Like many of us, teachers are eager to know that their hard work makes a difference in the lives of their students. Whether you are a student or a parent, writing a thank you letter to a teacher is easily accomplished and greatly appreciated. It only takes a few minutes to complete, but the encouragement can last a lifetime.
Choose the stationery on which you will compose your thank you letter. The paper can be simple, elegant, or even decorative paper from a craft or stationery store to add a personal touch. A teacher will undoubtedly appreciate this attention to detail.
Address your letter using an appropriate greeting such as "Dear Mr. Smith" or "Dear Ms. Jones."
Compose the body of your thank-you letter. Be specific about the ways in which your teacher has assisted and influenced you. (Or, if you are a parent, write about the ways in which the teacher has assisted and influenced your student.) Sharing your personal experience lets the teacher know how they have truly helped you and allows them to know what strengths they can share with future students.
Avoid general statements like, "You have been a nice teacher." According to Dr. Robyn Silverman, it is much more effective to share a specific anecdote such as, "Because you set aside extra time to help me, reading has become much easier, and I have improved in all of my classes!" (If you are a parent, an example might be "Samantha has benefited so much from your reading instruction that she has now read every book on her shelf. We will have to take a trip to the library!")
Restate briefly your appreciation for your teacher as the conclusion of your thank-you letter. An example might be: "Thank you again for all the time and effort you have dedicated to helping me (or "my child" if you're a parent). The skills you have taught will last a lifetime."
End with a closing line, also known as a valediction. Some choices include "Gratefully," "Sincerely," "Kind Regards," "Warm Regards" or "Yours Truly." After your valediction, sign your name. (If you are a parent, perhaps your student would like to sign as well.)
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- Handwrite your thank-you letter. Though it may seem more convenient to send an email, a handwritten letter is especially personal and can be displayed, cherished and easily revisited by your favorite teacher for years to come.
- Proofread your letter, but certainly do not be intimidated to write to a teacher. The recipient will be much more focused on the sentiment than the way it is expressed.
- "Technical Communication: A Reader-Centered Approach"; Paul V. Anderson; 2010
- Dr. Robyn Silverman: How to Write a Thank-You Note to Teachers
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images