This wikiHow teaches you how to email a teacher or professor to let them know that you won’t be able to attend class during a specific day or group of days. While you shouldn’t normally have to email teachers in high school or earlier, some circumstances may require you to reach out over email, and email is the preferred contact method for many professors in college.
Sample Email and Subject Lines
Check the class syllabus for emailing instructions.
In some high school classes (and many college classes), the teacher or professor will have listed in the syllabus specific instructions regarding proper emailing procedure. If so, make sure you follow their guidelines even if they conflict with the information in this article.
- Teachers and professors include specific emailing instructions for two main reasons: personal preference and institution rules. Either way, it’s best to follow the syllabus as closely as possible.
Find the teacher’s email address.
You’ll usually find this in the syllabus, but if you don’t have access to the syllabus or your teacher didn’t list their email address in it, you may have to look on the school’s website or check with a fellow student.
- In the unlikely event that your teacher has a no-email policy, do not email them; instead, tell a friend to pass along a written note for you. You may also call the school office to report your absence ahead of time.
Determine your excuse.
Knowing the specific reason that you’re missing a class or a trip is important since it’s your job to convince the teacher that it’s a good enough reason to miss.
- Common excuses include sickness, appointments, emergencies, lack of available transportation, and sport events.
- If you have to make up an excuse, choose something non-permanent (e.g., sickness or a vehicle malfunction) rather than a more serious incident (e.g., a family emergency). The fewer people affected by your excuse, the harder it will be for someone to prove it wrong.
Find any assignments to send if necessary.
If you’re missing class on a day on which you’re supposed to submit or present an assignment, you can upload it to the email if it’s a digital document.
- If you only have a hard copy, you’ll either need to turn in early the assignment or explain to the teacher your plan for submission.
Make sure that you email the teacher ahead of time.
There isn’t much point in emailing your teacher or professor after you miss class, and doing so can cause them to assume you overslept or missed for a similarly irresponsible reason. Even if you’re sick or you’ve encountered an emergency, you should email your instructor as soon as you know you won’t be in class.
Understand that your teacher may request proof.
Especially if you’re sick or you miss several days due to appointments, your teacher may request a doctor’s note or confirmation from a parent. If you’re missing a presentation day or a final—or if you’re missing several days in a row—you might want to mention in your email that you can produce a note or an excuse from a parent or a relevant third party.
Open your email inbox.
Go to the email service you use to email within your school, then sign in with your email address and password.
- Many schools use Gmail for their email service.
This option is either on the left-hand side of the email inbox or at the top of the email inbox.
Enter the teacher’s or professor’s email address.
Click the “To” text field, then type in the teacher’s email address. This will usually be the an email account that belongs to the school.
- If you have the teacher’s personal email address, do not use it unless the teacher has specifically requested that you use it instead of their work email.
Create the subject.
Click the “Subject” text box, then type in a brief subject such as “Class today” or “Class attendance”.
- If you’re emailing a high school teacher, consider putting the period number of your class in the subject as well.
- You might also want to include the date if you’re missing a class that has a large number of people in it.
Address the teacher.
In the first line of the email, type in “Dear” followed by the teacher’s preferred pronoun and last name, then type a comma.
- Avoid using the teacher’s first name unless you’re emailing a college professor with whom you’re on a first-name basis.
- If you’re emailing a professor, do not use a pronoun; instead, type “Professor [Name]” (e.g., “Dear Professor Smith”).
This will place a one-line space between your greeting and the rest of the email.
State that you’re going to miss class.
The first line in your email address should let the teacher know that you won’t be in class on a specific date or range of dates.
- For example, you might write: “I am emailing you to let you know that I will not be in class on Monday, December 17th.”
- It’s unnecessary to apologize for your absence here, though you can add an apology (e.g., “I’m sorry in advance, but…”) if you like.
Explain briefly your excuse.
While your teacher or professor doesn’t need a full break-down of your circumstances, you should state the reason you’ll be gone in a few words.
- For example, if you have a doctor’s appointment, you might write the following: “I have a doctor’s appointment at 1:00, so I will be gone from 5th period on.”
Explain that you’ll upload any assignments that are due.
If you’re missing a due date for assignments, tell the teacher or professor how you’ll get the assignments to them on time.
- For example, if you’re able to upload the assignment(s) to the email, say something like this: “I recognize that my paper is due on Monday, so I’ll include it in this email.”
- You can even tie your excuse into your statement that you’ll miss class by saying something like the following: “I am emailing you to let you know that, due to a doctor’s appointment, I will not be in class on Monday, December 17th.”
- If you’re going to be in class between sending the email and the day you have to miss, tell the teacher that you’ll turn in the assignment early: “I recognize that we have a paper due on Monday, so I’ll turn it in on Friday instead.”
Add a signature.
Finish the email by pressing
twice to create a one-line space, typing in a closing statement such as “Thank You”, and entering your full (first and last) name below the closing statement.
- It’s best to use formal closing statements such as “Thank You”, “Sincerely”, or “Regards” rather than more informal ones like “Best” or “Thanks”.
Upload any assignments you need to turn in.
You can add assignments to your email by doing the following:
- Click the paperclip icon in your email’s window.
- Select your computer as the document’s location if necessary.
- Click a file (or hold down
while clicking each file you want to upload).
to upload the files.
Proofread the email.
Look over the email to make sure you didn’t forget any spaces, capital letters, or punctuation, and look for spelling mistakes.
Send the email.
button to do so.
- Make sure you’re monitoring your inbox for replies, as your teacher may get back to you with instructions or follow-up questions.
Add New Question
What should I put as the subject?
I would suggest something like “Expected Absence” or “Anticipated Absence” because it will allow them to gauge from the subject of the e-mail that it is important and you are attempting to be respectful by alerting them in advance.
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Keep your tone polite and formal in your email. Using things like slang, comfortable language, or spelling mistakes can detract from the credibility of your email.
Emailing your teacher or professor doesn’t automatically exclude you from punitive measures. Even if you’re missing class for a valid emergency, you may have to redo an assignment or retake an entire course if you’re missing an important day.
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