The following piece is a dummies guide to writing a reference letter for a teacher (and provides with it a sample for reference). This will explain the basics of the process and will also shed some light on the dos and don’ts that you need to take into consideration.
A reference letter is a formal letter making general assessment of various qualities and capabilities of an individual known to the writer, which is meant to help the individual prove his credibility and the employer to get a brief idea about the person he is employing. It has become an important tool of assessment in the employment scenario today. While the terms ‘letter of reference’ and ‘letter of recommendation’ are often used interchangeably, the fact that the latter is very specific in nature makes it different from the letter of reference that we are speaking of here.
How to Write a Reference Letter for a Teacher?
Though a formal letter, a reference letter is relatively casual when compared to a recommendation letter, and thus, the tone should be set accordingly. Ideally, the opening paragraph of your letter should answer some fundamental questions, like in what capacity do you know the person, how long have you known him, and why are you writing this letter.
Next, you can start talking about the person. While it goes without saying that your letter should be a positive feedback, going over the top is not a wise thing to do. The rule of the thumb is to mention the positive traits, especially the ones that could help him in the profession he is pursuing. Going by this rule, a letter of reference for teacher should highlight traits like the person’s command on the subject, language skills, classroom behavior, and other strengths or skill sets which can be useful for this job.
You can follow it with a mention of those personality traits which are helpful in daily life, such as trustworthiness, honesty, analytical and interpretation skills, etc. Use of adjectives like dependable, mature, articulate, honest, confident, creative, etc., will help in projecting a positive picture to the employer. The key here is the right mix, as overdoing it can give an impression that the person who is writing the letter is biased.
You should also provide the details of your professional background and contact information as this will add to the credibility of the reference letter. This is also important because the chances of the said employer getting in touch with you―though rare―do exist.
Sample Reference Letter
|Prof. Carl Mathews
Head of the Department of English
To Whom It May Concern
It’s my pleasure to write a letter of reference for Mrs. Mary Rogers, who worked under me as a faculty member of the English Department during her tenure at the Springdale High. Having seen Mrs. Rogers give her best for the period of four years that she worked at our school, I can definitely vouch for her.
Her excellent command over the subject and the ability to address the need of each student made her an outstanding professional in the field of teaching. Being highly organized in the classroom and always striving for something extra helped her to rise to a better position within a year of joining the school. Her honesty and reliability ensured that she was on good terms with other faculty members and, more importantly, liked by her students throughout her career at Springdale High.
Owing to some personal reasons, Mrs. Rogers inadvertently had to relocate to California due to which she had to quit her job at our school. While that was a significant loss to our school, I certainly wish Mrs. Rogers all the best on the path she has chosen. With all those qualities that she possesses, she will definitely be an asset to your school.
Like we mentioned earlier, a reference letter is an important tool for the employee as well as the employer, and therefore, being well-versed with the writing part can be of immense help. Having said that, you need to be a little careful when writing such letters, because―contrary to what many people believe―employers do take them seriously.