Letter of Recommendation for Teacher in Active Service

Letter of recommendation for a teacher. A teacher recommendation letter provides a written character reference of a teacher by another individual. This is common for a teacher seeking employment and using the letter to their advantage.

letter of recommendation for teacher

It is highly advised to have the letter be written by the principal at the teacher’s previous school or, for those with no experience, to have the letter completed by a former professor.

The letter should be only 1 Page, easy to read and provide positive character traits of the person as an educator.

What Makes a Good Letter?

Keynotes to make a good letter:

  • Specific insights about the student. Try to include stories that paint a flattering picture of the student, or describe situations where he or she has excelled.

“When it was Tom’s turn to lead our class discussion about To Kill A Mockingbird, the sophisticated insights he brought to the class conversation about the miscarriage of justice the book describes were truly noteworthy.”

  • Explanation of where the student fits in the school’s context. If you have taught the student in a particular course, talk about how demanding that course is, or how the student compares to the other students in your course.

“Jackie is one of the most talented writers I’ve come across in the past five years.”

“Adnan is not one of my strongest students; however, his determination is unparalleled, and his compassion and collaborative spirit cannot amaze me.”

  • Emphasise the positive aspects of the student.

“Claire has pushed herself to sign up for an especially difficult Maths class; even though she struggled with exams at the beginning of the school year, she has persevered and her progress has been extraordinary.”

  • If you know the student outside of class, comment on that.

“Jim has worked tirelessly in his role as Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper.”

Things to Avoid

Describing students with generic words such as ‘hard-working’ and ‘shy’ can be counterproductive in a letter of recommendation. Instead, use words and phrases such as ‘thoughtful’ or ‘embrace a challenge.’

  • Commenting on a student’s physical appearance
  • Merely listing adjectives. It’s much better if you can tell stories.
  • Using the same letter for multiple students (!)
  • Broad generalizations and generic language.

Things to Include

basic things to include in a letter:

  • The date that you wrote the letter
  • Your contact information
  • A brief description of how you know the student


Guiding Questions for Letters of Recommendation

Adapted from the MIT website. questions to guide your writing process:

  • What is the context of your relationship with the applicant? If you do not know the applicant well and are only able to write a brief summary, please acknowledge this.
  • Has the student demonstrated a willingness to take intellectual risks and go beyond the normal classroom experience?
  • Does the applicant have any unusual competence, talent, or leadership abilities?
  • What motivates and excites this person?
  • How does the applicant interact with teachers? With peers? Describe the applicant’s personality and social skills.
  • What will you remember most about this person?
  • What is the context of your relationship with the applicant? If you do not know the applicant well and can only write a summary, please acknowledge this.

How to Write a Recommendation Letter for a Teacher

Follow business letter format. Use the official business letter format when writing your letter of recommendation. If time is of the essence, you might send 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 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 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 showed various positive traits in the past.

If possible, use numbers to quantify their successes. For example, “Under Mr. Smith’s guidance, our student’s 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 emailing a reference letter, include your contact information below your typed signature.

Follow the submission guidelines. Ask the person you’re referring to 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 spelling 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 Reference Letter for a Teacher (Text Version)

Sample Reference Letter for a Teacher (Text Version)

Mary Haddock

123 Main Street

Anytown, CA 12345


[email protected]

April 12, 2022

Serena Cummings


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 a member of our curriculum committee.

She continued to demonstrate this drive throughout 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)

Mary Haddock


St. Paul’s School

Who to Ask for a Recommendation

You’ll need many letters of recommendation for most graduate school programs. The following are the finest persons to ask for a recommendation from:

  • A professor at the school granting your undergraduate degree
  • A professor who knows you well
  • Someone with the degree you are seeking in graduate school
  • Someone who has academically evaluated you in an upper-division class
  • A supervisor at a job or internship related to your graduate program
  • You can also consider asking an academic advisor to provide you with a recommendation.


Who Would Write the Best Letter of Recommendation

Choosing which professors, supervisors, or advisors to ask for graduate school recommendation letters can be challenging.

Should you choose someone who doesn’t know you well but has an inside connection to the graduate school you’re applying to?

If a prestigious professor writes you a letter of recommendation for graduate school would you get an automatic admissions advantage? 

These questions and more can keep graduate school hopefuls up at night, wondering how to maximize their admissions odds.

To put your mind at ease, here are the best guidelines to use when selecting who to ask for letters of recommendation for graduate school. Someone who is well-versed in you and has a favorable opinion of you.

You should choose someone with whom you’ve spent time outside of the classroom, who is familiar with your career aspirations, and who has a positive impression of you.

Someone who has been acquainted with you for a long time. If they recommend has known you for two years rather than two months, a letter of recommendation for graduate school will carry greater weight.

In a perfect world, you’d locate someone who has known you for at least a year in numerous media (for example, as your professor, faculty mentor, and honor society advisor).

Someone who can speak to your unique abilities in relation to the program.

An economics professor is a good choice for your MBA letter of recommendation since they can speak to the specific traits that will help you succeed in pursuing an MBA and a career in business.

If you’re pursuing a certain field, you could ask a research, internship, or work supervisor to write your reference letter.

Someone who can tell you interesting stories about yourself. Consider who was present when you made some of your most significant achievements or demonstrated high levels of initiative, commitment, or collaboration.

A letter of recommendation with particular examples rather than broad clichés (“show, don’t tell”) has a greater influence.

Someone who is good at communicating. If all other factors are equal and you’re attempting to choose between two possible recommenders, think about who is more likely to write a convincing, strongly worded letter on your behalf.

Professors who are more kind, organized, and enthusiastic than others are the ones who write outstanding graduate school letters of recommendation.

When to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

Between six weeks and two months before the application deadline, you should request a letter of recommendation for graduate school.

This provides your recommend plenty of time to draft, edit, and review your letter of recommendation, resulting in a higher-quality and more impactful final product.

If you’re asking a professor for a letter of reference for graduate school, keep in mind what’s going on during the semester when you submit your request. Is this the mid-term week?

Is it the end of the semester, and they’re already swamped with other responsibilities? Take into account their emotional state.

Academically, the beginning of the semester is usually a more relaxed moment, and it’s a good time to make your request.

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

The way you request a letter of reference for graduate school can have a direct impact on the quality of the letter you receive. Respect, attention, and professionalism will set the tone for the rest of your letter of recommendation.

Being overly casual or unappreciative will make you recommend less hesitant to give you their endorsement, assuming they agree to provide it at all!

That said, asking for a letter of recommendation for graduate school is best done in person. When this isn’t possible, email serves as a suitable backup.

When requesting a letter of recommendation, however, try to schedule a face-to-face appointment.

What Pieces of Information to Provide to your Recommenders

In order to help your recommenders produce high-quality letters of recommendation for graduate school, provide them with a small informational packet after they agree to your request. This packet should include the following items:

‣ A current transcript

  • An updated resume or CV
  • A copy of your personal statement for graduate school
  • A list of your relevant extracurriculars, such as research, internships, or involvement in academic societies
  • An outline of your career goals
  • A list of the graduate schools you are applying to 
  • Reminders of anything specific you hope they’ll include in their letter, such as your accomplishments in their class or under their supervision
  • Detailed instructions for submitting the letter of recommendation for graduate school
  • The deadline to submit their letter

Letter of Recommendation for an Outstanding Teacher

Letter of Recommendation for an Outstanding Teacher

A letter of recommendation for an outstanding teacher is important because it can help the teacher get a new job, or keep their current job.

It can also help the teacher get a raise or a promotion. Someone who knows the teacher well should write the letter, and who can speak to their strengths as a teacher. Letter of recommendation for a teacher. 

Letters of recommendation are usually written by previous employers or colleagues to provide information about the person being recommended.

In the case of teachers, these letters usually focus on the teacher’s strengths and how they have helped students learn and grow. A good letter of recommendation should be able to paint a picture of the teacher’s abilities and what they bring to the table.

A letter of recommendation for an outstanding teacher can make a big difference and can help the teacher stand out from the crowd.

So if you’re looking for a good teacher, be sure to look for letters of recommendation that are well-written and highlight the teacher’s strengths. You can use the examples below as a guide.

Sample Template 

To Whom It May Concern.

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter on behalf of XYZ. Mr. XYZ has been my colleague for the past five years and I can say without a doubt that he is one of the best teachers I have ever worked with. 

His students adore him and he has a unique ability to make learning fun and engaging. In addition to his teaching skills, XYZ is also very passionate about his work and takes great pride in his students’ success.

I would highly recommend Mr. XYZ for any teaching position and I am confident that he would be a valuable addition to any school. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

(Your Name)

(Your Email)

Recommendation Letter Etiquette

Guidelines for Requesting a Faculty Reference

Professors take the writing of recommendation letters very seriously, and they expect students to do the same.

Recommendations reflect not just the quality of the student, but also the integrity of the professor and ultimately the university. Letter of recommendation for a teacher. 

Professors are obligated to be objective and specific about a student’s fitness for a given position; if employers and graduate schools learn to distrust the praise from an SPU faculty member, it puts the entire university’s reputation in jeopardy.

And that damages the prospects of all SPU students seeking positions after graduation.

1. Choose a faculty member who knows you well, preferably in a variety of contexts. Employers and graduate schools read hundreds of reference letters, most of which are filled with generic praise.

Specific reference letters are more likely to get noticed and appreciated. The more a professor/supervisor knows about you, the more specific the letter will be.

2. Make a formal request of your professor (by email or by appointment), asking if he or she would be willing to write a letter or fill out a form on your behalf.

Explain the purpose of the recommendation and why you have chosen the professor. Give the professor time to consider your request.

3. Ask early. Make an appointment to discuss the recommendation at least three weeks in advance of the deadline—preferably a month or more, especially if you need multiple letters.

Professors have very tight schedules and need ample time to write thoughtful and distinctive letters.

4. Provide information about the position. The more professors know about the position or school you seek to enter, the more easily they can tailor the letter toward a specific audience. Bring the following materials to your appointment:

  • A description of the job or graduate school(s) to which you are applying. This requires some research on your part, and it will help you assess how suited you are to the position. If you are applying to multiple places, bring all your reference requests at once.
  • The application forms and materials, with the deadlines, are clearly indicated and the relevant portions are filled in.

If the application asks whether you waive (give up) your right to view the recommendation letter, we recommend that you agree to waive it, guaranteeing that the letter is candid and trustworthy.

Letters for students who do not waive their right to view it are taken less seriously or ignored.

  • A pre-addressed envelope with proper postage.

5. Provide information about yourself. The more professors know about your past work, your extracurricular interests, and your aspirations, the more specific they can be about your talents and motivation. Bring the following materials to your appointment:

  • Graded papers or assignments that you completed for the professor’s class. (Pick up your graded papers at the end of the quarter!) If you don’t have the graded assignments, print out a fresh copy. (Save your college assignments!)
  • An updated resume that highlights the experience and skills relevant to the position. Don’t limit your resume to academic pursuits—including extracurricular activities, job experience, and honors.
  • A transcript. This usually isn’t necessary, but some faculty may request it.
  • A written description of your career interests and aspirations—why are you applying to this position? If you are applying to graduate school, bring a draft of your “statement of purpose.”
  • A list of other helpful details about your work and experience with the professor.
  • A list of your other references. If the professor knows who else is writing a letter on your behalf, he or she can calibrate the letter to play up certain strengths that the other references may be less familiar with.

You may request which qualities you would like each letter-writer to stress.

6. Double-check that the letter has arrived by the deadline. If not, contact the professor. (Letters are often lost in the mail or in the application shuffle).

7. Send the writer a thank-you note. Faculty can spend several hours constructing a single letter; it’s nice to be acknowledged. And let us know whether you got the position!


Common Mistakes to Avoid

Make sure to avoid these mistakes:

1. Never assume that the professor will be willing to write a letter. Always ask first, even if the professor has written a letter for you in the past. You should also ask for permission to list a professor’s name as a reference on an application, even if no letter is required.

2. Don’t just drop off forms and info with the office assistant or send them as email attachments—meet with the professor in person to discuss your qualifications, the requirements, and the deadlines. If a professor denies your request, it may sting a little; but don’t assume this means you’re a bad student or bad person.

3. Professors may have inadequate experience with you to write an effective letter, or they may have insufficient knowledge about the position or institution, or they may feel that your skills are better suited to different schools, positions, or career paths.

4. Don’t harass professors about whether they have sent the letter yet unless they ask you to send a reminder. You may request that the professor send you an email to confirm that the letter is sent.

How to Write a Letter to a Teacher

There are several reasons why you might need to write an email to a teacher. If your goal is to have a question answered quickly, you’ll need to provide as much information as possible as concisely as possible.

Follow these instructions to write a courteous email to your teacher and/or professor.

Use a Clear Subject Line

Teachers receive dozens of emails every day. That’s why a clear, detailed subject line will help a teacher understand exactly what your email is about, who it’s from, and what the writer needs so you can get a timely answer.

An email titled “Homework question” could be about anything and from anyone, but an email titled “Marie Kingsley Question About Research Paper” helps a teacher immediately know who they’re talking to.

Choose the Correct Greeting

Open your email appropriately. If you’ve never met the teacher before, use “Dear Dr./Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name.” If you have met the teacher, you can use more conversational greetings like “Hi,” “Hello,” or “Good Morning.”

Don’t use overly casual greetings like “Hey” or “What’s up,” and don’t refer to the teacher by their first name unless they have indicated that they’d prefer that you do so.

Structure as a Formal Letter

Formatting your email properly makes it more likely that you’ll get the answer you want. Use the same structure that you’d use for a formal letter, and avoid getting personal in the email.

Avoid overly casual language, including slang or email abbreviations.

Include Only Necessary Information

Busy teachers don’t have time to read paragraphs of information just to answer a question or agree to write a letter of recommendation.

Focus on exactly what you want to say and limit the length to 3-4 sentences maximum. Anything longer than that should probably be an in-person conversation.

Keep Your Tone Respectful

There’s a fine line between explaining yourself to a teacher and airing all your grievances. Teachers don’t need to hear how much you dislike an assignment or how unfair you feel a deadline is.

Complaining to a teacher via email puts them on the defensive – and makes it unlikely that you’ll get the solution you want.

Use an Appropriate Salutation

The same rule for proper greetings applies to appropriate salutations. End an email to a teacher with “Thank you,” “Sincerely” or “Best,” followed by your full name.

Avoid salutations such as “Thanks,” “See You Tomorrow” or no salutation at all. You want to leave the teacher with a good impression of you, even to the last word of your message.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions

After you submit the application, you have the deadline by which the LORs need to be submitted.

You should mostly try and spare a month’s time for the person to write the LOR for you because it’s difficult to spare time out of a hectic schedule and write something about someone.

Allow them ample time to pen down their thoughts about you in order to receive more productive and creative content.

Always make sure to provide some tips to them beforehand because they might not be sure of the format and the layout.

When I’ve had to write letters for online students, I focus a lot on their work output and how active they were in participation. Did they participate in class a lot, or only once a week?

Did they come during office hours? Did they contribute to group assignments? Did they ask good questions? I also look at their term projects a lot. Could they write well? Did they do a good online presence for the final report?

Did they demonstrate course concepts? Did they show outside-of-the-box creative thinking? I don’t need to lay eyes on a student to assess all that.

Approach them politely and ask them if they can write a reference letter for you.

You may need a letter from a different teacher for a different purpose. So be clear with the teacher what exactly is the purpose for which you need the reference letter.

One of the most important things not to do is ask your parents or other family members to write a recommendation letter.

College admissions officers don’t want to hear about you from somebody that will only speak well about you.

How to write a teacher recommendation letter

  • Choose a professional format. 
  • State your qualifications. 
  • Reference the position the teacher is applying for. 
  • Highlight notable skills, traits, and accomplishments. 
  • Give specific examples.
  • Provide contact information.

At this stage, you merely go up to the teacher and:

  • Tell her or him that you are applying to colleges A, B, C, X, Y, and Z
  • That you want to major in P or Q
  • That you believe that a letter of recommendation from that teacher would be a huge benefit to your application
  • And then ask if the teacher would like to write a letter of recommendation.
  • Go see the teacher after class or after school a couple of times per month for detailed and extended professional discussions. Discuss the future as well.
  • Discuss the colleges to which you wish to apply. Then the teacher will ask You if it is OK if she/he writes a letter of recommendation. You get a much better letter when the teacher asks you.

Here are five elements all personal reference letters should include:

  • Start by explaining your relationship to the candidate.
  • Include long you’ve known the candidate. 
  • Add positive personal qualities with specific examples. 
  • Close with a statement of recommendation. 
  • Offer your contact information.

Ideally, this teacher will know you not just in a classroom context but also in an extracurricular one.

For example, a speech teacher AND debate coach, history teacher AND Model UN advisor, or other teachers who played more than one role in your high school career probably know you best and would write a good letter.

Some recommenders have no problem showing students the letter of rec they wrote and will show or email you the letter before sending or sealing it, which is fine.

It’s off the record, so sign the FERPA Waiver from the college. If they offer, there’s not much harm in reading it.

Choose a professional format. 

  • State your qualifications. 
  • Reference the position the teacher is applying for. 
  • Highlight notable skills, traits, and accomplishments. 
  • Give specific examples.
  • Provide contact information.

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CSN Team.

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