Cover Letters for Teachers
Experts advise keeping your cover letter to one page only. Make sure to address your cover letter to a specific administrator. Job openings will often indicate who to send information to. In some cases, it is beneficial to send a copy to both the school principal and superintendent.
While a form cover letter may be drafted for general use, each cover letter should be unique. The cover letter should prove you have put time into researching the position and school and specifically point out why you are a strong match for the school. Congratulating a school on recent standardized test scores, commenting on their admirable mission statement, or noting an exciting event from their recent newsletter shows strong interest in the school and helps make a good first impression. School websites are an excellent place to scour when writing a cover letter.
Share additional ways you wish to be involved in the school beyond the position you are applying for. For example, the district may be in need of a tennis coach, and you have ample experience. Highlight this connection. Furthermore, if you are aware of a need of a school district, make sure to connect a solution to that need to your experience. Share your plan for improving student achievement. Explain your desire to write grants to assist a low-income district. Overall, your goal is to show you would be an indispensable member of the teaching staff.
A cover letter is also a good place to share any connections you have with the school. Frame the connection in a positive, professional light. Instead of saying, "My Aunt Sally is the secretary at Oaks Middle School," share, "I am aware of the innovative teaching practices used by the teachers at Oaks Middle School through the praise of my aunt, Sally Smith. Given the opportunity to join your teaching staff, I have the skills and dedication to collaborate well with a team of teachers." If you have experience tutoring or completing a field experience in the school, remind the administrator of this. Relate how beneficial the experience was for you and how you wish to continue to serve the students of the school.
Make sure the cover letter is not a repeat of your resume. Rather, the cover letter should be an extension that provides specific details as to why you are a talented teacher and good fit for the given position. Take general statements and support them with specific evidence.
For example, do not just say, "I develop strong lesson plans." In more detail share, "During my student teaching experience I developed a five week unit of lessons on data and statistics for sixth grade students. The lessons were differentiated to meet each student's level of prior knowledge. Learning centers, multiple intelligence options, hands-on manipulatives, formative assessments, and an interdisciplinary game day were designed to facilitate success for all students. After intervention was given, each student was able to score 80% or higher on a test over the state indicators." Such detail goes beyond your resume to show that you really know your stuff. Choose to highlight what you are most proud of and what will set you apart.
Also, make sure your cover letter has a positive tone. You want to make a confident impression that you are the teacher they are looking for.
In the end, test your cover letter to make sure it is personalized. If your letter would work for all the other teacher candidates in your classes, it will not stand out to potential employers. Include specific accomplishments, experiences, and goals you have. Don't be afraid to let your personality show in your cover letter, as long as you maintain a professional tone. Stay true to yourself in the cover letter. Do not just merely write what you think the administrators want to hear. Write about what makes you truly special.
The following resources offer examples of teacher cover letters.
University of Colorado
Slippery Rock University