Teacher Cover Letters That Stand Out: 5 Phrases to Avoid
by Heather Maietta
If you’re looking to land a career in teaching, it’s imperative that you are able to communicate effectively. During the interview process, the first thing the hiring committee will do is evaluate your ability to express yourself succinctly and professionally.
Before you find yourself in the interview seat, you’ll first need to prove your skills through the ever-important cover letter. Writing teacher cover letters that stand out is crucial to the application process.
What is the purpose of a cover letter for a teaching position?
Your cover letter is the perfect companion to a professionally crafted resume. It should provide a detailed snapshot of your accomplishments and what you bring to the table.
Many recruiters and hiring managers use the cover letter as a differentiation tool. If a hiring committee has narrowed the field down to two similarly qualified candidates, the candidate who has shown they know how to write a cover letter that stands out may likely come out on top.
How to write a teacher cover letter that sets you apart
All teaching candidates have their strengths and weaknesses. However, pointing out areas of weakness in a cover letter for a teaching position raises red flags to a hiring committee. Recovering from these statements can be challenging and might prevent employers from taking a chance on you.
Here are five phrases teachers should always avoid when crafting a cover letter:
1. “The job is about more than just the students”
Being an educator is first and foremost about the students you teach. Communicating anything that contradicts that message will only hurt you. The hiring committee is seeking candidates who are enthusiastic and have a genuine passion for guiding students.
Use your teacher cover letter to convey your love of teaching. Mention your dedication to the profession and your student-centered approach to education. Call on examples from past experience to demonstrate your commitment.
2. “I have time management issues”
Teachers have so much material to cover each day. They may struggle to meet strict curriculum standards and reach students with varying needs. This pressure requires teachers to be experts at managing their allotted time and space. The hiring committee looks for candidates with proven time and classroom management skills. Your teacher cover letter is the ideal place to communicate these abilities.
3. “I’m not the best communicator”
Teachers need to be excellent communicators. The classroom is composed of students with differing educational and social-emotional needs. Your success hinges on the ability to recognize their needs and communicate effectively with a diverse group of learners — along with their family members — and colleagues. Your cover letter needs to make a compelling case for your candidacy. It should explain why you want to work for them and convince them you’d be an excellent fit for their specific teaching position.
4. “I’m bad at technology”
Proficiency in technology and, more importantly, a willingness to adapt to new technologies in education is vital to working as a teacher in the 21st century. You don’t have to be a computer science major or know every education-based platform or software program on the market to prove your point. At the same time, don’t underestimate the power of technology. Use your teacher cover letter to showcase brief examples of how you’ve infused technology into your teaching practice. Demonstrating this experience shows the hiring committee you’re open to new technologies and innovative instructional practices.
5. “I’m seeking excellent benefits”
This might be a stretch: No one goes into education to become a millionaire. However, work-life balance appeals to many people. And while the job you’re applying for may be the perfect fit, a teacher cover letter is not the place to convey that you’re in it for the summers off. The committee wants to know, first and foremost, how you will improve their organization and help their students succeed. They also want to know that you’re the right fit for their school community. Use your cover letter to influence the hiring committee.
Your cover letter is the perfect showcase for your unique skills, experience and personality. Grab your red pen and make sure your cover letter is free of these red-flag phrases. While you’re at it, pick out relevant keywords from the job description and incorporate these into your teacher cover letter. Many educators now use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to review resumes, and this tactic could put your application at the top of the stack.
Turn to our Cover Letter Builder for help with your cover letter, or our Cover Letter Samples for teaching positions. These valuable tools provide step-by-step guidance in creating a compelling cover letter that will have hiring committees eager to add you to their team.