Ever been in a position where you needed a response from your teacher? Maybe an assignment you didn’t submit on time so you send the teacher an email with the assignment but got no response.
Or you simply needed an answer to a query but didn’t get the answer you needed. You keep wondering why the teacher hasn’t responded and whether he even received the email at all.
This can be a frustrating situation to be in, knowing full well that a reply from the teacher, whether negative or positive could put you at ease.
This article will shed some light on teachers and their email responses and the reasons behind their actions.
How Often Do Teachers Check Their Email?
With the introduction of real-time notifications, teachers now check their phones when they receive a notification and aren’t occupied.
However, most teachers usually have their professional emails always open in a tab on their laptops and can easily check them as many times as they want to.
Some also categorize emails according to the perceived importance and often check the most important folders as many times as they need to.
Are Teachers Required To Respond To Emails?
No. A response is considered a courtesy but not a requirement. However, most teachers would respond to an email especially if it’s deemed urgent, others would not when they’re off the clock or for some of the reasons listed below.
From students to colleagues, teachers receive a lot of emails daily. Unfortunately, with the demanding schedule of some teachers, they’re unable to answer every query they receive.
Why Do Teachers Ignore Emails?
There are various reasons why a teacher or professor could seem to be ignoring student emails.
Teachers are working professionals who may sometimes spend all day moving from class to class to class to teach.
Unfortunately, students expect a response to a query soon after the message has been sent without knowing the teacher’s schedule.
From teaching various classes, going for meetings, having discussions with parents, going through forum discussions, reading through individual assignments for grading, and many more, a teacher’s day is full of activities.
A teacher may have received your email and possibly already read it but other imminent tasks outweigh their immediate response to your query.
Additionally, not all teachers have teaching assistants who can help support them with some of their daily academic tasks.
A typical example, in this case, is when a teacher who has outlined a deadline for an assignment gets sent emails from late submitting students.
Instructions are given to make both the lives of students and teachers easier. It can become annoying when simple and clear instruction isn’t followed.
A typical example is when students are expected to submit an assignment or some other form of academic deliverable with a specified deadline.
Students are then given ample time to meet this deadline and the teacher expects all students to have already made their submissions by that time.
Although some teachers may be flexible enough to respond to and grade any late email submissions, others can be very uncompromising.
Some may simply choose to ignore the student’s email and even the reasons behind their late submissions as punishment.
3. Wrong Sender Email
Some spam filters may have identified an email sent from outside the education institution’s domain as spam.
We all have one or more personal email accounts and most educational institutions these days provide learners with personal emails while they remain enrolled in the institution.
To avoid getting flagged as spam by a spam filter, it is necessary to email your professor using the email address given by your school as opposed to using your Gmail or any other email you own.
4. Message Tone
Another reason why a teacher may ignore your email could be the tone used. Mistakes made could be neglecting to address the teacher formally.
Another one could be attaching a file and simply adding “find assignment 01 attached” when you missed the submission deadline.
This gives him no incentive to consider the assignment you submitted as he’s permitted to refuse a late assignment submission.
An apologetic tone, a reason for the late submission, and an affirmation to not repeat the mistake would lead to the teacher re-evaluating their decision.
5. Forgot To Reply
Sometimes the teacher needs to come up with a good response to your query and so decides to do it at a more appropriate time.
Unfortunately, this can lead to them forgetting the email as they’re overloaded with other emails daily.
6. Overloaded Messages
For a reason or the other, teachers can be overloaded with messages making it difficult for them to answer them all.
Sometimes, a few emails get overlooked and learners are unable to receive the necessary response.
7. Long Email
Imagine closing from a long day only to receive a rather long email from a student. A message that would take quite a bit of time to read and understand won’t be worth the effort in this case.
The teacher would simply choose to ignore this message and opt for script grading or something else.
8. Took Action
Sometimes the response the learner expects isn’t what they get but the teacher responds differently.
Imagine a teacher refusing to grade your assignment as a result of late submission on a learning management system(LMS).
Although you may have sent them multiple emails and expected a direct response, the teacher may have read your message and proceeded to grade you on the learning management system.
9. Off The Clock
Everyone needs their break and so does the teacher. A teacher who is off the clock may simply choose to ignore emails.
10. Tired Of A Discussion
An email argument over a grade a student was given can lead to a rather very long conversation which could lead to the teacher eventually refusing to respond to any further emails from the student.
How Long Should It Take For A Teacher To Respond To An Email?
48 hours within working days is the recommended wait time. Teachers can be busy sometimes and your email may not be at the top of their list or they simply forgot to reply to your query.
You can send a follow-up email after 48 hours of waiting for a response from the teacher.
How To Politely Ask A Professor To Reply Email?
Teachers are also people and have unique personalities. In some cases, a teacher would inform their students to send them a reminder text message when the student has sent an email.
This is useful and helps remind a busy teacher of an email they may or may not have noticed.
In the case where students simply want to send a follow-up on a previous email, there are various ways to politely accomplish this.
Sample Follow-up Message
Dear Professor (surname or full name)
I hope you are well. This is a follow-up message to my earlier email titled [title of the previous email], sent on [date email was sent]. I understand you have a busy schedule, but I would appreciate your response to the [key information in the previous email].
Again, thank you for your time, and have a nice day.
Dealing With Students Who Email Too Much
Good communication between teachers and students is necessary to make the learning process interactive but this becomes annoying when a teacher’s inbox is flooded with emails daily.
This results in an uncomfortable situation that needs to be handled delicately to avoid offending a student.
1. Approach One
The first approach is to send the student an email with the expected response to their query while including that they can find more information on the school forum.
Additionally, they can leverage said forum to have an interactive discussion with classmates and they can all benefit from an exciting topic.
If the institution doesn’t have a forum, the student can simply leverage WhatsApp or any other communication tool to create a group where their mates can discuss these issues.
2. Approach Two
The second approach would be to direct them to a platform (including the link) or resource they can leverage to gain a better understanding of the subject matter.
You’d be guiding them in this case instead of simply spoonfeeding them.
A typical example is when I was learning software development, although I had a good relationship with my lecturer, he’d send me a link to a page whenever I asked for his help to implement something.
He had a lot of responsibility and couldn’t tutor me daily so what he did was arm me with the resources necessary to get the job done.
3. Approach Three
Find out whether this is something most of the class does not understand. Once you have the information you can either send the class a message so they decide on a time for a short lesson on that topic.
A teaching assistant or yourself can then teach the topic or a student who has a concrete understanding of the subject matter can volunteer to tutor the other students for extra credit.
Should Teachers Answer Emails On The Weekend?
This is relative to the individual teacher. While some teachers choose to enjoy their weekends without any distractions from work, others choose to work even on weekends.
Like everyone else, teachers also have their lives and can choose whether to respond to their emails off the clock.
Do Professors Like Long Emails?
No. Professors receive a lot of emails and have little time to read long emails. A long email will be seen as disrespectful most likely ignored by the professor.
Is It Rude To Email A Professor On The Weekend?
No. It’s not rude to email a professor on weekends but it’s unreasonable to expect a reply and can be seen as rude when you send a follow-up email right after.
In this, the professor can choose to either respond to your email or wait till the week begins. This means a follow-up email sent during the same weekend would be unnecessary but one can be sent when the week begins.
Can You Email Professors Over The Summer?
Yes. But you shouldn’t expect a response as most check their emails less since they leverage the break to go traveling, relax, pursuing various hobbies, or even working.
Yes, working. Some teachers spend the break acquiring a certificate or on a summer job.
How To Get A Teacher To Respond To An Email?
Reaching a busy teacher can be quite challenging especially when they receive numerous emails daily.
But what if you need a response to your query. Well, the first is to make sure you’re sending the email to the teacher’s official email address instead of a personal one.
The second step is to ensure that the subject of the email is precise and short.
The third step is to make sure you don’t write a long email as that will deter the teacher from reading more than a sentence.
If you haven’t received a response after 2 working days, you can leverage the format above to send them a follow-up email.
Alternatively, if you haven’t received a response after 2 working days but have the option of going to them directly, you can politely inform them that you sent them an email but they may not have seen it because of their busy schedule.
You can then follow up by asking them whether you should drop a written note instead or simply send a reminder email.