Please critique my cover letter!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by crimsonstarr, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. crimsonstarr

    crimsonstarr Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 26, 2012

    Hello! I am new to these forums and would like someone to critique my cover letter. I have found that it is much easier to write them for others than myself. I am hoping to send out the cover letter with my resume to several schools. Thank you for any help you all can provide. :)


    Dear ____________,
    I am interested in applying for a teaching position, on the secondary school level, in your school district. As a 2011 graduate of __________, I have student teaching experience on the eighth, eleventh, and twelfth grade levels in history. I acquired my certification through ____________’s alternative pathway program in May 2012.

    I student taught eighth grade U.S. history at ______ Middle School and eleventh and twelfth grade U.S. history and government at ________ High School. I came into the student teaching experience feeling very anxious and unsure, wondering whether I would be able to "cut it" as a teacher. There were so many things that I did not even anticipate before I had this opportunity; however, I am thankful for the opportunity because it reinforced my decision to do this. There is nothing more rewarding than a student who finally has the lightbulb moment. For me, the first such moment was when my eighth graders, who are removed by almost seventy years from World War II, connected to the topic of Japanese internment and reflected on what such a situation would make them feel. My twelfth graders debated amongst themselves about freedom of speech rights and different tests of the first amendment after being split into groups and discussing different court cases. With both my middle schoolers and my high schoolers, I became a facilitator of knowledge and they were able to discover the truths of these topics and make sense of them. We did a variety of activities to reinforce their newfound knowledge because one size does not fit all. I am dedicated to finding ways for my students to reach their potential and I believe that all students can be taught.

    With my dedication to my students, parental involvement, and lifelong learning, I know I would make a positive contribution to your school district. I would welcome an interview and hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

    Sincerely,
    ______________
     
  2.  
  3. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 26, 2012

    Others are much better at this than I am, but I would definitely not include that you were anxious, unsure, and didn't know if you'd cut it as a teacher. Even if the point is to show your growth--I wouldn't put those words or that thought in anyone's head.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Jul 26, 2012

    I agree with 3littlemonkeys, I would not include the anxious and unsure part. Also, HOW did your middle schoolers connect with WWII and the internment camps? Go into more detail with that story and skip the other story. Go into more depth with one story.
     
  5. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 26, 2012

    I'd start the second paragraph at "There is nothing more rewarding..." and cut out everything before it.

    Your last paragraph sounds very cookie-cutter...I'd at least change "lifelong learning" to "commitment to lifelong learning" or similar, because you haven't lived your whole life yet :)

    In your first paragraph you have a typo--should be that you did student teaching "in" various grades not "on" grades.

    And I agree, pick one story and develop it more.
     
  6. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 26, 2012

    I agree with the previous comments. Most cover letters that I have seen are more general in nature--just highlighting some of your "selling points" that you can further elaborate upon in your interview. I would keep it as concise as possible. Just a couple of logistical things I noticed: I would change the word "decision" to "choice" when referring to becoming a teacher. Also, at the end of the 2nd to last paragraph, you say the word dedicated, but then use the word dedication in the first sentence of the last paragraph. I would take one of those words out so it doesn't sound redundant. Good luck with your job search!
     
  7. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 26, 2012

    I would take out the bolded parts highlighted and add something else. You could try doing some research on the school and tailoring your cover letter to their mission statement or philosophy. There is also no need to go into detail about what you did for every single grade level. Just pick something and focus on it or make it more general. There are also some word usage problems in the rest of your letter. For instance, you reflect on how a situation makes you feel, not on what.
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jul 26, 2012

    Anything that they can read in your resume, take out of your cover letter. Don't repeat yourself. Instead use your cover letter to sell yourself by expanding on a skill set that you have or perhaps an experience (even outside of the classroom) that shows how wonderful you are.

    We just hired a math teacher who did that in his cover letter and it is what stood out from the hundreds of applicants we got :) Good luck to you!!
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jul 26, 2012

    You gave a lot of information about why you want to teach. Not nearly as much about why they should hire you as opposed to someone else.

    You want to present yourself as a capable professional, and I'm not really sure your cover letter shows the confidence that it should.
     
  10. crimsonstarr

    crimsonstarr Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 27, 2012

    Let's try this one again!

    Thank you for all of the helpful comments. I went ahead and re-worked most of this. Hopefully it is a little better. Why does cover letter writing have to be so hard?

    Dear ___________,
    I am interested in applying for a social studies teaching position in your school district. I graduated in 2011 from __________ with a bachelor’s degree in social studies and acquired my certification through their alternative pathway program in May 2012.

    There is nothing more rewarding than a student who finally has the lightbulb moment. For me, the first such moment was when my eighth graders, who are removed by almost seventy years from World War II, connected to the topic of Japanese internment and reflected on what such a situation would make them feel. Upon entering the classroom, my students had to pick their own seats, not realizing that they were also picking their “families.” Before the exercise began, they answered a set of questions about whom and what they value the most in life. They were told that the people with them are their family and they will have to leave home tomorrow, with no idea when they will be able to return. Individually, they were allowed to bring three personal items each. They wrote these items down on slips of paper and put them in their ziplock bag (their “suitcase”). Meanwhile, I walked around the classroom in my role as the “government” and slowly began to see what they had chosen to pack. The “government” took an item (or two) from every student and told them that there was not room for that or that itemed would not be needed. After this part of the activity, I asked the students how they felt about going somewhere without knowing where it was or if they could see their special people again and having their “personal belongings” taken away. Many students asked “Why would someone do that?” This led the way into our lesson about Japanese internment after World War II. My students had more of an interest in the topic and later, could talk to me about the reasons for the internment and why they agreed or disagreed with that action by the government.

    Students will learn easier when given a connection to the material and I believe that it is my responsibility to find the best route to understanding for my students. I am not afraid to try something different if it means that my students will “get it.” I am dedicated to my students and their success, and would keep their parents involved in the goings-on of the classroom. In short, I know that I would be an excellent addition to your school district. I would welcome an interview and hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.

    Sincerely,
    __________________
     
  11. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jul 27, 2012

    Okay one last thing (I love the changes you made btw-- makes you much more personable I think :) )-- when I send a cover letter to schools I check out their web-site and I try to find areas that they're trying to work on-- for example, maybe increasing study skills, technology, multicultural curriculum, whatever. And I sneak it little details that would go along with those areas in my cover letter to show them (without being obvious about it) "Your school wants to work on these things... I'm the person to do it!"

    Perhaps that is something you can tweak for each school/district that you send you application to. :)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 142 (members: 0, guests: 124, robots: 18)
test