How to Write Your Special Education Teacher Cover Letter
by Ashley Peck
Hiring special education teachers is just one of many tasks entrusted to principals and special education department heads. You must capture the attention of these busy administrators and educators to land a position you're interested in.
Standing out among a crowded field of candidates can be as challenging as working in a special education classroom itself. However, having an outstanding special education teacher cover letter on your side can make all the difference.
Customize Your Special Education Cover Letter
Special education teachers encounter numerous challenges. They are faced with everything from inclusive classrooms to students with diverse needs to lack of support. Your letter of intent for special education program must resonate with a reader.
Research the role for which you're applying and tailor all five sections of your cover letter to that particular position.
The job posting is a great place to learn what a school is looking for in a special education teacher. Make sure to incorporate the language used in each job posting in your cover letters. Many school systems use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to pre-screen teaching applicants. Choose relevant keywords from the job listing and incorporate them into your cover letter.
A friend, family member or former colleague working in the school system you're applying to is also a fantastic resource for getting an insider's look at the school and the position to which you're applying. With the insider knowledge, you can ensure your application materials will have a strong appeal. Even better, ask if they'd be willing to forward your materials along to the decision makers with their recommendation.
Know Your Audience
A special education teacher cover letter is memorable when it's written for a specific person and preferably addressed to an individual, rather than using a generic greeting.
- Check the job posting for the name of the person leading the hiring process.
- A school's directory or LinkedIn page might add insight into who's in charge of the hiring process.
- If all else fails, go old school and call the school's office to ask for the name of who is leading the job search.
Make an Attention-Grabbing Introduction
Those in charge of hiring special education teachers have heavy workloads. It's imperative to capture their attention in the first few sentences of your cover letter.
- The best letter of intent for special education programs will reference specifics about the school district and teaching position to which you're applying, and show why you're a great fit for the job.
- Eye-catching special education teacher cover letters highlight the relevant skills you possess using the language found in the job posting.
- Your cover letter is a great place to showcase related degrees and special education certifications you've earned, or awards you've won.
Sell Yourself in the Supporting Paragraph(s)
The introductory paragraph is the hook of your cover letter. The next paragraph (or two) is where you reel in an interview by highlighting your relevant experiences, hard skills, and soft skills.
- If you're a newer teacher writing an entry-level special education teacher cover letter, use this space to mention where you went to school, the degree you earned, and any relevant experiences such as student teaching.
- Hard skills are those learned through teaching, training (like pursuing an advanced degree in special education), or special certification. Make sure to focus on the specific hard skills the job description calls out.
- Soft skills, also called people skills, are valuable for a special education teacher to possess. For example, patience is vital to working with young learners, while communication is critical for speaking and writing to parents, other teachers, administrators, and the children themselves.
- Don't just state your skills, show them off! A school will want to know how your students and the district benefited from your Wilson Reading System Certification or how your ability to communicate created a high-functioning team that quickly adapted to the needs of your former students. Make sure you relate the story in a succinct and impactful paragraph.
- Numbers jump off the page when surrounded by text, so quantify your accomplishments with them. You didn't just "teach in an inclusion classroom" — you "led a group of 20 students, five of whom were on individual education plans (IEP), and two teacher's aides."
Close in on an Interview
The way you conclude your special education teacher cover letter is your last chance to make an impression. In one or two sentences, sum up why they should invite you in for an interview.
- A special education teacher is likely to work closely with the people doing the hiring, so make sure to keep it positive — they'll want to hire someone enthusiastic about the work and the kids.
- Principals and special education program heads are busy people. Be sure to thank them for taking the time to read your cover letter and for considering you for the position.
- Leave the door open for follow-up by expressing your interest in continuing to the next stage of the hiring process or prompt a follow-up by saying that you look forward to hearing back about the position.
And be sure to complement your cover letter with an excellent special education teacher resume to secure that interview.
Teaching special education is challenging, but writing an interview-winning special education teacher cover letter doesn't have to be. Our Cover Letter Templates make it easy to craft a professional-looking cover letter that will get you noticed, while steering you clear of the bots and making laying it out a breeze.