I owe a lot to this forum. There are just so many knowledgeable and generous people around here. Again, would someone please be so kind to critique my cover letter. You can be as brutally honest as you want to. A million thanks!!! And here it is: Dear Ms. District Director of Human Resources: I am seeking a mathematics teaching position in any of your schools. Presently, I work as a substitute teacher in middle schools at the zzz school district concentrating in math and science. When I see students who are not able to do simple fractions or know what the meaning of the variable, x, is, it motivates me deeply to double my efforts to explain math in ways that they can understand. Applied mathematics has been in my blood since childhood when I ventured in business from selling peanuts and bananas, to renting magazines to help the family income. So my goal has been to bridge the gap between mathematics in and outside school which are different and often unconnected to one another. I am also a chemical engineer so adding chemistry teacher to my resume is a no-brainer. For now I’m both a math teacher in school and at home to my 5th grade son who disliked math. But lo and behold, I changed him from hating math to becoming a math tutor to his classmate. There is no such thing as a math gene. I also tell my students that math is: “inch by inch is a cinch, and yard by yard is hard”. I used this principle in preparing for my CSET math exams, one of the hardest exams I have ever taken. I would be glad to tell you more about myself when we meet. Yours very truly, Galois

I think it has good bones,but needs to be tightened up a bit. Unfortunately, dinner's in the oven and Kira still hasn't started her homework. Be back (much) later!

Alice, you are wonderful! A million thanks. Here's another try (using your suggestions): Dear Mr. Principal: I am seeking a mathematics teaching position in your school. Presently, I work as a substitute teacher in middle schools at the zzz school district concentrating in math and science. When I see students who are not able to do simple fractions or know what the meaning of the variable x is, it motivates me deeply to find ways to help them. I tried to explain math in terms that they could understand, that is, by applying the language of math used in the business world. Applied mathematics has been in my blood since childhood when I ventured in business from distributing newspapers, to selling peanuts and bananas to augment the family income. So my goal in teaching has been to bridge the gap between mathematics in and outside school which is perceived to be different and often unconnected to one another. My job as a chemical engineer also gave me the experience of mathematical applications in the industrial world which would be helpful in interpreting abstract math clearer. For now I’m both a math teacher in school and at home to my 5th grade son who disliked math. But lo and behold, I helped him love math to the extent of becoming a math tutor to his classmate. “There is no such thing as a math gene”. I also tell my students that math is: “inch by inch is a cinch, and yard by yard is hard”. I used this principle in preparing for my CSET math exams. Please give my application consideration. I could be reached at 000 Yours very truly,

I think you have to get your tenses straight; Teacher Groupie can help here. You change from "I've" to "I tried"-- one implies that you

Thanks Alice for your patience and correction. You are so kind and generous with your time. Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you. They say writing is rewriting. Does this look or sound better? Dear Ms. Principal: I am seeking a mathematics teaching position in your school. Presently, I work as a substitute teacher in middle schools at the zzz school district concentrating in math and science. When I saw students who were not able to do simple fractions or knew what the meaning of the variable x was, it motivated me deeply to find ways to help them. I tried to explain math in terms that they could understand, that is, by applying the language of math used in the business world. Applied mathematics has been in my blood since childhood when I ventured in business from distributing newspapers, to selling peanuts and bananas to augment the family income. So my goal in teaching has been to bridge the gap between mathematics in and outside school which is perceived to be different and often unconnected to one another. My job as a chemical engineer also gave me the experience of mathematical applications in the industrial world which would be helpful in interpreting abstract math clearer. For now I’m both a math teacher in school and at home to my 5th grade son who disliked math. But lo and behold, I helped him love math to the extent of becoming a math tutor to his classmate. This is what I love about teaching: I’m able to see, first hand, the difference I can make on a struggling student. But even if I don’t see, by the mere fact that I have done something good – that in itself is my reward. Please give my application consideration. I could be reached at 000. Yours very truly, Galois

You are right Alice, I also have been waiting for TeacherGroupie's most valuable comments. But at the same time she is giving me the opportunity to correct myself through your most helpful suggestions.

What Alice noticed about tenses in the first paragraph is that your substituting is in the present tense - I work, I see, it motivates me - but then comes the simple past tense I tried, which suggests that you no longer do anything for these struggling students! Continue with present tense here (though you could get away with a present perfect I have tried). I'm not fond of that verb try, however, for two reasons: it's a bit informal for a business letter, and it implies that you don't succeed. You could shift the phrase find ways from the previous sentence: When I see students who do not grasp simple fractions or the meaning of the variable x, it motivates me deeply to help them. I find ways to explain math in terms that they can understand... In the most recent version of your letter, you've got some issues in organization. Your first paragraph asks for a job and tells about your experience as a substitute. Your second paragraph starts with applied mathematics in your childhood and then states your goal as a teacher. Your third paragraph starts with your background in chemical engineering, then tells about teaching your son and why you love teaching. We need paragraphs that are about you as teacher, so let's rearrange a bit: I am seeking a mathematics teaching position in your school. My goal in teaching is to bridge the gap between mathematics in school and mathematics outside of school: these are widely perceived as different and often unconnected to one another. To help students see the connections, I may draw on my childhood experiences, when I augmented the family income by distributing newspapers or selling peanuts and bananas. I can also point to mathematical applications in the industrial world, which are helpful in interpreting abstract math more clearly, on the basis of my background as a chemical engineer. What I love about teaching is that I can see at first hand the difference I can make to a struggling student. Presently, I work as a substitute teacher in middle schools at the zzz school district concentrating in math and science. When students do not grasp simple fractions or the meaning of the variable x, I find ways to explain math in terms that they can understand. My son, a fifth grader, disliked math until I started working with him. Now he loves math to the extent that he has become a math tutor to one of his classmates! Please consider my application. I can be reached at 000. (Galois, am I correct in inferring that those peanuts, bananas, and newspapers weren't in California?)

TeacherGroupie - you have the Midas touch! You are like the elves to the shoemaker that when I woke up everything is done. You taught me several chapters of English writing in just a few words: 1. Oganization; 2. Using strong verbs and the right kind of verbs (keeping a bag of verbs); 3. Tenses; 4. Economy and so on. A billion, billion thanks. Your inference is right, but would that be a drawback? Is that a negative? I mean not being Californian and teaching in California? Most importantly, will this cover letter attract a principal's attention? Again thank you and thanks to Alice too for helping me start at the right track.

You're not a native speaker of American English, are you? Then you'd probably bring welcome diversity to a high school math department: in your final letters please change "my childhood experiences, when" to "my childhood experiences in ____, when".

No, I'm not a native speaker of American English, TeacherGroupie. Thanks for the comment and the addition of diversity, after all, all teachers in California are required to be CTEL/CLAD certified. Again many thanks.