Sample Reference Letter from a Teacher

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Are you a student who has been requested to submit a reference letter (also known as a letter of recommendation) from a teacher as part of an application for a job or a volunteer position?

Most good teachers are more than willing to write reference letters for students who have performed well in their classes. However, it takes time to craft an effective letter of recommendation – anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour, depending upon how detailed the teacher wishes to be.

This is time that the teacher could be using for class preparation, grading, or other tasks; if their teaching schedule is tight, conscientious teachers will often write reference letters for their middle school, high school, or college students on their own unpaid time when they could be relaxing.

As a student asking for a favor, it’s a smart idea to make this task as easy as possible for your teacher. Below you’ll find tips about how to do this, as well as a sample reference letter from a teacher that will demonstrate the sort of information your teacher will need in order to write a glowing letter for you.

How to Help Your Teacher Help You

If you learn that you’ll need to provide a reference letter from a teacher as part of an application, don’t delay asking your teacher if they’ll do this for you. No teacher, no matter how dedicated they are, is going to be happy if a student comes to them asking if they can write a letter of recommendation for them “by tomorrow.”

Instead, give your teacher as much time as possible to write an effective letter for you. There’s also certain information you’ll need to give them so that they can do a good job for you:

  • The deadline by which the letter needs to be submitted
  • The email or “snail mail” address to which the letter should be sent
  • The name of the organization you’re applying to
  • The name of the person at the organization who will be reviewing your application
  • The title and description of the position you’re applying for
  • A list of the qualifications or skills that will be required for the position
  • Your resume (if you have one)

If you don’t have a resume and are a high school or college student, then it’s time to develop one. You don’t need actual work experience to create your first resume; it’s enough to describe your schoolwork, personal academic or volunteer accomplishments, and participation in clubs or other organizations. Here's how to write your first resume. If you’re a middle school student, you can simply give your teacher a list of activities you’re involved in – things like scouting, band, church groups, or sports.

The more information about yourself and your achievements that you can provide your teacher, the more detail they’ll be able to incorporate into their letter. Depth of detail can make all the difference in whether you land the role you’re applying for. 

Sample Reference Letter from a Teacher

Attn: Julia M. Jones
Re: Katie Kingston

Dear Ms. Jones:

I am writing this reference at the request of Katie Kingston, who is applying for the Student Volunteer Program at St.

Francis Hospital this summer.

I have known Katie for two years in my capacity as a teacher at Smithtown Middle School. Katie took English and Spanish from me and earned superior grades in those classes. Based on Katie's grades, attendance, and class participation, I'd rate Katie's academic performance in my class as superior.

Katie has a number of strengths to offer an employer. Katie is always interested in supporting others. For example, this year when we worked on our class community service project, Katie was helpful to me in collecting and organizing the food for the food pantry here in Smithtown.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend Katie Kingston. If her performance in my class is any indication of how she'd perform in your position, Katie will be a positive addition to your organization.

If you should need any additional information, you can feel free to contact me at 555-5555 or by email at anytime.


Susan Samuels
Teacher, Smithtown Middle School

More Reference Resources: Character and Personal References |Requesting References | Sample Letters of Reference | Will Employers Check Your References? | Writing Reference Letters