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Advice, please!!!!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey all! I need your advice and HONEST feedback on a letter that I have to send my school district concerning my interest in a possible job opening. This job opening has not been approved by the school board. I really want to work at the local elementary school. Please tell me what you think, and any ideas would greatly be appreciated. I have never had to write any letters of this kind before. They already have an application on file for me, so that's why I have to write a letter to make them know to look at my application.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions/criticism. Just don't be too harsh in the wording of criticism, please.

Dear Ms. West,

\tI am writing this letter to notify you of my interest in a possible Teacher’s Aide position at Riverview Elementary. It is my understanding the Aide would be needed for the 1st grade teacher(s).
\tI am already familiar with the school’s policies and procedures, as well as both 1st grade teachers; Mrs. Murray and Miss Wasakoski. I am also familiar with some of the students who will be entering the 1st grade, as I assisted with a student in Mrs. Kready’s kindergarten classroom for the remainder of the 2004-2005 school year.
\tWhile I am not sure of the exact requirements for the position, I have volunteered every day from January to the end of the 2004-2005 school year. In my duties, I assisted on the playground, did laminating and errands for various teachers. And, although I was a volunteer, I conducted myself in an appropriate manner, and treated staff with the same respect as if I were a paid employee. If I needed to take a day off, I notified Mrs. Flanagan or Mrs. Seussmuth with as much notice as possible.
\tYou should already have my application on file, and you will see that I have Mrs. Seussmuth and Mrs. (Christine) Smith listed as references, and while I do not have the other staff mentioned in this letter listed as a reference, you are welcome to speak with them on my behalf. You'll also notice that I have already filed my background clearances. I also had a TB test performed in December of 2004. The results were negative, and I had a note from my doctor with the results. This should also be on file.
\tI would like to be considered for the Teacher’s Aide position if it becomes available, as well as any other similar positions that may become available at Riverview.
\tThank you for your time. I am looking forward to hearing from you.


So, what do you think? BE HONEST. Oh, just so you know, the Mrs. Seussmuth that's mentioned? She's the school principal, and Mrs. Christine Smith is a teacher's aide at the school. I did not use staff's first names as a sign of respect and professionalism. I added Mrs. Smith's first name the way I did because their is another Mrs. Smith in the building. Should I include all their first names? And if I do, should I drop the "Mrs."?

Thanks again,all! Ginger
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
please, any advice would be appreciated.
post #3 of 15
Ginger, I think it sounds great. The only thing I question and I'm not complaining but you have alot of "you should" in the fourth paragraph. You might try finding another way to word that. I'm no expert though. I still think it sounds great
post #4 of 15
If it were up to me, I'd hire you! The letter sounds great.
post #5 of 15
I really like it. I was going to suggest you keep it short, but as I read through the letter, it really is quite short and to the point. You cover the bases of why you are the best choice, and give good references. I hope they hire you!
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the feedback....I agree though about the "you should"'s.....any suggestions on how to change that? I will also see what I can come up with.

Thanks again!
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Okay, got rid of some of those "you should"'s.....what about adding their first names, or is it more professional as it is?
post #8 of 15
You're hired!! (does Donald Trumps hand...)

Looks great! Good luck and keep us posted!
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
You're hired!! (does Donald Trumps hand...)
boy, I wish it could be that easy! If it were up to just the principal, I would already have a job, but unfortunately, it's up to a bunch of people that don't even know me.

<Hitting print button> please send good vibes, as I drive this over to the offices and <gulp> hand it to them personally.

post #10 of 15
That sound good, did you hand it in? I'll be wishing you luck
post #11 of 15
I am an admittedly terrible typist so maybe some of your errors are typos but I would definitely change some of the grammar. I know when I am hiring, I always look unfavourably on letters with grammar errors but I was raised by a school princiapl so that's part of it. NEVER begin a sentence with And. And you have semi colons in the wrong place in 2 places I see. You wrote: "am already familiar" twice, which is not good. Use a different phrase, something like, I completely understand or possess a more than adequate undersstaning or comprehesnion - something like that - somethinhg you feel comfortable with saying!

I am former school trustee and the fact you are familiar with some of the students is porb not something you want to include. You need to stress your SKILLS. What did you do as ose volunteer - what can you bring that others cannot? Why should they hire you? Respond to those questions and your cover letter will be much stronger!

Good luck!
post #12 of 15
I would hire you!
but then again my english is like.. down the drain
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by CyberKitten
I am former school trustee and the fact you are familiar with some of the students is porb not something you want to include. You need to stress your SKILLS. What did you do as ose volunteer - what can you bring that others cannot? Why should they hire you? Respond to those questions and your cover letter will be much stronger!

Good luck!
Okay, now I'm terrified!! I thought all that I listed were good reasons to hire me, and proving that I had things to offer that someone else could not.
I thought that knowing the students would be a plus. Since you are familiar with this sort of thing, can you tell me why I shouldn't say that about knowing the kids?
I'm not trying to be thin-skinned, but do you honestly think I may blow my chances with that letter? I was unable to deliver it I can still change it.
And this is what I did as a volunteer:
Laminated anything the teachers needed done....with a same day turnaround.
Recess duty---I stood outside for an hour and a half everyday, made sure no one got hurt or broke the rules, and helped get the kids lined up to be taken in for lunch. The last recess, I helped take that class down to lunch. I also helped the kids go through the lunch line, and monitored the cafeteria.
Errands for the teacher--I would "babysit" the class, if the teacher needed to leave the room, run things to the office, i.e., notes, stuff to be copied, assist a child to the nurse's office, etc.
The child that I had to assist, has a lot of difficulties. He needed 1 on 1 attention. Even at playtime, so I did get to know the other students, as well as they got to know me.
I want to sell myself to them enough to make them call me for an interview.....honestly CyberKitten, if you were the person I addressed this to, would you throw this away? Or would you call me for an interview?
I appreciate your honesty.... I just thought all the things I listed were total pluses in my favor.

post #14 of 15
Whoa! I did not say you would blow your chances - I do not know who the other candidates are so that's hard to judge from this end and keep in mind I do not know who your human resources people are or what your selection process is like.

Please don't be terrified by my remarks - I was just stating what we would do here.

That said, here are my anwers to your questions (and I apologize fir the delay but I tend to click on New Posts do did not see this until late today - after a long day at work

[quote=emmysamson]Since you are familiar with this sort of thing, can you tell me why I shouldn't say that about knowing the kids?

Confientiality is exceedingly important in schools (just as it is in hospitals) and sometimes someone external to the situation is preferred. I realize internal candidates who apply may not like that policy but several school districts (tho I do know about yours?) utilize this policy.

And it is not so much that they may not be concerned with you knowing the students but that they are actually seeking a resume from you that explains in detail what you can DO!! In other words, not that you know the students. And needless to say, the students will change so knowing the students is not that critical. Understanding children and how they learn IS much more significant. Can you teach reading? Do you work well with others in the system? Do you comprehend the particular programs (math, reading, others) used by the District? Do you know how to document? Sadly, documentation is a major part of work in today's education system. If you work with special needs students, do you know how to participate in the development of an IEP or ISP?

Re: CyberKitten, if you were the person I addressed this to, would you throw this away? Or would you call me for an interview?

Again, that is hard to answer - it would really deopnd on how it compares with the other applications and what qualifications the others bring and what their CV's state? I would have wanted answers to questions about what you know about working as a teacher's aide though. What do you know about the curruiculum? What do you think of inclusion? (No one opposed to inlcusion is hired in our province) How did you obtain these credentials - that's where you can cite your volunteer work and highlight the edcational parts. TA's are not teachers but they need to understand the programs so they can provide one on one instruction if needed.

I'd want to know your educational background. We have a community college program for TA's though some who show examplary skills (and your work as a volunteer would definitely help here) are hired but have to take courses. I do not know if the District you are applying for does this. Keep in mind that often, people intereted in going into education but just have a BA or BSc will apply to be TA's to see if they like education. Do you have courses that wouild help? Certificates? That sort of thing.

I honestly think the fact you volunteered is very important and shows you understand the education system there but you also need to show that you bring special skills to them so they will hire you!! We have had some wonderful volunteers apply but they just did not have the right skills and did not seem to understand that they need certain skills. Make sure you show them WHY they need YOU!!

That's all I was trying to say. I really do hope you get the job since it sounds like you love working there! Good luck!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Okay, I feel a little better now. But, I am worried that I don't have credentials other than what I did for about the last 5 months of the school, besides also helping at various functions such as R.I.F., Santa's Shop and I also head the yearbook committee. (It's actually a committee of 1, but by saying "committee", people think I'm kind of bossing others around...
My school district is rather small, and a lot of the aides started there as "Moms" looking to be paid and be a part of their kids life. I do/did work well with the rest of the staff, and I did say that in the letter, by mentioning that I gave them the same respect I would as if I were also a paid employee.
I felt by not mentioning certain kids names, especially the one that did work with, I felt that I was showing confidentiality, yet also a skill.
Unfortunately, my real worry is that the school board has not voted on creating this position, but I have it on good word that the school district would like this position created....(the school principal called me, as well as a member of the school board telling me of this possible position)...even more unfortunately, those 2 people does not have final say on who the district hires.
Thank you for the advice! However, I'm going to have to keep the letter as is, since there is nothing else for me to add, as far as credentials go and just keep my fingers crossed no one better qualified also applies.
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