Though parents and students don’t always recognize it, teachers work well before and after the 8 to 4 school day. Lesson planning, grading, communicating with parents, attending (useless) faculty meetings, and supporting your students’ sporting and extracurricular events are just some of what you do beyond classroom instruction.
So, if you’re seeking another teaching position or preparing for your first teaching role, it’s mind-boggling why a school’s hiring team would ask you to submit a cover letter along with your resume and application. Your time is already fully committed.
And that’s why we’re here. We’ve got three cover letter samples to spark your own ideas as well as guide you through the process. It’s not possible to cover every achievement and responsibility in your teacher resume or cover letter, but with a little help from us, you’ll be well on your way to showing principals and department heads why they’d be foolish not to hire you.
The key to writing your teacher cover letter can be distilled into two main points: don’t be generic and don’t let it become a repeat of your resume.
Just as you want to tailor your resume to the school where you want to work and to its accompanying teacher job description, you should do the same with your cover letter. Sure, this requires extra research, but what’s 20 or 30 minutes when this effort has the potential to pay off in dividends? Not only will research ensure your cover letter is relevant—not vague and generic—it’ll also prepare you well for common teacher interview questions.
Additionally, you can leverage your research to demonstrate a genuine interest in the role you’re applying for as well as in the school itself. Does the job description bemoan the school’s state testing scores? Discuss how your commitment to standardized testing has improved students’ performance at other schools. Does the listing express the need for an educator proficient with Google Classroom? Share how Google Classroom has transformed your STEM projects.
Addressing the specific needs and concerns mentioned in the job description will have the desired effect as long as you go beyond what you included in your resume. Mentioning that you’re a rock star at using Google Classroom isn’t enough; principals have already gathered that from your resume bullet points and skills section.
This is your opportunity to specifically share what you’ve done with Google Classroom. Many teachers set up Google Classroom for their students but don’t get around to using it. What have you done that sets the standard for every teacher following you? This is when quantifying your experience becomes exceptionally valuable.
For example, perhaps you use Google Classroom to track all assignments, projects, and tests. Demonstrate how this resource has decreased late submissions by 53 percent. Or, back to our standardized testing example, maybe you successfully raised scores by 12 percent over the course of several years. What did you do exactly to accomplish such a feat? One-on-one tutoring, an after-school club, unique teaching methodologies?
Beyond specific and descriptive paragraphs in your teacher cover letter, keep your document at or even less than a page. You must get your message across in a limited space, so eliminate wordiness and avoid pleasantries. Be sincere and gracious, but remember that no one likes a teacher’s pet.
In this vein, we strongly encourage you to consider your tone of voice. Keep it professional, avoiding clichés, contractions, colloquialisms, and the like. Remember you’re applying for a teaching position, not a quirky tech startup.
And just when you think your cover letter is ready to go, hold up! You are, indeed, almost at the finish line, but what is it you tell your students to do before they submit an essay (which they inevitably never do)?
Yep—it’s time to practice what you preach. Invite a few people you trust to review your cover letter and offer constructive criticism while your eyes and brain rest for a day or two. Then, return to your work, consider the criticism you’ve received, and scour for any last content issues and spelling and grammar errors. Make the necessary revisions, save your document, and send your cover letter to the principal and hiring department along with your resume, application, and any other requested materials.
Now, if you’re staring at a blinking cursor on a blank document, not quite sure how to make the examples and how-to guide work for you, don’t fret. Rest assured, it’ll come together beautifully like a perfectly executed lesson plan. You just need a comprehensive outline that breaks the cover letter into distinct sections, making it easy to understand what to include in each part.
Your teacher cover letter should capture the following:
Your contact info: If you’re using a template, fill in the letterhead to suit your needs. Just ensure you replace all filler text and don’t accidentally exclude critical information like your name, email, and phone number.
Formatting tips: If you write a block business letter rather than use a template, including your address is standard. Additionally, while your name will be prominently displayed on a letterhead on a template, a basic but professional block letter should omit your name (the principal will find your name easily in your signature line).
Date: If you write your cover letter today but don’t submit it until next week, be sure to edit the date, so it reflects the day you actually submit the letter and other career documents for the specific teaching position.
Formatting tip: Write out the full date, e.g. February 21, 2022.
Inside address: This is the contact information for the principal or hiring department at the school. Name the specific person; then, include the school and position title, e.g., Ryan High School Principal. Complete this section with the school’s address.
Ryan High School Principal
5101 E McKinney St
Denton, TX 76208
Formatting tips: Each piece of the inside address should be on a new line. You’ll want a double space between the inside address and the greeting.
Greeting: Your goal is to start on the right foot with your principal, so avoid issuing a generic greeting, also known as a salutation, like:
While it can take some impressive sleuth skills to track down the name of the hiring manager for some jobs, most, if not all, schools have staff listings on their website. You’re already researching the school to help you write an amazing cover letter, so take a couple of extra minutes to put a real name to the greeting:
Formatting tip: Err on the side of caution and use a colon at the end of the greeting. A comma is more casual while a colon denotes professionalism, which will likely serve you best for a teaching role.
Body: The body of your teacher cover letter should be three to four brief paragraphs that state your interest, demonstrate your teaching credentials, and convey enthusiasm for further discussion. Let’s break it down further:
Opening paragraph: The goal is simple—state your interest in the position and your overarching credentials that reflect your research for the specific role. While the goal is simple, the execution often leaves little to be desired. Too many cover letters start the same way:
I found your posting online and am interested in filling the English III position.
No. Just no. Bore the principal and the English department right out of the gate, and they’ll wonder whether you’ll hold the attention of your students. Instead, try:
With 12 percent of Ryan High’s student population slotted to graduate with honors, I am eager to lead the initiation of the English Advanced Placement program as stated in the job description. With seven years of experience teaching AP courses, I am confident that Ryan High’s students will excel in my classroom and beyond.
Not only does this signal that you’ve done your homework and researched the school’s unique standing and areas for growth, this opening paragraph hooks the reader. Clearly, you’re interested in the role, offer valuable experience, and with phrases like “lead the initiation” and “excel in my classroom,” there’s no doubt you’re confident and capable.
Paragraphs 2-3: If you can squeeze in the third paragraph, we recommend it as each paragraph is an opportunity to demonstrate indisputable evidence of the credentials and qualifications you boldly state in your opening paragraph.
Each paragraph should not be a repeat of your resume; rather, each paragraph should hone in on one clear accomplishment, be it the results of your teaching methodology, values, or something else. Don’t try to tackle multiple topics in a paragraph. Be detailed, specific, and quantify your results when possible.
Closing paragraph: Clench an interview with this final paragraph. Now’s not the time to lay your head on your desk and call it a day. Don’t let this be your closing paragraph:
I believe I am the perfect candidate for this teaching position, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
At best, it exudes laziness. At worst, no one will believe you’re actually interested in the job but just need something to put beans on the table.
Instead, demonstrate that your unique values and qualifications align with the school’s unique needs, which will undoubtedly indicate a genuine interest in the role—even if you are desperate to put beans on the table. Finally, add a call to action that anticipates a follow-up or interview. With the following closing paragraph, it’s clear that teaching is far more to you than just a job:
Solving students’ pain points is more than acknowledging their existence. To me, pain points are a starting point to discovery. I firmly believe that some of the most challenging endeavors have the power to yield the most fruitful results. If these results speak to you, I am eager to share more of what my non-traditional classroom looks like and what you can expect from Belleville’s students and from me as their geometry instructor.
Formatting tip: The body of your teacher cover letter should be single-spaced although you’ll need to double space between paragraphs.
Signature: While you can include your gratitude at the end of the closing paragraph, you can also express thanks when you sign off. Keep it professional, and use your real name here just as you will on your resume and application form.
Thank you for your consideration,
Formatting tip: Typically, you’ll send your cover letter to the principal’s email; however, if you deliver your career docs in person or—gasp—by mail, be sure to quadruple space and sign your name in blue or black ink between your closing line and typed name.
Enclosure(s): This is important, and most teachers fail to include it. “Enclosure(s)” simply means that more documents follow your cover letter. What information would that be? Well, hopefully, your teacher resume, likely the school’s application form, potentially your teaching license, could be your college transcripts, and maybe even a reference letter or two, depending on the requirements detailed in the teacher job description.
After your signature, you’ll include “Enclosure(s),” followed by the exact documents in order of appearance.
2 letters of recommendation
See, including this final section is literally easier than writing your own address. Include it, and automatically set yourself apart from other teachers vying for the same role.
Formatting tips: Use the singular form of “enclosure” if you’re only including one document. Also, include each additional document on a new line.
Now, that you’ve got the tools you need to confidently wow principals and departmental heads with your teacher cover letter, have you considered the current state of your resume? Maybe you’ve already updated and polished it, and if that’s you, kudos to you—you’re ahead of the game!
If you’re blowing out an exaggerated breath because you’ve relegated your resume to the nether regions of your mind, we get it. But you have to know that teacher resumes are judged more harshly than most. Hiring teams don’t cut a lot of slack when they’re looking for talent who will teach their students to communicate, read, and write well.
So, if it’s time to think seriously about re-writing or, let’s face it, writing your resume, take a page from us (literally) and get inspired with our free resume templates and teacher resume examples like the one below.
Your career documents are a pain in the tush, we know, but think of us as your biggest cheerleaders. With our resume builder, Google resume templates, Word resume templates, and expert-approved guidance, your teacher resume and cover letter are sure to win you interviews and secure your next role, where you just might earn Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023.