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3 Ways to Respond to the Angry Parent Email


So  you were in the middle of having a great day, like a really great one. You woke up, had time to both make and drink your coffee , plus you’re outfit is pretty darn snazzy today.

The kids are listening…….. OH…. MY …… GOODNESS, you just realized that they’re all working, no one is talking, or taking a selfie.

This is a freakin miracle day!

Then you open your email, and there it is.

The email that is about to demolish your perfect day and drive you to drinking way too much wine tonight, which will also ensure that tomorrow morning will not go nearly as smoothly as this morning.

That email that tells you that you’re a very terrible horrible no good disaster of a teacher.

That email that tells you that you’re career, ( being an art teacher), is such a joke, so much so that you should apologize to your parents for all of the money that you wasted getting your Art Education Degree.

Because art doesn’t matter!!!

Because anybody can do it!!!!

Because you’re a failure!!!

Well it doesn’t say that exactly…… It probably says something more like , why does my daughter have a C in ART. How does anyone get anything other than an A in ART. Don’t they just have to show up and make some marks on a page? Isn’t art just supposed to be fun?

3 email responses that you can copy, steal, edit and send off. ( now go back to having your awesome day)

Dear _________________

While participation is part of  the overall course grade it is not the only factor, and in order for a student to earn full participation points, they must do more than show up. They need to participate ( use time wisely, follow instructions, take part in class conversations, be prepared with tools and any assigned homework, and properly clean up at the end of class.) Students also receive grades for sketchbook assignments, which are to be completed outside of class, and should take at least 30 minutes. Your child has missed ____________ sketchbook assignments, and made no effort to make them up.

The third way that students earn their grade is through projects. With each assigned project a clear set of learning objectives and standards are put into place, so that it isn’t just about making a pretty picture, or putting a mark on a page. ( insert some of the learning objectives or essential questions that you’re working on in class)Students are provided with a detailed rubric, where they must first assess themselves and then submit their work for a final grade. I”ve attached a copy of the rubric along with images of your sons work.

To increase his grade moving forward, it’s essential that he arrives to class on time and prepared, completes all sketchbook assignments and submits them on time, and takes and applies feedback during class.


Dear _______________________________

Students art grade is made up of participation, homework, and class projects. Students are assigned a bi-weekly critique assignment for homework that should take 30-45 minutes. Your child has missed __________ of these assignments. I reached out to you a few times ( include dates), to make sure that you were aware of this issue. Students are permitted to make up missed assignments, so the first step to raising your child’s grade, would be to touch base with me about making up  missed assignments.

___________ ( child’s name), is also falling behind in class, because he’s spending a lot of time off task, which is making him fall behind on class projects, and making it challenging for him to meet the learning objectives, and uncover the answer to our essential questions. ( insert objects and essential questions).

Art class is treated much like other classes, were students are given assignments ( some in class, and some for homework), that they are expected to complete. While there are many different approaches that a student can take to solving any given problem in class ( as we do embrace design thinking processes), students still must present a completed and well thought out solution.


While I do in fact strive for art class to be enjoyable, fun and easy are not synonymous terms. Class procedures, policies, and grading were outlined in the syllabus that you received and signed at the beginning of the year. ( a copy is attached for your convenience )

Each assignment that students receive has clear goals and objectives that are tied to the state and national art standards. Students receive a detailed rubric, laying out exactly how they will be graded at the start of each project.

Because the goal is for students to learn and grow, students are encouraged to re-do a project if they earn a grade that is lower than they would like. After receiving a graded project, students have two weeks, to meet with me, discuss what worked and didn’t work, and come up with a plan for improvement, while your child has been encouraged to rework projects, thus far I’ve seen no forward motion.

The next step to helping _______________________ improve their grade, is for them to set up a time to meet with me and develop a clear plan as to how to improve a past project.