A trip to the principal's office is what a new teaching graduate needs to succeed. A principal is the key person to impress to land an interview and eventually get hired. Even if there is no job opening listed on the district's website, go ahead and contact your dream school; the principal might remember your name when a position arises. The preferred way to introduce yourself is through a cover letter sent via regular mail addressed to the school's principal.
Write in traditional letter format and open your cover letter with a formal greeting such as "Dear Mr. Smith,". Introduce yourself to the principal and let it be known why you want to teach at that particular school. Do you live in or have a special connection to that community? Explain what attracts you to that school and which position you wish to fill. Time is on the side of new teachers, so if you plan to devote your entire career to the same district, mention that.
Make sure to tell the principal where you earned your degree and the type of certification you hold. According to authors Robert Feirsen and Seth Weitzman, teaching cover letters frequently fail because they have nothing to say. Mention a memorable moment from your student teaching experience so the person reading the cover letter will remember you. Share where you taught, the responsibilities you had and the abilities you have to lead students.
Goals and Teaching Philosophy
The University of Minnesota's School of Public Health recommends including a teaching philosophy and even inserting the URL of a teaching website. The philosophy should offer an idea of how lessons will be structured in your classroom such as, "I believe in Howard Gardener's multiple intelligences and strive to provide differentiated instruction. Students in my classroom will have the opportunity to choose research paper topics and personalize projects."
At the end of your letter, thank the reader and request an interview with a closing such as, "Thank you for reviewing my application materials. I would like to interview with you for this position. My resume is included." Be sure to add "Sincerely," and your given name instead of a nickname. The Boston College School of Education recommends physically signing cover letters. This adds a dash of personality to the resume and shows that it is not a form letter. Taking the extra time shows your level of professionalism and could land you an interview.
Kate Stepanski has been a professional writer since 2006. Her writing has appeared in media outlets like "The Oakland Tribune," “Mun2," “Not For Tourists," “Burner Magazine” and “San Francisco Bay Guardian." She holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from San Francisco State University.