Whether you have children in school or are a student yourself, it is necessary to communicate with the teacher. Writing a letter is an essential way to communicate issues, problems, thank yous and suggestions with the teacher. It might help you get some thoughts and feelings across more clearly than by speaking in person or on the telephone. Plus, keeping a copy will allow you to have a record of it, which is always beneficial when handling serious matters. The letter should be typed and mailed to the school. However, if you are close with the teacher, then an email can be appropriate.

Discussing a Problem or Concern

Type your letter. Write your name, address and phone number on the left side. Skip two lines and add the date. Skip two more lines and add the name of the teacher and the school name and address. If you're writing to a principal, his name would take place of the teacher. Skip two more lines and add the greeting such as "Dear" with the teacher's (or principal's) name.

Inform the teacher who you are and state your status in the class, if you are a student, in the first paragraph. If you are a parent, include your child's full name and class information.

Explain the situation briefly and clearly in the second paragraph. Include all concerns you may have as well as any facts to back up your claims. Make sure in this section to get to the point so the teacher understands your feelings and there is no confusion.

Add what you want to happen or what you would like to see changed in the third paragraph. If something was already done and has not worked, mention that and state another method that might be more successful. You also can include what you want to avoid. Make sure the paragraph is clearly written.

Add the response you would like from the teacher in the fourth paragraph, such as a meeting or a phone call. If a return letter is preferred, state that as well. In the last paragraph, give your contact information and a response date if desired. Be polite and include you are looking forward to hearing from her and close with "Thank you for your attention to this matter."

End the letter with "Sincerely" and your name. If you want to send a copy to the principal or to another school staff member, skip two lines and write "cc:", followed by the names of those who will receive the letter. It is professional to send a copy of a letter to those involved with the issue as well so that everyone who needs to be is aware of the matter.

Follow-Up Letter

Write a follow-up letter if you haven't received a response in more than two weeks or so. Make sure to give enough time for the teacher to respond. In some cases it could be a week but in others it can be more. It also depends on the importance of the matter. Include a copy of your original letter as well.

Write the letter in the same format as the original. Briefly explain when and how you first made contact and all the times you followed up on the issue. Mention that since you had not heard from anyone that you thought it would be best to write again.

State your issue and concern briefly in the second paragraph and let the recipient know you have enclosed the original letter. In the last paragraph, provide a date or amount of time you would like to hear back, followed by a thank you. Close with "Sincerely" and your name.

Thank You Letter

Send a thank you letter to the teacher to express your appreciation. Whether she has helped you a great deal during a difficult time, gave extra time teaching you or your child, or the school year is ending, it is a nice gesture on your part to show gratitude.

Type your letter. Write your name, address and phone number on the left side. Skip two lines and add the date. Skip two more lines and add the name of the teacher and the school name and address. Explain in the body why you are thankful, stating specific examples, and end with "Thank you." Add your name and signature.

Send a card if you want to express thanks in a more casual way. This is appropriate when sharing your appreciation and gratitude, especially around the holidays.