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Email etiquette with writing to teachers

(23 Posts)
dragonknight99 Wed 23-Mar-16 10:27:43

Do you ever email your DCs class teacher direct? If so, how do you address them, and how do they address you?

If I write an email to DCs class teachers, I always write "Dear Mrs X" or "Dear Mr Y". It all seems quite formal I suppose, but the teachers never refer to each other by first name in front of parents, so I assume that they don't want us to either. Letters and emails from school are signed "Mrs X / Mr Y", and nearly every teacher writes or speaks to me as 'Mrs Knight'.

Apart from one, who writes 'Hello my first name' or sometimes 'Hi my first name'. Then she signs off 'yours sincerely, Mrs P'. I always address her as 'Mrs P' if I write back.

It is a silly thing to worry about really, but what is the etiquette here? Do teachers usually address parents by their first name? If she signs off 'Mrs P' then it seems wrong for me to write 'Hi her first name' back. But the fact that she uses my first name but only her surname makes me feel as if she's treating me like one of the children. Perhaps she is! grin

Maybe I'll just stick to face to face communication wink or stop worrying about tiny things

SoupDragon Wed 23-Mar-16 10:32:57

I use Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/Dr as listed in the staff contacts (secondary school).

It feels wrong to use a first name somehow - a hangover from my own school days perhaps smile

One particular teacher always starts his reply to me "Hi Soup (if I may)," and continues with flowery language. It still feels wrong to use his first name although I force myself to do so as this is how he has signed off!

Tariqa Wed 23-Mar-16 10:36:21

The issue might be that they've got caught out in the past with presuming that Peter Rabbit's parents are Mr and Mrs Rabbit.

All manner of permutations of families could be there's

Mr Rabbit and Miss GuineaPig

Mr Fox and Miss Rabbit

Or even a daring adoption

Mr and Mrs Pike kindly raising P. Rabbit

Using 'Dear Jemima' is a bit familiar, but safe from causing wider offence.

loosechange Wed 23-Mar-16 10:38:43

I use Mr/Mrs/Ms etc. I sign it by my first name, often with surname in brackets. I part for me it acknowledges the formality of the relationship, as the email is about my child, and counters the direct email.

When I was on the PFA if I emailed about PFA as I recall I tended to use first names.

derektheladyhamster Wed 23-Mar-16 10:42:39

I use Mr & Mrs etc but sign off with my first name. I then take my lead from their reply. Most teachers use their first name in a reply.

I also email parents in a pastoral role and I use the same template.

Keeptrudging Wed 23-Mar-16 10:48:12

I always use title/surname when writing to parents/signing off. I wouldn't call them by their first name, and have never been addressed by my first name by a parent. I do sign off with best regards/best wishes to be less formal.

dragonknight99 Wed 23-Mar-16 10:50:10

Tariqa grin love the analogy!

Glad I'm not the only one who wonders about these things. To me it does feel a bit wrong to write 'Dear first name' to a teacher. Like soup says, hangover from my school days! but also not quite right when I'm writing to someone in his / her professional capcity. But for a teacher to use my first name and her title / surname seems a bit wrong as well. Of course if I ever said that, school would think I was mad grin.

wasninah Wed 23-Mar-16 10:51:02

I call parents Mr/Mrs/Ms - although some are with me for years (mixed classes, siblings) and I am happy, personally, to substitute first names when it seems appropriate. Most schools are formal and you can't go wrong with if you at least begin that way.

Looly71 Wed 23-Mar-16 10:52:42

I am a bit more familiar with one of the teachers as her DC2 are in the same class as mine so we have socialised at children's parties/days outs etc.
With the others it would always be Mr or Mrs and then I sign off with my full name.

wasninah Wed 23-Mar-16 10:54:10

One of my closest friends started off as ds's R teacher. She used to get quite annoyed if we were out for coffee and I called her Mrs! hard habit to break

TeenAndTween Wed 23-Mar-16 10:57:11

I always use Mr/Mrs/Miss and expect teacher to do the same back. To me it is about formalities of positions, respect, and I'm just old fashioned I think.

That said, I'm on the PTA. HT came to a meeting and said we should use first names there. But I just can't ...

MidniteScribbler Wed 23-Mar-16 11:50:55

If I'm initiating the email to the parent, I always use "Mr/Mrs/Ms/whatever they have on our records. If a parent emails me and signs off "Sally" then I'll use that in the reply. If they sign off "Sally Smith" then I'll respond to "Mrs/Ms/Dr/whatever Smith".

I honestly couldn't care less if parents address me by my first name or Ms Scribbler.

DessertOrDesert Wed 23-Mar-16 11:57:52

I send to Mrs =

DessertOrDesert Wed 23-Mar-16 11:59:04

No, I don't. I have fat fingers.
I send to Mrs Z, and sign Dessert.
She replys to Mrs Desert, and signs A.

catkind Wed 23-Mar-16 18:52:57

It's a weird one for sure. Schools are kind of stuck in the last century when it comes to titles, but I don't feel comfortable joining them there! Everyone refers to everyone by first names at work, however senior, including formal meetings and job interviews and such. The only other people I can think of who use surnames is doctors.

I never sign myself off as Ms/Dr, it feels completely wrong and over-formal.

For school I'd usually address the teacher as Mrs X and sign off with Cat Kind (Small Fry's mum) to cover all bases. I feel slightly guilty about having a different name, teachers have more than enough names to remember. Previous school's office were punctilious about addressing any reply to Dr Kind, I must have put that on some form at some point. Current school have never replied to email.

When I volunteer in school they do call me Ms Kind though. I'm never quite convinced it refers to me and I'm not sure the teacher is either, it's always slightly mumbled - I think I'm probably still "Small's mum" in her head smile

trinity0097 Wed 23-Mar-16 18:55:19

The first time I email a parent I use Mr/Mrs whatever, but I sign off first name last name. I generally then in replies use first name only if that is what they sign off with and then I do the same.

One Mum hates to be called Mrs X as she says it makes her think I am addressing her MIL!

GeorgeTheThird Wed 23-Mar-16 18:56:00

I always email dear Mrs Smith or whatever. Even if they reply using my Christian name I stick with it, it just seems wrong somehow to use theirs in reply. (Plainly a hangover from school, you'd think I'd have got over it by now!)

trinity0097 Wed 23-Mar-16 18:56:03

To be honest though as long as you are polite and don't expect a reply instantly or us to move the world for your one PFB we don't mind!

clam Thu 24-Mar-16 18:10:21

My school does not allow direct emails from parents to staff. They would have to go via Office Admin, who would forward it to the class teacher concerned.

kippersyllabub Thu 24-Mar-16 19:48:06

Oh I'm so glad other people agonise about this. My natural inclination is to address things to Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr Bloggs. But then I was at uni with one of them and I call her by her first name as to do otherwise seems odd. And I call my Ds's housemaster by his first name but not other boarding staff. All the teachers at my other dc's schools are called by their formal titles.

madamginger Thu 24-Mar-16 19:59:42

If I'm talking to them as a parent I call them miss/Mrs/mr, if I'm talking to them as a PTA member then I call them by their first name. To me it's a professional thing and it distinguishes when talking to them my role as a parent or as a volunteer. Personally I hate being called Mrs gingermadam and prefer if they address me by my forename

Ambroxide Sat 26-Mar-16 17:00:20

Depends on the teacher. I call DD's current teacher Anne (not real name, obv) but she had a teacher in Y2 who was v definitely Miss White. Others have been more of a grey area and probably wouldn't have minded much either way, though obviously the ones who have gone on to become friends are now Beth and Cathy.

antiqueroadhoe Sat 26-Mar-16 17:05:07

I email to parents Dear Ms .... and sign off with my first name

They often respond using my first name and their own first name, but I never use their first names.

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