It’s an honor when a teaching colleague asks for a reference, but do you know how to write one? Or maybe you’re the one applying for a job, and you need to request a reference letter for a teaching job.
In either case, knowing how to write a reference letter, and having a sample, will come in handy. Read advice on writing a recommendation letter for a teacher, and review samples as well.
Requesting and Writing a Reference
Writing a Reference Letter
If you’re writing a letter for a teacher, use samples to guide your own writing. A letter sample can help you decide what kind of content you should include in your letter, as well as how to format it.
While letter samples are a great starting point for your own letter, you should always tailor a letter to fit the particular person you are writing the letter for, and the information they ask you to include.
Requesting a Reference Letter
If you’re requesting a reference letter for a teaching position from a colleague or previous boss, you might send a reference letter sample to the writer to help guide their own letter.
Be sure to also provide them with clear instructions on what information you need them to include and give them a resume or list of your skills and experiences to help them write the letter.
You don’t want them to simply copy and paste the sample reference letter. In fact, there are a number of things to think about when asking someone for a letter of reference for a teaching job.
Review guidelines for requesting a reference letter before you ask your references to endorse you.
How to Write Recommendation Letter for a Teacher
Follow business letter format. Use official business letter format when writing your letter of recommendation. If time is of the essence, you might consider sending a recommendation email instead of a letter.
Focus on the job description. Ask the person for whom you’re writing the letter for a copy of the job posting or job description. This way, you can focus on the requirements of the position while you write.
Try to include language from the job description in your letter.
Even if you’re writing a more general recommendation, you can still ask the person about the types of teaching jobs they’re interested in (e.g., what teaching positions, what kinds of schools).
Include specific examples. In the letter, provide examples of ways in which the person demonstrated various positive traits in the past. If possible, use numbers to quantify their successes. For example, “Under Mr. Smith’s guidance, our students’ state test scores improved in Biology by 20%.”
Remain positive. When you write the letter of recommendation, be sure to state that you believe this person is a strong candidate. You might say something such as, “I recommend Ms. Johnson without reservation,” or “I would hire Mrs. Smith again if I could.” You want to help this candidate stand out among all the other prospective candidates.
Share your contact information. Provide a way for the employer to contact you if they have further questions. Include your email address, telephone number, or both. If your reference is in business letter format, your contact information will be at the top of the letter. If you are sending an email reference letter, include your contact information below your typed signature.
Follow the submission guidelines. Ask the person you’re referring for guidance on how to submit the letter. You may be asked to email it or upload it online. Make sure you follow any requirements, especially about where to send it and when, as well as the format (for example, PDF, physical letter, etc.). Make sure you have the correct address or email address.
Proofread, edit, and test your message. Make sure your letter is accurate, professionally formatted, and typo-free before sending. Pay close attention to the spellings of proper names, including school names. Have a friend proofread your note before you send it. If you send the letter via email, be sure to send yourself a test to make sure that your formatting holds up.
Sample Recommendation Letter for a Teacher
This is a recommendation letter example for a teacher. Download the letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word) or see below for more examples.
Sample Reference Letter for a Teacher (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
April 12, 2022
The Charter School
123 Cairns Rd.
School City, NY 54321
Dear Ms. Cummings,
I highly recommend Michelle Johnson as a candidate for the position of fifth-grade lead teacher at your school. As principal of St. Paul's School, I have had the pleasure of working with Michelle for the past five years. She is a driven, organized teacher who develops inspiring relationships with her students.
Michelle has always been driven to develop her skills as a teacher. She came to us as a student teacher, eagerly taking up extra responsibilities such as advisor of the school newspaper and was a member of our curriculum committee. She continued to demonstrate this drive through her tenure at our school, even becoming the head of the curriculum committee last year. Michelle embraces any opportunity for professional development, which makes her an ideal leader.
Michelle has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages, especially children. Her ability to connect with her students and her talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced topics, are both truly superior. She also has excellent written and verbal communication skills with both parents and teachers.
Michelle accomplishes all these tasks with great initiative and with a positive attitude. I recommend Michelle to you without reservation. If you have any further questions with regard to her background or qualifications, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Signature (hard copy letter)
St. Paul's School
More Reference Letter Examples
Review more examples of reference letters for a variety of circumstances and get free templates to download to use as a starting point for your own correspondence.