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Edit twice, Send once: Teaching Email Etiquette to Students

Updated: Feb 17



Unfortunately, most students have never been formally taught how to proper format or write an email. This often leads to teachers receiving some questionable e-mails.


All teachers can agree, 2020 has been a challenging year in education. The global pandemic has presented a lot of new issues that teachers have never had to deal with before. Masks, social distancing, and constant handwashing and disinfecting have become the norm. The struggles of being a teacher in a global pandemic are not limited to those in the classroom. Distance learning, also known as e-learning or blended learning has its own set of challenges too.


Many distance learning environments have a brief daily synchronous component, followed by an asynchronous or homework component. This means that students only have a few hours each day to communicate with their teacher. The convenience of being able to raise your hand to ask a question, or to line up at the teacher’s desk to get feedback on an assignment, is no longer available for many students in a distance learning environment.


So, how are students communicating with their teacher?


Other than the synchronous component (which is usually only for a couple of hours at most), students communicate with their teacher and peers through e-mail or a class website.





Writing appropriate emails is incredibly important, especially for teens are who are preparing to enter the workforce or summer employment. Students need to learn how to properly communicate with employers, teachers, and other professionals.


There are many reasons why proper and formal email communication is important:

  • To submit a resume and cover letter to an employer

  • To submit an assignment online to your teacher

  • To ask your teacher a question about the grading for one of your assignments

  • To contact a college or university about the status of an application

Oftentimes, students write questionable e-mails without realizing their mistakes.

Fortunately, educators have the power to teach these important skills to 21st-century learners. The importance of professional e-mail and online communication is only going to grow as e-learning becomes more prevalent and an increasing number of employers are providing work from home opportunities.


Some of the key areas of focus in an e-mail etiquette lesson include:

  1. Creating a professional e-mail address. For example, d.smith@sample.com instead of fortniteking42@sample.com

  2. Writing clear yet concise subject lines.

  3. How to write salutations at the beginning and end of e-mails.

  4. Fonts/colours that should be used.

  5. Other writing tips (tone, proofreading, attaching files, and professionalism).

If you’re looking for a way to teach all these skills and more, please check out our Email Etiquette resource. It is a fully digital activity- perfect for distance learning but also appropriate in a classroom. Best wishes to everyone for this crazy school year!

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