cover letter help please :)

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by 3littlemonkeys, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2012

    I have read the great advice here about personalizing the cover letter and am a little aghast at what I've sent out already. I'm doing an almost complete rewrite in anticipation of my job fair this week...this is the first time I've ever put in an anecdote so please let me know if I've chosen a terrible story! It definitely was the highlight of my years teaching so far, though.

    Also, this letter is written specifically for a certain district; I will have to substitute some generic stuff for the other districts that I don't have a connection to (but would still love to teach in, if offered a position).


    Dear [district] representative:

    It is with great enthusiasm that I am submitting my resume for consideration as a general education teacher at the elementary level. After teaching second and third grade for five years in California, I relocated to [city] last year with the goal of becoming part of the [district] community. I am excited to have achieved Texas EC-6 Generalist certification this past year, and am eager to contribute my experience and passion for learning to the [district] team.

    While preparation and planning is essential to good teaching, I find that the difference between being an adequate teacher and an exemplary one lies in the teachable moments that arise unexpectedly. One rainy morning, my students discovered at recess that the rain had brought out many tiny tree frogs that were hopping all around the basketball area. One more adventurous student caught several frogs in her hands, and begged to keep them; soon the class was clamoring for a class pet. After checking with the administration and conducting some internet research as a class, we determined we would need minimal supplies—mainly a continuous supply of crickets—and soon my lessons had a clear, amphibious, theme to them. I made an observation log in which early finishers could record notes; we researched aquatic habitats in science; we had a handy reference for lessons in life cycles and “cricket subtraction.” I aspire to instill in my students an enthusiasm for learning that will stay with them far beyond their elementary years, and that year I surely achieved it!

    Family members and friends of mine have achieved much success as a result of the dedicated teachers and staff at [district] schools, and I am eager to be a part of this vibrant and growing team. I can be reached on my cell phone at ######## or on my office direct line at ########, and look forward to speaking with you regarding employment opportunities.

    Thank you for your time and consideration,
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 16, 2012

    I like it.

    I'm hoping that your opening will include an actual name though.

    Any way you could work in the word Serindipity??
     
  4. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2012

    it's for a job fair...I don't know which schools will be represented, or who will be at each booth representing each school--so it'd be really hard to get a name on unless I make one letter for each school (that will be hundreds) and then dig through at the fair to find the right letter for the right booth...unless there is another way?

    holy run-on sentence. must get coffee...

    I don't think I follow re: serendipity?
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Serindipity is taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity. It just popped into my mind when I read your letter.

    Go to the job fair site, and see if you can get a list of the schools or districts that will be represented. If so, I bet you can get the names of the Superintendents of each of those districts.

    Yes, it will take time. But your letter will also stand out.
     
  6. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2012

    District superintendents? Not school principals? That would be so much easier! But I didn't think superintendents had anything to do really with hiring...? Still good form?
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Well, principals would be great. But you said hundreds???

    But even having the name of the Superintendent means you went the extra mile and that THIS letter is intended for THIS district. I certainly don't think it would hurt.

    Our district has a Superintendent of Personnel. I think that, if I were applying (and we had more than one high school) I would address it to him.

    Once you have a batch for each district, the districts can be arranged in alphabetical order in your bag. You can pull out the right letter as you wait on line.
     
  8. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Gotcha. I guess as long as I'm doing the <insert district name here> thing, I can include superintendent names as well. Now to think up reasons I want to work in each district that I don't have experience with...research time!
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 16, 2012

    For Alice: "... the teachable moment that arises serendipitously" or "the serendipitous teachable moment" - not that I think either is obligatory. (Alice, your spelling has an "i" too many.)

    I'd move tidbits about districts to the first paragraph, but that's my preference; mentioning key programs or striking mottos (this information can be gleaned from school or district Web sites) can be helpful.

    Your move to Texas was occasioned by something other than seeking a teaching job, yes? Then don't fib: "After teaching second and third grade for five years in California, I relocated to [city] last year. I have achieved Texas EC-6 Generalist certification and am eager to contribute my experience and passion for learning to the [district] team." This can go in the last paragraph.

    There are a few small glitches:

    "preparation and planning are essential"

    "One rainy morning, my students discovered at recess" --> "At recess one rainy morning, my students discovered"

    "One more adventurous student" makes a comparison without something to compare to: use "One of the more adventurous students" or, better, "One adventurous student"

    "a clear amphibious theme" (lose the commas: these adjectives are of different types)

    The verb in "I made an observation log" is ambiguous in context: a more specific verb makes it clearer that the log was for the students: "I designed an observation log"

    Watch out for overuse of "achieve"
     
  10. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Thanks, will get those changes made!

    Re: my relocation...I left CA because I couldn't afford to live on what I made at a private school, and could not get hired on in the public system with all the freezes and layoffs. I came to TX with the intention of teaching here, in the district that I moved into. So it was financial but I did have the direct intention of teaching here and chose this area specifically because of the district. I actually flew out here for a job fair in 2008 and if I'd gotten hired then, I'd have moved then. This time I decided I couldn't wait and moved ahead of the job offer (that will hopefully come someday).

    BUT...all that is obviously too much to put into the letter, and so if what remains sounds like I'm lying, then I don't want to phrase it that way. Thoughts?
     
  11. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    Jul 16, 2012

    I think simply stating that you are relocating is fine.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 16, 2012

    No, 3littlemonkeys: I made an untenable assumption that you'd moved with a significant other. Bad TG! Would someone cue either the wet noodles or the rubber mallets?

    I agree with Rainbowbird that there's no need to explain in this letter that you relocated in hopes of teaching in this district. If there's a clear opening that invites the remark - but not otherwise - save it for the interview.
     
  13. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    Jul 16, 2012

    Heh, no, I moved because of a lack of significant other, lol. Had there been a second income, I could have stuck with the private school job :)

    Okay, I will remove that part. I wanted to show a clear interest that would set me apart from the hundreds of other prospective teachers, but...I suppose I will have to just do that with my amazing personality lol.

    Again, thanks (to everyone who's replied) for the tips; I have always stunk at cover letters and this is so much better than the generic fluff I had before. If only I hadn't already applied with the old one :( But that's what this job fair will be for--to get the new one circulating!
     

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