Excerpt for cover letter check

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Teachling, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 23, 2015

    Here's a very rough section, I am having difficulty in and would love some feedback to correct and make less wordy.

    A perfect illustration of this was with a student who was a new comer with beginner English proficiency. He would habitually close himself when it came time for English language instruction. However, his behavior and willingness improved when I worked with him in small groups and challenged him to find words in English that connected in the Spanish language. I introduced it as a word scavenger hunt and quickly found that he enjoyed finding the connections. I realized that he loved it because it provided him with a means of problem solving and self dependence.

    This is the section I will share a student's growth as an example of differential instruction and biliteracy support.

    Again, thoughts are rough and need refining. Thank you!
     
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  3. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Feb 23, 2015

    My student was a newcomer with beginning English proficiency. He would consistently distance himself in class during English language instruction. We began to work primarily in a small group setting where I challenged him to find English words tied to the Spanish language. This activity was introduced as a word scavenger hunt and he enjoyed finding the connections. I realized this problem solving game significantly improved his confidence, motivation and behavior overall.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 23, 2015

    First, combine your first two sentences, but don't begin with "A perfect illustration": start with the student. You might try giving him a pseudonym (you can put it in quotation marks on first use). It's also not just clear what you mean by "close himself".

    Second, your paragraph should move consistently from problem to solution to success, but your third and fourth sentences reverse that.

    If "ELD" is an acronym in your district, you should probably call what you were doing here "English language development"; chances are that "English language instruction" conveys a different set of assumptions.

    Third, a cover letter is inevitably full of "I" pronouns, because it's about what you do, but this means that unnecessary "I" pronouns should be pruned. "(I) quickly found that" and "I realized that" don't contribute to the flow,

    Fourth, the word for 'word in one language that has a common root with a word in another language' is "cognate".

    Fifth - and I realize you didn't intend this to be part of your passage - the phrase is almost certainly "differentiated instruction".
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 23, 2015

    And, yes, I do generally avoid rewriting people's paragraphs for them these days: this letter needs to sound like you, not me.
     
  6. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 23, 2015

    Yes, these were thoughts and beginnings of what I was formulating. AS for key words - generally we would use "LOI" Language of Instruction. One day is English, one day is Spanish - Dual language model.
    Yes, cognate is the term - one I didn't use here so as not to explain it here and second I was thinking more about 'kid friendly' term in Spanish but I might use it for my letter (thinking target audience).

    Love the feedback! It helps so much to hear someone else's perspective! Thank you all! Now I have great ideas to use and work with.
     
  7. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 23, 2015

    Awesome!!:thumb:
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 23, 2015

    If this was a dual language setting, do say so! Then your "English language instruction" sends still a different message.

    The audience for a cover letter doesn't include children. Have your audience firmly in mind, along with the two or three key reasons that the district-or-whoever should hire YOU, and I think you'll find it easier to achieve the tone you want.

    Unless you're not the actor in a sentence, I'd avoid passives.
     
  9. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 23, 2015

    I'm including my qualifications, skills, experience and background school setting as well, of course. I was wondering about this. I Do think I am guilty of this. Can you give me and example?
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 23, 2015

    Don't recap your resume, please. The goal of the cover letter is to get people interested enough in you that they'll WANT to check out your resume - but the resume itself has independent existence and should be allowed to do the job you made it to do.

    As for the passive, Teachling, that's not an issue in what I've seen of your prose so far.
     
  11. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 24, 2015

    TG, I've been researching here to get a better grasp on what my cover letter should look like and ran across your cover letter advice forum that I wished I had seen earlier. Any ways, I'm still kind of stuck but I get that I have to concentrate on raising interest using anecdotes.

    I've started revamping and wanted to include the unique place I came from (resume won't have details) and wanted to add my thoughts with an anecdote. I put several … between the 2nd & 3rd sentence because I need to tie it better. Here it is -

    I was part of the team selected for a new school of choice program implementation of a XYZ Center. Under this new program, I followed a rigorous and technological enhanced curriculum that provided 21st century learning, which inspired creative and analytical learning skills to the students in my classroom. … While the diverse learning style is challenging, being part of the journey and witnessing their eventual success is well worth the efforts.

    I'm stuck for now..
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 24, 2015

    Wait: Why won't your resume have details about this program? If you were selected from another school, your resume entry about the other school should say so, because that counts as an honor based on that job. Then your entry about the program gives, tersely, some of the rest of what you've said here.

    Tell me another story about you and one or more kids from this program; make it a story that tells something important about you as a teacher.
     
  13. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 24, 2015

    It's hard to explain - but basically my school went through some changes. I was leaving for another school because of the changes but then took another certification so that I could stay and seek the principal out to get rehire back in my school. The new concept was a "brain child" project for my P so she wanted to have teachers she believe in as part of her team for the new school concept. We were/are till the end of this SY a school with great rating considering - 90% economic disadvantage. We were among the top across the state in reading achievement last year.

    I will get back to you on a story about the kids. I'm just trying to finish up before I go back to school tomorrow. We've had two bad weather days this week and so I've been trying to apply for other districts before going back to school.
     
  14. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 24, 2015

    My kids stories tend to be on numerous students who did not passed reading in Spanish in 4th grade and not only passing in 5th grade but took it in English for the first time in their lives. In an isolated story, I had one student who was XX lazyyyyyy. I found out that part of his problem was that he struggle with reading and was reluctant to switch from Spanish to English. It took me so time but I finally convinced him to try testing in English. I worked with him in small groups and did fluency checks to help him improve. He started at something like 50 wpm in English and finish the year at about 90 in English. Ends up he like the fluency checks and it became a competition with him--- always wanting to do better. In the end, he took the test and passed it the first time in English.
    Also in this whole process, I had him tested for Dyslexia but he wasn't diagnose till after the state assessment. Given all this, he did Phenomenon.
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 24, 2015

    Good story. Two questions:

    1. What would you want it to mean to a district or school looking to hire for a job?

    2. Think about the job(s) for which you're applying and what you know about the district/HR office/whatever (henceforth "district", if you don't mind) that's in charge of hiring. Is what this story says about you something that's going to resonate with the district and meet its likeliest needs?
     
  16. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Feb 24, 2015

    1. The idea that as caring teachers, you are always looking for a way in to capture a kid and show how much they are capable of
    2. I would like to think it will - the only think I know for sure is that this district has a good reputation. Given that - they are aggressive in their recruiting - one of the highest paying in my area. There's nothing else given their 'Pool of teacher for SY2015-16 that I can go by. For me it's about being close to home, saving time on commute and toll fees and the reputation this district has.
    I'm just trying to be proactive since there's lots I don't know about what my current district will do for next year. I'm one of many who are trying to find options given the uncertainty for next school year.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Feb 25, 2015

    1. See if you can be more specific: think about THIS district and THIS job, and what you want the story to tell about YOU particularly, not just anyone. You needn't answer right here.

    2. See #1. Let me explain:

    A cover letter is a species of advertising. The first rule of advertising is to know one's target audience and its needs. If you recoil from seeing this through the lens of advertising, think of it in terms of essay rubrics: one writes to an audience (a specific district) and one writes with a purpose (to get hired for a PARTICULAR job).

    The district Web site, which probably has a mission statement, and the district's press releases can give a general idea what the district thinks is important; there might also be a school Web page with a motto or photos or other information that can help you see which buzzwords are likeliest to be in play generally in THIS place. If all else fails, the local news media can be helpful, and the media are increasingly accessible online. I know it sounds like a lot of work to go to for just one or two sentences at most - but this is the way you show you've done some homework as regards the district.

    In a cover letter, It's also very important to address specific needs - in this case, EXACTLY what kind of position the district is looking to fill. The announcement for the job, or past announcements for the very same job, should give some clues as to the district's preferences. Now this doesn't mean that you necessarily have to get rid of a nifty story from second grade if you're writing a letter for a seventh grade job. What it does mean, though, is that you might have to change how you frame the anecdote: you may have to be a bit more explicit as to how that experience is relevant.
     

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