How to Respond to A Teacher’s Email About Child Behavior

How to Respond to A Teacher’s Email About Child Behavior (With Examples)

Published On: March 14, 2024

Do you get emails from your child’s teacher about poor classroom behavior? Do you find yourself frustrated, overwhelmed, and anxious as you read about how your child is acting at school? Do you feel attacked, threatened, or targeted by your child’s teacher? You’re not alone.

Many parents receive messages from their children’s teachers, which often stirs up negative emotions and thoughts. Your response to their email can significantly impact the future of your relationship with the teacher, your child’s school experience, and your perception of the school itself. Here’s how to respond and some tips to navigate the situation!

Why Do Teachers Email Parents?

Teachers contact parents for a variety of reasons, and they aren’t always negative. For example, a teacher may email a parent to share academic progress, to praise a child’s behavior, or provide an update to previous discussions. Although receiving positive emails is not unheard of, it seems to be much more common that parents are receiving emails for negative reasons. Some of these reasons include:

  • Talking too much in class
  • Distracted or distracting other students
  • Missing homework or assignments
  • Excessive absences or tardies
  • Peer conflict or peer drama
  • Bullying behaviors
  • Problems from switching schools
  • & More

How To Respond to An Email About Childs Behavior

It’s important to read your child’s teacher’s emails in their entirety so you can confirm that you understand why they are contacting you. The teacher may even provide ideas or suggestions on ways to address the problem in their email, which you may consider. After you have fully read the email and understand the teacher’s reasons, it’s important to take a moment to settle any negative emotions that have come up. It’s crucial that you are in a neutral headspace before firing off a response. If you are really struggling with this, some parents find it helpful to have someone else read over their response before sending it. This helps to ensure that your email is well written and does not portray defensiveness. 

Your intentions when responding to the teacher’s email are to acknowledge that you’ve received the email, express understanding of the email, and work to identify the next steps. It’s not to justify your child’s behavior, make excuses for the presenting problem, or to tell the teacher why they’re wrong or how they should handle this conflict. Remember – you and your child’s teacher are on the same team. You both have a goal of your child learning in the classroom, and you must work together to achieve that goal. 

3 Examples of Appropriate Email Responses to a Teacher’s Email

Example #1:

“Thank you for this email. I understand how my son’s excessive talking and goofing off in the classroom is making it hard for him to grasp the material, as well as distracting for other students. My husband and I will have a discussion with him this evening about this. Please keep me updated regarding his classroom behavior.”

Example #2:

“I appreciate your email. I am concerned about my daughter’s bullying behavior in the classroom. I will have a chat with her this evening to discuss this further. Is it possible to schedule a meeting with the school counselor? I understand the significance of this behavior, and want to ensure it is adequately addressed to avoid additional conflicts.”

Example #3:

“Thank you for reaching out. I have noticed that my son’s grades are slipping in a few classes, and it makes sense now that I know he is missing assignments. What is your policy about missing assignments? Is it possible to complete missing assignments for partial credit? His education is very important to me, and I want to work together to ensure he gets back on track. Please let me know the best way to proceed.”

What To Do After Responding

After responding to the teacher’s email, it’s useful to check-in with your child. I encourage parents to be open and honest with their child by saying that their teacher messaged them with their concerns, and share what those concerns are. Do not ask your child if they are doing what the teacher says they’re doing – children will often fib to get out of trouble or to avoid tough conversations. Although you are attempting to understand your child’s behavior, simply asking them if it is true or not is not effective. This also creates more frustration for parents when their children lie about their behaviors or challenges. Remember, you want to address the problem, while also looking to build your child’s confidence and deescalate the situation.

After openly sharing the teacher’s concerns with your child, utilize open ended questions to gather information. You may consider asking them to tell you more about what is going on, ask how they think they should solve this problem (children often have really great ideas, and this creates buy-in on their end), and ask how you can support them as they work to overcome this challenge. 

Once you have responded to the teacher’s email and checked-in with your child, it’s important to monitor your child’s behavior to see if you have addressed it adequately. If the problem improves, it’s likely that you do not have to do anything else at this point. If the problem continues, you may consider addressing it further, such as meeting with the school, pulling in professionals (tutors, mental health counselors, coaches, etc.), conducting additional research, or routinely checking-in with your child and/or their teacher. 

Final Thoughts

It’s important that parents acknowledge and work through challenging emotions that may arise when receiving an email from a teacher to ensure they’re able to respond effectively. Once a parent is well-regulated, they are able to respond to the email to acknowledge they have received it, validate the teacher’s concerns, and identify ways to appropriately address the problem. If you are struggling to respond, you may reference the examples above and edit to suit your needs. 

Remember – everyone involved has the same goal: Ensuring your child receives a proper education. 

If you need additional help, a child or teen therapist can help address these problems and more.