How to Write a Teacher Cover Letter
by Mary Jacob McKinley
You’ve found a job posting or heard about your dream teaching position. Now, you have to pull together a compelling application that will get you hired. School administrators look for invested team members who will work for the betterment of their students. Your cover letter is the opportunity to show how your experience, skills and education make you the best candidate for the position.
Here are our top tips for writing a cover letter that will help you land that next teaching job.
The basics of a teacher cover letter
Writing a cover letter for a teaching position allows you to brag about what you do best while conveying your enthusiasm for education. What do you love about your job? Why are you still pursuing excellence in your classroom? Let your passion come through while keeping your letter concise and professional.
A teacher cover letter needs the five basic components: header, salutation, introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. (Checking out our Cover Letter Samples for inspiration, or looking directly to our Teacher Cover Letter Examples, can help you understand the format before you get started.) We’re focusing on the body paragraphs, where you highlight your skills, experience and unique ability to reach students.
One thing teachers, and others, often overlook is the importance of customization. Each cover letter should be written to reflect the job posting and highlight skills and experiences that align with the role. You’ll want to go as far as identifying exact words and phrases to include from the posting, so it’s easy for the reader to connect you with the role off the bat.
Skills to highlight in your cover letter
Teachers need many skills, from classroom management to specific subject knowledge; it can be hard to know how to focus a one-page letter. Luckily, your cover letter and resume go hand-in-hand. Your resume is where you can list the critical skills you’ve mastered in school and the classroom. (If you’re still working on your teacher resume, you must know the five components it should include.) For your cover letter, we’re focusing on three skills that are essential to teaching and will make your application stand out.
Administrators look for teachers who can adapt to different situations and individuals. Students need teachers who can assess a lesson and adjust in real-time to their needs. Mention your ability to differentiate lessons and projects, and your willingness to try new curriculum and technology in the classroom. For example, “By differentiating my lesson, I can help each student reach their full potential.”
In many ways, technology makes different aspects of teaching easier, like grading, differentiating instruction, research and even lessons. In your teacher cover letter, show how you are keeping your kids engaged with technology.
Kyle Brown, a Latin teacher, technology guru and owner of Intelligo, LLC, recommends familiarizing yourself with sites like Google Classroom, Quia and Read&Write. Mention these skills or other specific ways you use technology in the classroom.
Teachers need to communicate with students, parents, the administration, committees, behavior specialists and guidance counselors. To be a competitive candidate, your communication needs to be clear, concise and timely. In your cover letter, mention how your communication style has helped you in the past. Do you send home a folder on Mondays or Fridays? Do you use one of the communication apps like Bloomz or Remind to post homework and classroom updates?
Remember: your cover letter is its own form of communication that the administration will be reading carefully. Proofread it thoroughly to eliminate any typos or confusing phrasing.
Make the most of the experience you have
Whether you’re a new teacher or a seasoned veteran, administrators want to hire people who are leaders and have to ability to collaborate with colleagues and connect with a classroom of children. Here’s how to convey each of those elements in a concise manner.
1. Leadership experience
Your potential administration needs to know you have the confidence to own your classroom, use your voice and take charge of a situation. When showing leadership, ask yourself the following questions:
- What leadership roles have you held?
- Have you organized field trips, dances or food drives?
- Have you sponsored a club or coached a team?
With leadership comes the ability to delegate, manage time, money, materials, students and adults. Have you served as a department head or a grade-level team leader? You lead each day in your classroom. Where else do you lead? Use one to two of these examples in your cover letter.
Teaching is a team sport. You will be thrust into groups many times throughout your career. To illustrate how you work well with others, consider:
- What group work are you proud of? What were your roles?
- Are you involved with any national or local groups?
- How do you teach students to collaborate?
- How has collaboration helped you as a teacher? How has it helped the students?
3. Connecting with students
Use your cover letter to let the administration know you have meaningful classroom experience. Even if you just graduated, you can still show your experience. Use a short example from your student-teacher experience to demonstrate a time you helped a student or conveyed a complicated concept to an entire class. A specific story can reveal a lot about your teaching style and ability to connect.
Your education cover letter is your opportunity to show your future principal and colleagues why you’re the best teacher for the job. Looking for sample cover letters for teachers via our Cover Letter Examples page can help you get off to an excellent start. And if you’re looking for top-to-bottom help with both your cover letter and resume, put our Cover Letter Templates and Resume Builder to work.