child’s other teachers, and more. Don’t assume your email will stick out. It won’t.
Put some thought into grabbing parent’s attention in your email subject line.
Put the highlights into the subject line. For example, “Second Quarter Book Report Due January 9th.”
If you have a few things you are emailing about create a numbered list and mention how many pieces of information are in the list in the subject line.
2. Use bold, underline, italics inside the email.
As mentioned in my post on copywriting most people want information simplified. YOU probably would love for this post to be simplified. That is why I have bolded the important parts.
It is ok to use bold and underline in your emails to parents.
They will appreciate being able to see the highlights. Remember to only bold and underline information that is actually important. This way parents can skim the email if they want and the bold helps them remember the main points.
3. Use large fonts.
It is hard to keep up with all the emails we get every day.
It is worse when you have to manually resize the font.
Do your student’s parents a favor and select all of the text and make it large. At least 18 point font.
Your email will stick out to them because it is larger than most emails they read. It is also easier to read.
Parents are a great ally for teachers. Make their lives as easy as possible by writing clear, concise, large emails when contacting them. And yes, you should be contacting them! Starting writing easier to read email and parents will be more likely to open future emails.