Teacher Cover Letter Formats

How to Convince the School You are the Ideal Candidate

Writing an attention-grabbing teacher cover letter to accompany your resume can be a frustrating and stressful task. Using a standard cover letter template as a fallback can sabotage a winning resume. Even worse, failing to include a cover letter will look as though your computer applied for the teaching position. True, it can be difficult to decide exactly what to include and what to leave out, yet you must make the effort if you want an interview invitation. If you're finding it hard to put your cover letter together, read on for some simple tips on how to structure a winning teacher cover letter format.

Teacher thinking of how to convince the school she is an ideal candidate

Using the Sections of a Cover Letter to Target Teaching Jobs

Once you develop a teacher cover letter format you are comfortable with, it is easy to tweak it to suit different teaching jobs. Let's get started! Like any letter, your cover letter can be divided into three distinct sections; the opening paragraph, the main body of the letter, and your closing paragraph. Here are some user-friendly tips on what to include in each section:

Opening Paragraph of the Cover Letter

This is arguably the most important part of your letter because your opening paragraph is the first chance your reader has to form an opinion of you. It's important to address the letter to a specific person, if possible. Make an effort to find out the name of the hiring manager or the chair of the selection committee. Furthermore, it's absolutely crucial you spell the person's name correctly; there's nothing more likely to make a poor first impression than spelling the manager's name wrong!

Your first paragraph should state the position which you're applying for and the relevant job posting number (if applicable). It's also important to state where you heard about the vacancy; this is especially important if you've been referred by an existing employee as this can often go in your favor.

On the other hand, you may be applying to a position for which there is no job posting. In these cases, you want to convince the principal that it is worthwhile reading your cover letter and resume and, ideally, be placed in the follow up stack for consideration as a future hire.

Generic letters are five times less likely to get a response. For each job position, tailor your cover letter to the position advertised. Do not leave connections to chance. Make the match for the reader!

This Elementary Teacher Cover Letter Sample makes a direct match to the elementary school teacher job qualifications in the opening sentences of the first and second paragraph. First, the education match is made. The candidate has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education. Immediately following, we learn she has 15 years of classroom experience.

A hit! An experienced elementary school teacher – let's read on!

The second paragraph introduces her commitment 'toward the empowerment of elementary school children,' followed by her experience and teaching approach.  

The Main Body of the Cover Letter

The main body of your letter is where you convince the reader that you are the right person for the job. Remember that if you don't capture the manager's interest in your cover letter, they may not bother to read your resume. Focus on the main duties involved in the job and demonstrate your ability to excel in these areas by giving concrete examples of your professional work experience.

Even if you are writing a cover letter for a new teacher with no experience there is valuable information from past work experiences, internships, practiums, and college courses you can incorporate. You will need to dig for these and find a creative way to communicate your relevant skills and experience as a beginning teacher. It takes time and deep thought to write an excellent cover letter for an experienced teacher or a first year teacher - so allocate the time necessary to get it right.

This Math Teacher Cover Letter sample provides numerous examples of how the teacher facilitates math learning at all levels of student ability. Try and avoid simply listing attributes. Make connections for the reader and tell a story.

By incorporating class discussions, open-ended questions, and cooperative learning, I am able to facilitate a highly interactive and inquisitive classroom atmosphere.

The job candidate and author of this Secondary School Teacher Cover Letter example provides a thoughtful and impactful philosophy of teaching statement:

I have found the method of facilitating rather than dictating to be a highly beneficial style of teaching. I have learned that if students construct their own learning experiences they will not only retain information longer, but they also will become more confident in their abilities.

The hiring managers, however, want to see examples and evidence. She could have included qualitative and quantitative examples of learning outcomes produced as a direct result of this teaching approach:

My empowered class of learners has increased their reading and math scores by 12% percent, and has become self-initiated learners. For example, they check out twice as many books from the library.

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Do Your Organization or School Research

This is where doing your research can really pay off. The more you know about the school district, the better you can tailor your skills and attributes to match the school district's requirements. If the district or school has a website, spend some time reading through it and gathering information. Find out what's important to them and be aware of current projects and potential issues. If you can demonstrate in your letter that you understand the learning challenges to meet at this particular school, you will very likely impress the manager.

To her benefit, this secondary school teacher's description of her teaching approach is heartfelt and convincing. It's important to try and put your own stamp on your cover letter; try to let your personality and enthusiasm for the job shine through. Tell the manager why you want this job and what you could contribute to the company. Try to communicate what it is that draws you specifically to this school and how your skills and experience could be of benefit.

Conclusion of Your Teaching Cover Letter

Your concluding paragraph should state that you would welcome the chance to further demonstrate your suitability for the post in an interview. Be sure to include your contact details too, just in case your letter becomes separated from your resume.

In this section, you may find the use of original language to be challenging. The biggest risk in a cover letter is using repetitive, formulaic language. The reader sees these same statements over and over again, and thus tends to gloss over them with glazed eyes. The challenge is to draw on your own experience to provide an original hook. Try to not only open your cover letter with a hook, but also end it with a hook to keep the reader interested.

This Music Teacher Cover Letter sample wakes up the reader by adding a call to action that requires action on his/her part.

In closing, I look forward to meeting you to discuss in greater detail how I can contribute to the continued success of your music program. If you have any questions, or would like to set a time to meet, please feel free to contact me at the number listed above.

Let's add a more compelling ending.

I will leave you with this short video clip of me on the piano teaching the music scales and singing Christmas carols with my special education class – a fun activity we all thoroughly enjoyed.

This additional sentence packs a powerful punch. You have provided an example of you in action as a teacher, engaging the students and having fun while learning. I challenge you to come up with a list of original ways of ending your cover letter – ideally ways that demonstrate evidence of your teaching ability.

After completing your letter, you should ensure that it is proofread by someone with an excellent standard of literacy. Even if you are confident in your own abilities, it's easy to be blind to your own mistakes; always get it checked over before sending.

Do not forget to review our advice on resume writing mistakes to avoid. Also review tips on teacher resume and CV writing. Read in-depth blog posts about how to demonstrate your skills and strengths in your teacher cover letter.  

While you are there you will find lots of job search, and resume and application letter writing tips to get ideas on how to write your academic CV curriculum vitae to land a job at home or abroad.

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