Write a letter to your student, and mail it. What could be simpler?
The why is obvious: we want to develop a relationship with each of the students in our classroom. We want to encourage them, reward them, help them set goals, and dream big dreams. We want to make sure that they have someone who cares about them and wants them to succeed.
The how is not so obvious: what do you write in a letter to a student? Should it be formal or informal? What should you say?
What To Write In A Letter To A Student?
There are a million things you could write in a letter to your student but as a teacher, I would suggest these two:
- Tell them how they have grown. Some students just need to hear that they have grown as a person and that you have seen it. This can be especially important for those students who are struggling.
- Tell them what you see in their future. Tell them what you see in the future for them and why you believe it.
Here are some tips for writing letters to your students:
Make it personal. Make an effort to learn something about every one of your students, and tailor your letters accordingly. This is a great time for class surveys or for getting parents involved. If you send home a survey asking parents and students about their interests, you can use this information throughout the year when writing notes of encouragement, congratulating students on their accomplishments, and even noting special holidays they celebrate.
Think outside the box. There’s no reason that all of your letters need to follow the same format; go ahead and mix it up! Draw pictures on the back of postcards, fold your letters into origami shapes or enclose them in colorful envelopes. One teacher I know even
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Example #1: Letter to a student about poor performance
Dear Student’s Name,
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter to you. I have enjoyed having you in my class this year. You are a bright student with a great sense of humor. However, I am disappointed in your performance in my class. Your grades are poor, and you do not seem to be trying very hard.
I have spoken with you about your poor performance several times, and nothing seems to change. Your progress report was sent home last week, and it shows that you are failing four classes. If you continue at this rate, you will fail all of your classes for the semester and not be able to pass to the next grade level.
I would like to help you turn things around before it is too late. Are there any problems that I should know about? Is there anything I can do to get through to you? Please make an appointment with me so we can sit down and talk about your future at this school.
Example #2: Letter to a student about excellent performance
This letter is to acknowledge your hard work and dedication to your studies. You have always been a diligent student and I am very proud of you for maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Your commitment to your education is truly inspiring. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors and I am confident that with your hard work, you will achieve great things.
Example #3: Letter to my dear students – A letter to remember.
Above all else, I want you to know that I’m on your side. Not in a ‘me against the world’ kind of way, but because I believe in you. I believe in your dreams and goals. I believe in your potential and abilities. And most of all, I believe that you can — and will — be successful.
But it’s going to take hard work. There are no shortcuts and no easy path to success. You have to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do, be disciplined when others get distracted, and work tirelessly until others have given up.
There are going to be times when it doesn’t seem possible or worth it or like you’re getting anywhere. There are going to be days when you want to quit and you feel like nothing is working out the way it should.
When those days come — and they will come — remember this letter and remember how much I believe in you. Don’t give up because you’re almost there — just a little further until you’ve made it over the final hill!
Other examples: Words you should consider using in letters to your student.
Here are some words for you to include in your letter:
• I learned about your success through (name) and I am so pleased.
• I look forward to hearing more about your future successes.
• I am so proud of you. Your hard work is paying off.
• Your accomplishments in (subject) are wonderful. You have a bright future ahead of you.