please critque my cover letter

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by tripletsteacher, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. tripletsteacher

    tripletsteacher Companion

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Hi, Please take a look at my cover letter and offer any advice to improve. it is a rough draft quickly prepared. The main staff development goals of this school based on my reasearch are
    1. differentiated instruction
    2. guided reading
    3. inclusion
    I learned of those from my school's website on the board minutes. Do you think my cover letter fits with all three?



    I am most pleased to apply for an elelmentary teaching position at xyz school.

    My previous experiences student teaching, full time substituting, and substituting for inclusion students have prepared me to meet the needs of all students. Cooperative hands on learning along with individualized and differentiated instruction were a staple of teaching methods used. I designed guided reading lessons along with writer's workshop and taught relevant real life math lessons using manipulatives. Alternative assessments, such as, portfolios, rubrics, and performance assessments in combination with traditional tests enabled me to evaluate children individually and comprehensively. My ability to adapt curriculum to meet the needs of inclusion students allowed success for all students.

    When I left the teaching field to become a full time parent, I understood the importance of continuous learning in the education field. My current research and review include The four blocks literacy model, differentiated instruction, and technology in the elementary classroom. In addition, I continue to update my knowledge through educational websites and professional journals.

    It is my belief students learn differently. My goal as a teacher is to seek and implement methods for all students to succeed. I would welcome the opportunity to develop and promote success in all areas for XYZ students. I look forward to discussing how my unique life experiences and education can advance your school's goals.

    sincerley.


    tripletsteacher
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Hi, and welcome.

    Here goes, atlhough I'll admit I'm beat and probably not at my best:

    Opening sentence: "elelmentary" mis spelled. I also think you should add more to the opening: perhaps the grades for which you're certified.

    Should "hands on" be hyphenated?

    You mentioned elsewhere that you have triplets and that they attend the school. I think you should include a reference here. As the mom of 3, I know that multitasking is part of the job description of a mom of 3 small kids.

    I also think that your letter reads almost like a form letter.

    We see very little of YOU in the letter. Can you give us any concrete examples of your claims? How you "adapt curriculum to meet the needs of inclusion students allowed success for all students." In my opinion, one concrete story is worth all the educational buzzwords in the book. Tell us about the time you showed a special ed kid how to do his nine times tables using his fingers, or the time you taught another the HOMES acronym for the Great Lakes.

    Hope that helps!
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 24, 2007

    In the phrase "cooperative hands on learning", yes, it should be hyphenated: when two-word compounds are used as attributive adjectives, they get hyphenated. No hyphen if it's a predicate adjective, however: "the learning was hands on."

    I agree that this letter needs a punchy anecdote, something that sells you personally as opposed to the sort of catalogue of your skills and background that your resume almost certainly already is.
     
  5. tripletsteacher

    tripletsteacher Companion

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    Jan 24, 2007

    thanks for your responses! I am unsure how to proceed now. I thought specific expamples would not cover every key point this particular school is looking for. I was also told by a resume cover letter expert in teacher cover letters to use only one sentence in the opening. I will revise and repost. thanks again!
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 24, 2007

    "Only one sentence in the opening"? That would depend on the sentence.

    There's no way a cover letter can cover every key point a school might be looking for, and that's not what it's for, anyway.

    Imagine for a moment that there's another candidate for the job whose resume is a very near match for yours. What else could you say that would set you apart from that other candidate? What could you say that would intrigue the principal or whoever enough to pick up YOUR resume and read it?

    That's what the cover letter is for.
     
  7. kermy

    kermy Companion

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    Feb 14, 2007

    hello,
    I would love to have another person look at my cover letter as well. Thanks if you have time!!


    Your position as a long term substitute caught my eye because I ‘ve heard good things about your district. This sparked my interest and I saw this as a great opportunity to become part of your district. This letter will tell you just a few reasons why I will be perfect for this position.

    I know that being a team member and having great communication with the students, parents and staff is very important to a child’s education. I have been able to be a part of a team during my student teaching. We had a very interested, non-negotiating parent. I had to work hard with the teacher and the parent to make sure that everything was done properly to keep the parent happy. I also suggested that she be in our classroom during the week, so that she could see exactly what we were doing. I know that being a part of this team would benefit me in becoming a more successful teacher.

    As I was getting my degree, I was a math tutor for K -6th grade. I would help with math for a hour a day at three different school sites. I also had to go to meetings every week to better understand ways to help student in math. This better prepared me to deal with any grade level math and getting the students involved in liking and understanding math.

    As a substitute in the X Unified School District, I have also become very flexible. I have had teachers that are really too sick to write thorough lesson plans. So I had to have ideas on how to make a lesson fun and understandable for students. I have also had to have other things to do when I get through my lesson earlier, whether it be a game or an extension of what we are learning. I want to make sure that when I leave a classroom, it was a fun, educational day and not just another substitute coming in and just getting paid.

    I am extremely excited about this position. I look forward to hearing from you to discuss my qualification for the position. I am a hard working person and feel that I would be a positive asset to your school. I appreciate your consideration.

    Respectfully,
     
  8. JenL

    JenL Comrade

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    Feb 14, 2007

    tripletsteacher...
    i see some of you come out in this letter but i think you could take it a step further....
    some specific exampes are beneficial....however you don't want to make it too lengthy....
    i don't mind the one line opener...however, i don't see why it is a necessity.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 14, 2007

    Hi Kermy,

    You open with :Your position as a long term substitute caught my eye because I ‘ve heard good things about your district. This sparked my interest and I saw this as a great opportunity to become part of your district. This letter will tell you just a few reasons why I will be perfect for this position.
    -- I think the tone is a little too informal. The position caught your eye... it doesn't sound as though you're actively trying to get into THAT school. I would try to sound a bit more as though I wanted to work THERE.

    When you say: We had a very interested, non-negotiating parent. I had to work hard with the teacher and the parent to make sure that everything was done properly to keep the parent happy
    -- the implication is that things only had to be done properly to satisfy a cranky parent. You want to imply that things would be done properly for the good of the kids, not to make things easier.

    When you say: I know that being a part of this team would benefit me in becoming a more successful teacher.
    -- it's quite a shift in gears, from satisfying a difficult parent to joining their team. It belongs in a different paragraph. But honestly, I would drop the line entirely. They're not interested in making you a better teacher; they want to hire teachers who are already going to be successful.

    When you say: As I was getting my degree, I was a math tutor for K -6th grade. I would help with math for a hour a day at three different school sites. I also had to go to meetings every week to better understand ways to help student in math. This better prepared me to deal with any grade level math and getting the students involved in liking and understanding math.
    --- can you give a concrete example of a kid who now likes math as a result of your intervention? Or one who finally learned to find a LCM? Or something?


    " I have had teachers that are really too sick to write thorough lesson plans."
    -- I'm no English teacher, but don't you mean "Who were too sick"??

    "I have also had to have other things to do when I get through my lesson earlier, whether it be a game or an extension of what we are learning"-- Do you want to phrase this a bit more professionally? Perhaps say that you were able to compensate for lessons that ran under time by supplementing the material-- or something along those lines?

    "I want to make sure that when I leave a classroom, it was a fun, educational day and not just another substitute coming in and just getting paid."
    -- I see what you mean, but again, I think you want to formalize it a bit. You want to ensure that the students temporarily in your care received as complete a lessson as they would have had the classroom teacher been in class-- or something similar.


    I think that overall you have some good ideas, but you want to really emphasize the professional aspects of your application. Let them know that YOU are the person for this job, and why.
     
  10. kermy

    kermy Companion

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    Feb 15, 2007

    Thanks, I really appreciate your suggestion!
     

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