A recommendation letter can be a powerful asset to have among your job application package. It can complement and support what you’ve stated in your cover letter and resume. And reassure your hiring manager that a professional reference and recommender support every accomplishment you’ve listed in your resume.
When writing a recommendation, it’s important first to consider what use the letter will provide. For example, you may be writing a student teaching recommendation to someone looking to attend graduate school, receive a scholarship, or provide this letter to a college admission board. In this circumstance, they may have been a student teacher and are looking for a recommendation letter to continue their college education.
Alternatively, you may be a teacher providing another teacher recommendation. This would be an instance where a colleague, you both have the opportunity to provide each other with this recommendation for a future teaching job.
If Writing a Recommendation for a Student or Student Teacher
When writing a recommendation for a student-teacher or a college application, it’s important to have the person who asked you for the recommendation provide you with the application, scholarship, or other information. This may include insights that help you to write a recommendation that helps the student. For example, writing about their passions in education. Or about the experience that you shared as a teacher and working with them in the school for the summer or over the period of time you’ve been colleagues.
You should ask the person who is looking for this recommendation to provide you with the application deadline, admissions committee details, and their general teaching goals to better set you up for success when writing.
If you’re a professor, school counselor, or admissions officer writing this recommendation to a student, usually asked for during their junior year or senior year, you may want to speak with the student regarding their teaching goals so you can write the best letter for the student. It’s not uncommon for a student to ask a guidance counselor, professor, or general counselor to write them a recommendation.
Some areas to consider writing about:
- The student’s academic performance.
- The student’s extracurricular activities that show their passion for teaching.
- The student’s test scores or other strong accolades.
These points of interest can surely help your applicant.
If Writing a Recommendation for Another Teacher
Writing a letter of recommendation, from one teacher to another teacher, is fairly common. When writing a letter to another teacher, you should consider mentioning experiences and metrics that support their ability to excel in the teaching position. This may be test prep abilities (for example, helping students prepare for standardized tests). Or their ability to conduct a classroom. Something that makes them stand out from other teachers.
As the letter writer, you may want to take the student’s perspective and talk about the teacher’s class as though you’re a student yourself. This can create a great letter for another teacher as they continue their career.
Roles that may ask for a recommendation letter more than others:
- Art Teacher
- Science Teacher
- Substitute Teacher
Reference Letter or Recommendation Letter
While writing a teacher recommendation letter, it’s important to consider the differences between a reference letter and recommendation letter. A recommendation letter is an evergreen asset that your colleague is going to use throughout their entire career. While a reference letter is often used to directly reference a particular job experience or validate a relevant skill. You’ll know the difference between these two types of letters because the person or professional asking you to write this letter may indicate specific requests that need to be made within your letter.
A strong letter will always reference experiences highlighting particular skills or qualities about that person’s character. Writing a good letter is easy, but making it a powerful letter of recommendation takes thought into what you perceive the future employer to value about the teaching position or other.
Sample Recommendation Letter
Below is a sample letter to use as a reference.
Clayton School for Boys
May 1, 2020
Dear Mr. Antedon —
I’m writing you this recommendation letter to speak to Mr. Anthony’s abilities as a teacher and educator. We worked together during his tenure at the Clayton School for Boys in the Summer of 2019. I had the pleasure of seeing how he was able to bring joy to students who were struggling the most. And made education fun.
Some things that I believe the students valued the most about being able to interact with Mr. Anthony:
- Students expressed that they felt he was willing to connect with them and didn’t make them feel “stupid” for not knowing something.
- Student’s expressed that he made education interesting by discovering how each student decided to learn.
- I was able to see Mr. Anthony grow very quickly as an educator and teacher.
I would love to be able to speak with you about this recommendation. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to call me and I would be happy to help.
Teacher Recommendation Letter
Download this teacher recommendation letter template in Word format. Can be imported as a Google Doc. Instant download. No email required.
Recommendation Letter Templates
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About the author
Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader’s Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.