Parents, teachers, therapists, you’ll like this one because a lot of students FAIL right at the END of a semester, and there is a lot we can do to help support them if we know HOW to be proactive. Here I break down HOW to email teachers at the end of a semester if you are trying to support a struggling student. I share one of my actual templates and tell about the nuances that matter.
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Transcript: Click here to download the video transcript PDF.
Hey, what’s up? It’s me, Seth Perler. So parents, teachers, maybe therapists are gonna like this one. In this video I’m going to talk to you about when it’s the end of the semester and you want to help make sure that your child who struggles with executive function passes the semester, what do you email teachers? So I go through this a lot with my families that I work with every single semester. Here is a template that I was using with families this particular semester, at the end of this semester. You teachers may want to know what I share in this email, because it can help you to be more productive in your classroom and support kids who are struggling with this stuff. And parents, you can obviously use this as you will. So go ahead and take the ideas that you like, you can hit pause on this and jot down whatever you want, use what you like, don’t use what you don’t like. So, and therapists, you’ll definitely know how I approach this as a coach.
So again, the problem is, it’s the end of the semester, at the end of the semester. You can look at my other work, I have lots of freebies on my site, SethPerler.com, but you can look at my other work to figure out what PEPR is, P E P R. But basically, at the end of the semester, here’s what happens. Kids who struggle with executive function are going to tell you parents, “Leave me alone, get off my back, I’ve got this, you know, um, my grades are going up. You know, I’m getting caught up,” but they’re always getting caught up. So the actual executive function skills and habits that are needed to be successful are not there. Like they’re always playing catch up. So the skills or the foundation is not there. So now at the end of the semester, regardless of where the skills are, we still you know, we want our kids to pass their classes and get as much out of their education as they can. So the problem is parents, the problem is this. You the parents are often unclear about what the heck needs to happen. So you ask your kid, “What’s going on in school? How’s it going? Do you have any makeup work? Do you have any incompletely work? Zeroes? Do you have anything to redo? Do you have any test corrections to do?” “I’m fine, leave me alone. I’ve got this,” you know, and you’re trying to be helpful, but you’re trying to figure out what’s going on. Then maybe you go and you look at the portals, you go look at the teacher sites, you’re trying to figure out what the heck is coming up, how can we make sure? You might email or call teachers, just try or ask other parents and try to figure out what the heck is going on.
The problem again, parents is clarity. You’re unclear about what the heck needs to happen. And you’ve seen the pattern over and over. So you have this feeling in the pit of your stomach, “Oh my gosh, is my kid forgetting something big? Are they going to fail a class last minute and we didn’t know. We could have done something differently had we known.” So this email template will help you know exactly what to ask, again, use it or not, I don’t really care use what you like, Okay. End of semester. What’s the purpose? Parents do this to see how their child is doing at the end of the semester when things can fall apart fast, and when students who seem to be passing and failing. How the heck does that happen? The subject, I would probably put in ‘urgent’ and then your child’s name. So that’s the subject. Why would I do that? Teachers get a lot of email. Respect that teachers get a lot of emails, you want to stand out in that inbox though, and you want them to reply, but they’re getting a lot of it. So you have to stand out somehow. So that’s what I recommend, just pop that word urgent and your kid’s name so that they know. And then you can send it either to the entire team of teachers, you can CC the principal or the counselor, or you can just send it to one teacher. If they tend to be a supportive teacher, send it to one teacher. If it’s a teacher that your kid doesn’t resonate with, and they really haven’t, they really don’t seem to get your kid and does not feel like a very supportive teacher, then probably just CC it to everybody so that there’s some sort of a paper trail, and there’s pressure on them to give you a reasonable response that actually answers your question. So basically, you’re going to start out with that, “Hey, teachers, what’s up. First of all,” and always start positive, “First of all, thanks for your support my child, we appreciate you. Next, we don’t want to bug you.” So that just shows that you understand that they’re busy. You can word it however you want, if you like that part of it, but “We need some quick answers about the end of the semester so we can be supportive.” So you’re telling them why, you’re not attacking them. Teachers get a lot of pressure, they get a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of “My kid said this,” and it may or may not be true, what the kid is saying or it may not be the whole truth. Teachers can get a lot of pressure from parents that don’t understand what their intentions are with expectations or things like that. So always assume positive intent with teachers, they’re working their butts off to help our kids you know, so. As you’re explaining to them, you’re not attacking them. You’re saying “Hey, we want to be supportive to our kid. We don’t want to get blindsided because we’re not always clear, like I said, on what’s going on.”
Here are some questions you might want to ask: 1) How’s my kiddo doing in your class? Open-ended. 2) Any missing, or late work, or anything? Any finals? (This what I call PEPR, P E P R.) Final exams, papers, projects or readings coming up that you need to know about at the end of the semester, because these are the big long term things that kids do at the last minute, the night before, that they should have been working on and you’re like, “Why didn’t you tell me that two weeks ago when you found out about it?” And they’re like, “I don’t know.” So you want to ask about that stuff so that you’re not blindsided. Is there any big things coming up? And if so, where exactly can we find the study guide, or the rubric, or the due dates, or whatever you need? And then 3) Is there anything else that you might want to know?
This is just one way to do it, you can ask these things. Now I want to talk specifically about just sort of getting further on with, are there any of these things or these things? So some other things you may want to be asking teachers is this. Here’s the problem parents. Teachers post their expectations, they all have different expectations. They all grade differently. They all have different syllabi and different things that they’re teaching and different things that they weight differently. You know, one teacher may really put a lot of emphasis on essays, another one on doing homework, another one on tests. So what you may want to do is you may want to say, “Hey, by the way, another question I have is, when do you update your gradebook? When do you update the assignments? Where can I find them, specifically? Where am I supposed to look?” Basically what you want to know, let me make these an easier question for your parents. What you want to know is, “Where do you post important stuff? And when do you post important stuff?” So that you, the parent, and your kid, don’t have to be randomly trying to check all the time, so that you know exactly when and where to go look for the information that you need. Because again, parents are not clear what’s due, when’s it due, how long should it take? What do I do if my kid is stuck? You know, all these sorts of things. So you might want to ask a question like that. “When do you post this stuff? What do you post in? And where do you post it?” so that you can know.
Then finally, what I recommend ending your email with is something similar to this, you know, tell the teacher “Hey, we don’t need a long email.” Okay. Teachers have a lot of emails. They’ve got grading to do, they’ve got planning to do, they’ve got working with the kids to do, they’ve got… teachers take their work with home with them all the time, like respect that. Give them the, you know, be like, “Hey, we don’t need you to write us a book. So just give us a quick something so that we know.” So that’s why I put this sentence there. So, “We don’t need long email. But please send a super quick reply to point us in the right direction when you get a minute. Thanks for all you do,” and then your names. Now I put a P.S. in here for a very specific reason. “We know you’re busy. So if we don’t hear back from you, we’ll resend this tomorrow so it’s on your radar,” I’m going I’m use the words ‘so,’. Notice I use quick reply to point us in the right direction, like that’s the ‘so’ right? You’re giving them the reasons you’re doing things so that they know they’re not being attacked, but you’re saying, “Look, you’re busy. But we need something, and if we don’t hear from you, we’re gonna resend this.”
Why do I say that? Because I’ve had so many parents and students, email teachers and wait for reply and wait for reply and wait for a reply. And this is you know, you need answers. And a lot of times teachers again, they’re bogged down with so much that it’s hard for them to reply. But if you tell them, “Hey, send us a quick thing. And if we don’t hear from you, we’ll send you a reminder, a friendly reminder, hey, get back to us. And if we don’t hear from you, we’ll send it again the next day.” Then you can start CCing other people if you’re really not getting anything so that you can be like, “Hey team, hey, if anybody sees this teacher, let them know that we sent this because we really need to know as soon as possible.”
Anyhow, my name is Seth Perler, I’m executive function coach. There’s tons of free content on my site, my YouTube. If you like this, I put a lot of work into giving you excellent resources, real practical stuff. Give me a thumbs up, give me like, leave a comment. At the end of the semester, what do you do to get clarity about what’s going on? You have any tips for us? How do you get it from your kid, from the teachers? If you’re teacher, how do you give clarity? Go ahead and put it in the comments. Check out SethPerler.com, and I have ExecutiveFunctionSummit.com, a summit that I do every year for parents and just lots of great resources and stuff. I really appreciate you supporting my work any way you can. Leave a comment, thumbs up, like, subscribe, etc. Have a fantastic day. Most of all, my wish and my hope for you, number one is that you have real present connection with your kiddo today. And number two, it’s that you have peace in your heart and joy in your life today. Have a great day. Take care see you later.