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How to Connect to Your Online School Teachers

Interacting with teachers online during a virtual school day can be difficult, depending on the teacher, the classes they teach and their level of tech savviness. Teachers are working different hours than usual and might each have different expectations for how and when students can get in touch with them. It can be intimidating to communicate with your teacher completely behind the screen, but don’t let that deter you from putting in the work to reach out. You’ll want to build relationships with your online high school teachers and lay the groundwork for possible letters of recommendation for when you apply to college. Being attentive and respectful can pay off in the long run. If you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our tips below to help guide you in connecting with your online school teachers.


How to introduce yourself over email:

Send each of your teachers an email at the start of the school year introducing yourself and expressing interest in their class. If you have any questions about the course materials or need accommodations, now is a good time to ask. Make sure to write professionally, include a clear and concise subject line, text body and ending signature, and avoid emoji’s or text slang.

How to ask questions that come up in class:

Teachers may not be able to answer every students’ questions during class. Write down questions as they come to you. If a question of yours gets answered, cross it out. After class, write your questions in email to your teacher. Emailing your questions early in the day will give your teacher more time to respond. Remember, teachers are busy managing online classes and may not get back to you right away.

How to ask about feedback from projects or assignments:

If you have questions about the feedback a teacher gave you on an essay, class presentation or other assignment, send them an email asking for more information or for guidance on how you can improve for the next project. Understand that answering student’s questions from daily lectures might be first priority for a teacher, so be patient with this particular query.

How to ask for homework help (or study resources):

Online courses may not offer study halls or homework centers that you can go to for help with homework. It’s likely your teacher won’t have time to sit down with you to go over your homework questions. However, they may have access to virtual study resources/tutoring services that can help. It can’t hurt to send a message and see what they say.

How to set up a virtual office hour appointment:

Teachers may offer video conferencing during times they are not teaching as “virtual office hours.” During this time, you and your teacher can discuss questions and assignments while speaking face to face. Your teacher may use a calendar app to schedule virtual office hours. If not, send them an email requesting a time to talk virtually.

When contacting a teacher, remember to use their preferred method of communication. Some schools may invest in messaging apps to connect students to teachers while others may rely on student email. Some teachers may choose to use one or the other depending on their own tech skills. Be patient with your teachers. Don’t bug them on their cell phone or send them a text unless they explicitly state that you can.

Remember that teachers are not always on the clock. If you’re working on homework late at night, your teachers will likely not be around to answer questions. Being responsible and asking questions promptly will benefit both you and your teachers. When you can’t get in touch with your teacher, reach out to your classmates. They’re in the same boat as you and might have the answers to your questions or be able to help you with homework. You may even want to get some classmates together and form a study group.


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Last Reviewed: October 2021