Cover Letters for Teachers
In many cases, your cover letter for a job in a school will receive more attention than would cover letters in most other industries. Administrators view your cover letter as an indication of your enthusiasm for teaching and of your ability to communicate. The best cover letters come alive - that is, they convey something of your personality in a way that your resume generally will not. Cover letters present the opportunity for you to do several things:
- Demonstrate that you are interested in applying to that particular school district.
- Highlight your two or three strengths as a teacher - and reflect your unique experiences as a teacher.
- Express your enthusiasm for teaching, for working with young people and/or for the particular grade level or subject you will teach..
How do you demonstrate that you are interested in a district?
Do a little research about that district and include a bit of what you find in your cover letter.
For example, if you went on the Lowell district website, and you saw that they offer a variety of teacher mentorship programs, you might write a sentence or two about how the mentoring you've already received as a student teacher has influenced your teaching style, and that you are excited about the opportunities to be mentored by experienced teachers in Lowell. (Only if that's the truth for you - don't make things up!)
Resources for information on schools and districts:
Massachusetts School District Profiles
District-by-district data on Enrollment, Test Results and Finances.
NOTE: to access the district's web site - once you've clicked through to a town, you can click on the district link under "Public School District."
Boston College Career Network
9000 alumni who have offered to speak with students about their career field, their job and their employer. Includes 800 alumni in the "Educational" or "Education Administration" categories.
Local news on many eastern and central Massachusetts towns and cities.
ONLY available from on-campus. Includes full text of the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Springfield Republican, and Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
How do you highlight your strengths?
While your resume presents your background in chronological form, your cover letter offers you the opportunity to draw your readers' attention to a couple of your main strengths (preferably as they relate to the expressed philosophy or needs of the district, though often it is difficult to make such a direct link).
The best cover letters use specifics to back up general statements. These specifics can reflect your unique experiences in the classroom and the strengths they represent:
"To my practicum teaching experiences I have brought classroom management techniques that were honed in my two camp counseling jobs, where I was frequently in charge of 30 to 40 seven- and eight-year-olds, without any assistance."
OR "I believe it's important to understand the different learning styles and strengths that students bring to the classroom. In my full practicum at Ignatius Elementary School, I used movement and dance to encourage the more tactile learners. For the more auditory learners, I incorporated music, rhythms and nature sounds into some of my science lessons."
OR "I strongly believe that every child is teachable. This was made real for me when a first-grader who had been diagnosed with a learning disability, and with whom I had been working one-on-one for nearly a semester, had a breakthrough in his reading ability that surprised even his classroom teacher."
The point is that your cover letter should emphasize your strengths as a teacher, which are most effectively demonstrated through positive, concrete examples.
Here are a few practical tips:
- Keep a record of all correspondence.
- The letter should be addressed to a particular individual in the district. If that person is not apparent from the website, call the district office for that person's name and title.
- Use simple, direct language and correct grammar.
- Use plain bond paper in white, off-white, light beige or light gray. Use the same paper for your cover letters and resumes, and you can use matching envelopes, as well.
- Strive for a "picture frame effect" with your margins. Business letters are folded in thirds and mailed in long envelopes, about 9 1/2 inches long.
- Have a friend carefully proofread your letters for errors.
- Be sure to sign your letters, and make certain your address is plainly visible.
- Ask for an interview, and include your phone number and email address in your closing paragraph.
ALSO, BE SURE TO SEE:
- Our general Cover Letter pages
- Sample Education Cover Letter 1
- Sample Education Cover Letter 2NOTE - there are two versions of this cover letter - each is good. And each can be adapted to any career field.
Sample Education Cover Letter 3
321 Vista Lane
Boston, MA 02167
February 12, 2002
Ms. Susan Anderson
Director of Personnel
New Horizon School District
Chestnut Hill, MA 02107
Dear Ms. Anderson:
Please accept my letter of application for the position of mathematics teacher at New Horizon High School. With my major in mathematics and secondary teaching certificate, I am particularly interested in utilizing my skills and knowledge in a secondary setting.
My student teaching experience has enabled me to develop a special rapport with the age group that I enjoy most: high school students. As co-advisor of the Computer Club during my practicum, I also gained administrative and organizational skills that enhanced my perspective and my commitment to the extra-curricular component of the secondary school experience.
As a student at Boston College, I have excelled academically and worked part-time as an aide at the computer center, where I further developed my interpersonal and communication skills.
I am especially interested in the New Horizon School District because of its demonstrated commitment to quality education, as evidenced by the favorable student/faculty ratio and state-of-the-art classroom technology. I would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you regarding the Mathematics Department position. Thank you for your consideration. I will contact you within the next two weeks.
This cover letter is succinct but the applicant used appropriate examples to demonstrate her interest, skills, and background.