How to Write a Cover Letter for a Teaching Position

FT Contributor
An employer looking over a teacher's cover letter and resume.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The educational world has a large variety of occupations for teachers. Along with the many subjects you could teach, there are numerous age, geographic, and demographic factors that can significantly change both the tone of each job and what is expected from you in a particular classroom.

All of this natural diversity within the educational field can make applying for a teaching position a daunting task. Certifications, education, experience, and interpersonal skills all factor heavily into the mix.

While it’s certainly important to have a quality resume in place when you begin your job hunt, it’s your cover letters that can make or break an application.

What Makes a Teaching Position Cover Letter Unique

An often-rushed or even overlooked step in the application process, your cover letter can be the premiere item on an application that catches a hiring manager’s attention. It isn’t just a rehashing of your resume. A cover letter should strive to set you apart as an ideal candidate that stands head and shoulders above the competition.

With this in mind, it’s best for a teacher to begin a cover letter by analyzing the job posting itself. Look for keywords in the description, such as “inclusive classroom,” “personalized learning,” or “service learning,” that you can incorporate into your cover letter.

Take note of specific qualifications that a hiring team may be looking for as well. If an application calls for an ability to teach computer science, for instance, and you have a battery of technical skills up your sleeve, make sure to point this out in your cover letter.

Also, take time to research the educational organization itself to see if they have a specific emphasis on their mission and vision, who the hiring manager is, and what the institution’s local challenges are; you can utilize these details as you create your cover letter.

If a school district is struggling with high dropout rates, for instance, you can take special pains to highlight the fact that your past students have graduated at a 93% rate, well above the national average.

Once you’ve completed your research, you can bring it all together in your cover letter. As you write, make sure to keep things concise yet informative. Include keywords from the job posting and touch on the school district’s struggles that you’ve identified. Explain why you are particularly suited to meet these needs, whether it’s due to past experience, unique education, or even a simple appeal to the fact that you’ve recently graduated and you’re enthusiastic to begin making a difference.

How to Organize a Teaching Cover Letter

While cover letters should always be individually written for each application, they’ll still follow a general pattern in formatting and structure:

Contact Information

Begin with your contact information. This consists of:

  • Your name.
  • Your address.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your email.

This should be followed by the date and the recruiter’s information, including:

  • Their name.
  • Their position.
  • The name of the organization.
  • Their address.

A Greeting

Next, you’ll want to include a greeting. Ideally, this should consist of a simple salutation such as, “Dear” or “To,” followed by the name of the hiring manager, principal, or another representative from the school district that may be reviewing your application.

The Body of the Cover Letter

The body of the cover letter is where you’ll have your first real chance to truly catch the hiring manager’s attention. This can be two or three paragraphs long, although the entire body of the letter should flow together in supporting paragraphs.

Make sure to include a hook that draws the reader in and encourages them to read on. This hook should generally emphasize your exceptional ability to fill the position.

The particular elements in the body of your cover letter can vary depending on the situation. However, they typically revolve around skills, experience, and education.

  1. Skills: While the skills section of your resume is ideal for a list of your abilities, your cover letter should emphasize very specific skills that directly resonate with the job itself. If, for instance, you’re applying for a position as a special education teacher, you may want to identify soft skills such as communication and empathy.
  2. Experience: If you have relevant experience outside of the classroom, make sure to highlight this as well. Activities such as volunteering for children’s programs or tutoring individual students will help beef up your credentials and will be particularly helpful if you have limited classroom experience.
  3. Education: Make sure to call out any education credentials that set you apart. A teacher in New York State, for instance, will need certain teaching certifications in order to teach. If you have these, make sure to draw attention to them.

If you have several skills, experiences, and educational achievements that you’re attempting to list in a small space, consider using bullet points to create clarity and keep things focused.

The Final Paragraph

Once you’ve made your case, use the final paragraph to summarize. Close the points you’ve already made and make sure to incorporate concrete knowledge of the organization, its current needs, and how you can uniquely fill them.

The Close

Your closing should include a brief statement that re-emphasizes your interest in the position. This can be something like “I look forward to hearing from you regarding the special education teacher position.”

After that, include a formal, professional closing such as, “Cordially” or “Sincerely,” and then conclude with your name.

Teaching Cover Letter Template

If you’re still hesitant about where to start, never fear. You’ll find a brief teaching cover letter template below to help you get started. Simply copy and paste this into a document and then carefully personalize it with both your own information and that of the job and organization you’re applying to.

[Your name.]
[Your address.]
[Your phone number.]
[Your email.]

[The date.]

[The hiring manager’s name.]
[The hiring manager’s position.]
[The name of the organization.]
[The hiring manager’s address.]

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

[Body of the letter. Try to keep this between two and three paragraphs. Highlight relevant experiences, unique education, as well as soft and hard skills that apply. Incorporate keywords from the job posting and information about the school district.]

[Final paragraph. Conclude your points and reiterate your knowledge of the organization, its needs, and how you can expertly address them.]

[Closing. This should begin with a re-emphasis of your interest in the position and should be followed by “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or something similar.]

[Your written signature if the letter is a physical copy, otherwise skip this part.]

[Your name.]

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