How to Write a Teacher Cover Letter [with Template]
If you’re researching teacher cover letter tips and best practices, chances are you are either in the market for a new job or at least beginning to think ahead to your next opportunity.
As you’re well aware, your cover letter is a vitally important messaging document that must be thoughtfully crafted to A) catch the eye of potential employers/recruiters and B) entice them to learn more about you by reviewing your resume.
Well, you’ve come to the right place because — when it comes to teacher resume and cover letter advice — we’ve got you covered.
Designed to apply to both new and seasoned educators alike, this post serves as a guide to writing an effective teacher cover letter that will help you land your next job.
We’ll share key tips and best practices, along with several teacher cover letter examples that you can use for inspiration — plus, a downloadable template you can use to write an A+ cover letter!
5 Resume Cover Letters for Teachers
Before we get into any how-tos, it helps to know what the end result should look like. Below are five examples of winning teacher cover letters.
1. This example offers guidance for the first-time teacher, since it can be difficult to write a cover letter without much experience to describe! This letter emphasizes volunteer work, student teaching and college experience.
2. Here, the applicant listed out some of her experiences into bullet points. This is a wise formatting trick, since it’s likely the hiring manager looks at multiple cover letters a day, so the bulleted list makes it easier — and faster — to read.
3. Though it may not apply to every teaching position, some hiring managers like to see applicants back up their claims with hard data. This history teacher offers quantifiable proof of her abilities in her previous position.
4. What it lacks in volume it makes up for in succinct, to-the-point text. This cover letter says just enough while leaving the reader wanting to know more. Be careful with creating generic cover letter “templates” for yourself though — the content of this letter could apply to a wide range of roles and schools, so you’ll want to customize the details to each new position.
5. For a clearer breakdown of the essential parts of a cover letter, this example from Liveabout.com highlights where the applicant mentions her skill set, her unique value proposition and her desire for the position.
Start with Structure: How to Format Your Teacher Cover Letter
A teacher cover letter is much the same as a cover letter for any other position — the structure is fairly standard, with the content customized to the role and your experience. A cover letter should be one page, no more than four paragraphs, easily scannable and include the best way to reach you. The reader should not have to look very hard to find everything they need to know about you.
The best teacher cover letters have the following components:
- Your contact information: Provide your name, email address, phone number and where you live (just city and state is fine).
- The school’s contact information: Though you may not be sending your cover letter and resume by mail, this confirms your intention to apply to a specific school.
- Date: The date you’re submitting your application materials.
- Salutation: A professional greeting that addresses the hiring manager by name. It’s customary to preface their name with “Dear.”
- Introduction: This is a one-or two-sentence statement that introduces you and expresses your intention to apply for the open position.
- Body paragraph 1: A brief paragraph describing your relevant professional experience, achievements, skills and education.
- Body paragraph 2: A brief paragraph explaining your interest in and fitness for the role for which you’re applying.
- Closing paragraph: Once more, a brief closing statement that expresses your desire for further conversation and invites the hiring manager to contact you with any questions.
- Your signature: You may simply write your name or, for a more personal touch, you can add a real signature — hand-written or digitally placed.
Why all the brevity? Hiring managers likely sift through dozens of applications a day, especially at competitive schools. You want your materials to stand out for their scannability, so that the reader can see whether you would be the right fit within just a few seconds.
What Else to Include in Your Teacher Cover Letter
If you include all of the components above, you will have an excellent chance of capturing any hiring manager’s attention and (hopefully) starting a conversation with them.
While most cover letters follow a similar format, with the introduction, body content and conclusion all containing relatively the same kind of information, the body paragraphs are where you can really highlight your uniqueness. The portion of your cover letter where you describe your skills and experience is your oyster — without repeating what’s on your resume, consider including any of the following elements:
- Include teaching specialties such as subject expertise, special education curriculum design and even extracurricular responsibilities.
- When it comes to your education, you’ll want to note whether you have your master’s degree in education. Having an M.Ed. does not necessarily equate to teaching experience, but many schools will prioritize candidates with graduate degrees over those with only bachelor’s degrees.
- Mention soft skills as well as hard teaching skills, such as organization, patience, adaptability, etc.
- Mention any relevant training or certifications. If you can point to a certificate in a specific teaching method or school leadership training, you may be considered for other open positions.
- Educational equity and inclusion is critical to school and student success. Even if you don’t have experience teaching units on disability activism or racial justice, expressing a commitment to learning about and teaching students of different backgrounds is a highly valued quality.
- Include related work you’ve done outside the classroom, such as tutoring, non-teaching work or volunteer experience that involves working with children.
- If you’re making any claims about your effectiveness in the classroom, try to back them up with numbers. If you’re currently a teacher considering other schools, be sure to keep track of your own class’s performance so you can cite these metrics in future cover letters.
- However, please note that teachers cannot freely share specific class or student data. It is your responsibility to adhere to school, state and federal restrictions concerning student privacy.
- Teachers are never done learning. Expressing a commitment to ongoing education and professional development in your cover letter will communicate that you are passionate about developing your craft.
Each item should only take one to two sentences to explain. For scannability, you may want to format your skills and experience into bullet points.
Some teaching applicants include a postscript in their cover letters following their signature. While this is not necessary, it is a fine place to put something that doesn’t fit naturally into the body of your cover letter. However, only include a postscript if absolutely necessary (“By the way, I remember competing against Sacred Heart’s epic debate club back in 1998 — if I couldn’t beat them then, joining them now would be the next best thing!”).
Your postscript should add value or personality, or be something the hiring manager absolutely needs to know, otherwise it can look extraneous and unprofessional.
Tips to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out
Think of your teaching cover letter like an elevator pitch. Pretend you have 30 seconds to “sell” your skills and enthusiasm for the role — how do you “hook” the reader?
Before you set pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, be sure to research the school you’re applying to. It’s generally good practice to customize your cover letter for every job application, and that means knowing something about the school, department or role you’d be filling. It’s quite easy to tell if an applicant is just copy-and-pasting the same cover letter for multiple job applications.
For example, is the school known for its competitive mathematics team? Does it have an award-winning drama department? Are its standardized test scores consistently in your state’s 90th percentile? If the role you’re applying for relates in any way to the school’s differentiating factor, be sure to acknowledge it in your introduction.
Here are some other ways to bump your application to the top of the pile.
- Keep it brief: No one wants to read your master’s thesis in a cover letter. Leave the longer explanations of your experience and teaching philosophy for your interview.
- Accentuate the positive: Your application materials should not only convey why you want the position, but how your unique abilities and assets could benefit the school and its students. Emphasize why you’d be a great match with specific reasons — but don’t brag.
- Keep it personal: There are plenty of great cover letter templates and examples out there, but they should only serve as suggestions for what yours will be. This is your story to tell, not anyone else’s. Expressing your passion for teaching will position you as a dedicated, valuable asset to any school.
- Proofread: As a teacher, this should be a no-brainer — but don’t be the one teacher who forgets to proofread! Take your time, re-read and ask a colleague to give your cover letter a once-over before submitting your application. Many people treat their cover letter as an afterthought, but remember that it’s the cover to the rest of your application.
To use another teaching comparison, remember that your cover letter counts for a significant portion of your “grade.” As Christian Eilers writes for Zety, “That means treating it like a crucial final exam instead of an inconsequential pop quiz.”