A recommendation letter for a teacher is a formal document used to validate a teacher’s resume or credentials.
A recommendation letter for a teacher provides information on the teacher’s characteristics, qualities, and capabilities.
A recommendation letter for a teacher is used by teachers with no experience, such as recent graduates, to help strengthen their resumes. A recommendation letter for a teacher can also be used by teachers applying for positions in universities or colleges to help them secure positions in teaching programs or educational institutions.
This recommendation letter can also be used by experienced teachers applying for higher positions. The letter, in this case, can be used to help advance the teacher to a higher position.
First things first: Who can write a letter of recommendation?
Some job postings specify that you must be a direct supervisor to the teacher to write a letter of recommendation. If this is the case, a present or former principal, vice-principal, school head, director, or someone of similar caliber would be required to write the letter.
Generally, however, anyone can write a letter of recommendation. Most often, teachers ask trusted colleagues to write letters of recommendation for them. This can include mentors, members of the same team, principals, or even classroom assistants. It is usually best to request someone write the letter with whom you have a strong, professional relationship. Go with your best judgment.
For instance, if you are questioning whether someone is qualified to write you a letter of recommendation (or if you are the writer if you are questioning that you should be the one writing the letter), you should probably pick another colleague to write your recommendation. You should never have to question what may be said in the letter, especially if you will not be seeing the letter before it is sent away to a potential employer.
What Information Should You Ask Your Colleague Before Start Writing?
The first thing that you should ask your colleague for is who you should be addressing the letter to. Professional letters of recommendation follow a specific format and include the name and address of the person who will be receiving the letter. If your colleague does not know who the letter should be addressed to, ask them for the school and the position they will be applying for. If you have this information, you can do your due diligence. Looking at the job posting on the school’s website usually specifies who one should be contacted to apply for a position. If it does, make sure that the letter is addressed to this person, instead of utilizing a generic “To Whom It May Concern”.
Another important piece of information to have from your colleague is what position they are applying for. This helps to further tailor your letter of recommendation. By knowing the position for which they are applying, you can better speak to the accomplishments and experience of the person you are writing for. It is also acceptable to ask them for their resume, especially if you have known the person only in the setting of their current school. Many resumes include a list of achievements that people have reached during their time in specific positions. You can use these to your advantage when writing your recommendation.
How do you format a letter of recommendation?
Letters of recommendation should always be formatted professionally. There are templates that you can utilize to write these in programs such as Google Docs and Microsoft Word, or you could find a template from below. There is no one tried and true way to write a letter, however, all professional letters follow strict formatting rules that adhere to business standards. We are including an example below for your convenience!
How to Craft a Recommendation Letter for a Teacher
A colleague writing a recommendation letter for a teacher is in the best position because he/she has worked with the applicant. A fellow teacher provides a perspective that the resume and cover letter may not provide. Therefore, a teacher’s recommendation letter must be well structured to ensure that all the necessary information is captured. A recommendation letter for a teacher must hence contain the following information within its structure:
Section 1: Letterhead
The letterhead of a recommendation letter for a teacher should be written at the top left corner of the letter. It provides all the relevant information concerning the sender. The information includes:
Date of writing
Colleagues writing a recommendation letter for a teacher should start by indicating the date of writing. The date of writing plays an important role for the recipient by letting him/her know when the recommendation letter was written.
The recommending teacher’s full name should be stated in the recommendation letter for a teacher. The full name identifies who the writer of the letter is.
The letter of recommendation for a teacher should also contain the writer’s role in the school where he/she works. The writer can state titles including teacher, head of the department, principal, etc.
Teachers writing a recommendation letter for a colleague must also state the name of the school /institution where he/she works. This helps the recipient to easily trace the recommender.
The complete school address must be indicated by the writer of the recommendation letter for a teacher. The address should contain the city, state, and zip code.
Preferred contact (optional)
The recommender may also include his or her contact information on the letterhead. The information may include an email and a contact number that the recipient may use to contact the recommender.
Section 2: Introduction
The introduction of the letter should contain the following information:
Name and address
The recommender must state his/her name as well as the recipients. In addition, their complete address containing the city, state, and zip code must also be entered.
The recommender must then state a professional greeting to the recipient. After that, the recommender can address the recipient directly, which demonstrates personal initiative. However, if the recipient is unknown to them, the recommender can address the letter ‘To whom it may Concern.’
Introduce the applicant
The introductory section of the letter should also contain the name of the applicant. This helps the recipient identify the applicant that the recommender is writing about.
Section 3: Body
The letter’s body should contain several paragraphs concerning the applicant, depending on how well the two colleagues are acquainted. A recommender with a strong relationship with the applicant should ensure that the body of the letter contains the following information:
State your qualifications
The body of the recommendation letter for a teacher starts by stating the qualities possessed by the applicant. The qualities stated should be written based on the recommender’s observation of the applicant.
Your positive assessment of the applicant
The recommendation letter for a teacher must contain a positive, impactful assessment of the applicant. The assessment should include the following information:
Applicant’s role and position in a school
Colleagues writing the letter should also state the role played by the teacher in the school and any position he/she occupies. They can state that the applicant is, for example, the coach of the athletics team, etc.
Training and skills
Information on the applicant’s training and skills should then be provided. The recommending teacher should ensure that the information provided is relevant to the position; for example, a teacher applying to work in kindergarten should be patient, flexible, and have relevant certification such as a certified college or university degree.
A recommendation letter for a teacher should also contain contributions made by the applicant to depict his/her ability to go beyond the job description. The contributions stated should have a long-lasting impact on the school community.
Student-teacher tasks and responsibilities
The recommender should demonstrate student-teacher tasks that illustrate the applicant’s work ethic and ability to work productively with the students. The recommender should also state the applicant’s ability to carry out his/her responsibilities.
Suitability for employment
The information provided on the teacher’s skills and qualifications should be used by recommenders to state why they think the applicant is suitable for the position. This illustrates that the recommender is confident in the applicant’s abilities.
Give a few examples
A teacher writing the recommendation letter must provide a few examples illustrating his/her earlier points concerning the applicant’s skill and qualifications. The examples provided should be specific and have a positive outcome.
Section 4: Conclusion
The final section of the recommendation letter for a teacher should contain the following information:
The recommending party should start by restating the recommendation made at the beginning of the recommendation letter on behalf of the applicant to demonstrate his confidence in the applicant. The recommendation made should be unyielding to make a lasting impression on the recipient in the final section of the letter.
Invite for further contact
The recommendation letter writer should also offer to answer any further questions or points made in the letter. This demonstrates that the recommender is confident in the relationship shared with his/her colleague
Provide your details
A teacher writing a recommendation letter for a colleague should provide the following details when concluding a recommendation letter for a teacher:
- Contact: If the recommender did not provide their contact information in the introductory section of the recommendation letter, then they should provide it at the end. This ensures that the recipient knows how to get in touch with the recommender.
- Name: The recommender should state their full name in the conclusion of the recommendation letter for a teacher.
- Signature: The recommender should conclude the recommendation letter with their signature certifying the contents of the letter.
Do’s and Don’ts for Writing
When writing a recommendation letter for a colleague, there are certain do’s and don’ts that the recommender must consider ensuring that the recommendation letter is effective.
The following are the dos of writing a recommendation letter for a teacher:
- State your relationship: Colleagues writing the recommendation letter should state exactly how they know the applicant. The recommender should explain what position they held and what position was held by the applicant that led to their eventual interaction.
- Keep the letter structured: To keep the recommendation letter for a teacher well-structured, colleagues should try and ensure it is only one page long. This is because the recipient is likely to be busy; as such, writing a lengthy letter can negatively affect his/her first impression of the recommendation letter.
- Focus on important qualities: Teachers writing the recommendation letter should focus only on a few strong qualifies that they would like the recipient to consider. These qualities should highlight the applicant’s best attributes.
- Always give examples: Examples strengthen the recommendation letter for the applicant. The examples used should demonstrate how the teacher achieved success and excelled at their job.
- Focus on the job description : Colleagues should request the applicant to provide them with a job description of the position they are applying for. This will help ensure that the recommender only provides information that is relevant to the position.
- Proofread: Proofread your letter before you print. And then proofread again before sending the letter or giving it to your colleague. Grammatical errors seem unprofessional in recommendations and leave a bad impression of yourself. You never know when you will run across someone who has read your recommendation.
The following are the don’ts of writing a recommendation letter for a teacher:
- Writing for friends: Writers of a recommendation letter for a teacher must have a professional relationship with the applicant to enable them to write it. Friends are often viewed as biased, and a written recommendation letter can negatively impact the applicant’s chances.
- General descriptions without examples: Recommending teachers should try and avoid providing general descriptions without examples, as this may demonstrate that the applicant is not well known to them. Instead, the recommendation letter for a teacher should be specific in its description and contain relevant examples.
- Writing for candidates, you don’t believe in: Teachers should never write a recommendation letter for an applicant whose ability they are unsure of. Writing a recommendation letter for an applicant that the recommender does not believe in directly affects future professional perceptions by others and directly impacts their credibility.
- Don’t be negative: The information provided in the recommendation letter should positively portray the applicant’s professional character. Providing negative information can affect an applicant’s chances of being considered for the position.
Teacher Recommendation Letter Templates
Sample Recommendation Letter for a Teacher
Jannette Doe (YOUR INFORMATION)
123 Park St
Anywhere, MA 12345
January 1, 20XX
Blythe Smith (INFORMATION OF RECIPIENT)
123 School Rd
Anywhere, MA 12345
Dear Ms. Smith: (If you know who the letter should be going to, address it as such. Do not use “To Whom It May Concern”.)
I would like to inform you of my recommendation of Linda Johnson (name of applicant) for the open third grade teaching position at your school. As the head of the fourth grade team here at Adams Elementary, I have had the pleasure of working with Ms. Johnson for the past three years of her career. I served as Ms. Johnson’s mentor teacher through her Master’s degree and have thoroughly enjoyed watching her blossom into a capable leader on our team.
Ms. Johnson has always been driven to forward her skills as a teacher. Ms. Johnson came to us while she was working on her Master’s degree, which she finished early, graduating with distinction. She took on many responsibilities during her tenure with our school, including advisor to the drama club and the head of our professional development committee this past year. Linda embraces all opportunities for professional development and willingly accepts feedback to more readily engage students in her classroom.
Ms. Johnson has the unique ability to build a rapport with all students. Ms. Johnson has worked with a variety of age groups during her tenure and makes unique connections with each student she comes across. This connection helps her to teach even the most advanced concepts to her students easily and is truly marvelous to observe. She has excellent written and verbal skills when communicating with parents and administrators and is often praised on her professionalism by members of the staff.
Linda accomplishes all tasks with great initiative and a positive attitude. I recommend Ms. Johnson to you without reservation. If you have any further questions with regard to her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Ms. Jannette Doe (HAND SIGN YOUR PHYSICAL COPY!)
Fourth Grade Team Lead
Sample Letters and Examples
Frequently Asked Questions
Anyone can write a letter of recommendation. Most often, teachers ask trusted colleagues to write letters of recommendation for them. This can include mentors, members of the same team, principals, or even classroom assistants. It is usually best to request someone write the letter with whom you have a strong, professional relationship. Go with your best judgment.
The first thing that you should ask your colleague for is who you should be addressing the letter to. If your colleague does not know who the letter should be addressed to, ask them for the school and the position they will be applying for. It is also acceptable to ask them for their resume, especially if you have known the person only in the setting of their current school.
Letters of recommendation should always be formatted professionally. You can use recommendation letter templates to write these in programs such as Google Docs and Microsoft Word. There is no one tried and true way to write a letter, however, all professional letters follow strict formatting rules that adhere to business standards.