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Classroom Communications

General Guidelines & Tips for Professional Emails

To ensure a professional and courteous tone, it's important to keep a few general rules in mind when crafting your emails. Keep in mind that everyone has their own unique writing style, but by following these guidelines, you can make sure your message is clear and well-received.

Start by creating a professional email address
  • Avoid cutesy or risqué. It would seem like common sense, but you would be surprised by what instructors & supervisors see.
  • Choose simple and straightforward. Use variations of your first, middle, and last name. (ie. 
  • When emailing your instructor use your student email (ex.
Be aware of your mood
  • Your mood can impact your tone. Take a breath and think about what you want to say before writing your email.
  • Never use all caps. It is considered unprofessional & offensive. 
Email vs Texting
  • Email is different from text messages. Skip the abbreviations, slang and emoticons. Emails should be written in a polite, professional and formal manner.


Emailing your Instructor

Despite having a large number of students, instructors still want to connect and interact with you. To improve your communication with them, here are a few tips.

  • Refer to your course outline & syllabus as they might already have the answer you are seeking.
  • Use discussion threads on Teams to get answers to course-related questions.

Subject line
  • Be clear about your subject. The subject line should clearly let your instructor know the purpose of your message. Often messages aren't opened when there is no subject or it looks like spam. 
Email body
  • Greet your instructor in a formal manner. It is best to address your instructor using their preferred greeting, in case you are not sure about their preference, use their formal name. When you get a reply from your instructor, they will likely include their preferred name for you to use in future.
  • Be short and to the point. State your problem, politely ask the relevant question and be patient for the reply.
  • Keep your tone professional. Think carefully about your words and how someone else might read them. Avoid negativity, sarcasm or being overly emotional. Be careful with humor as it can be misinterpreted.
  • Allow time for them to respond. If a professor has not responded, check their email policy before following up. If they do not respond within the time outlined in their policy, forward the email again with a polite follow-up message.

  • Keep it brief (ie. Kind regards or Thank you)
  • Use your full name, student ID. and course name. 

Proofread before sending. 

This tends to be a step that many people skip. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It is best to use Times New Roman or Calibri style with a 12-point font. Make sure your message is clear, and there isn't anything that could cause an unnecessary miscommunication.

Example of What Not to Do

Picture example, How not to write and email

Example of What to Do

Picture example, how to write an email