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How to Write a Good Reference Letter for a Teacher

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Reference letters form an important part of a teacher’s job search and interview process. Letters written by department heads, administrators and colleagues provide snapshots of the applicant’s character, qualifications and experience. Write a letter of recommendation for a teacher by emphasizing the person’s most laudable contributions to your school and by projecting the person’s value to a hiring academic institution.

Describe your relationship to the applicant. Tell the reader that you were the chair of the person’s academic department or that you were the academic dean. The Michelin Career Center at Clemson University suggests providing information about the length of time and when you worked together with the applicant.

Tell the reader how well the applicant works with others. Give examples of the applicant acting as a team player within her department, with faculty and with staff. Tell the potential employer if the applicant is flexible and if he acts as a role model for colleagues and students, according to Scholastic's "Stellar Letters of Recommendation" guidelines.

Provide specific details about the candidate’s classroom management skills. Communicate positive evaluations of the teacher in the classroom. Tell the reader about any contributions the teacher made to improve classroom management in her classes and in the school.

Emphasize the applicant’s strengths that are productive for the profession. Give examples of positive attributes, including but not limited to organization and communication skills. Tell the reader specific ways in which the applicant’s skills promoted learning and strengthened the school. Be specific about the candidate’s professional accomplishments and his extra-curricular projects, such as coaching.

Conclude with a clear recommendation. Tell the reader that you know the applicant will be a strong candidate for the position and, if hired, will be an asset to the school on every level.


Alyson Paige has a master's degree in canon law and began writing professionally in 1998. Her articles specialize in culture, business and home and garden, among many other topics.