I found a "funny cover letter" I wrote while applying for jobs last year. I didn't end up sending it out to any schools, opting for a more formal letter instead. But this was written from my heart, and I'd like to leave it here where I might find it again.
To Whom It May Concern,
I swore to my parents and teachers that I would not become a teacher, despite what seemed to be their continuous insistence I was a natural teacher. Further, as a young student, I couldn't quite say that I cherished mathematics as a subject. So how has it come to be that I am now sitting down to earnestly write a genuine, heartfelt letter about how I deeply desire a position teaching math?
In high school, I worked hard to earn the prerequisite score of 3 on the AP Calculus exam. I received my results and exalted that I would not be required to take another math course at SUNY Geneseo. My interest then was to travel, and I was lucky to have multiple opportunities to live, study and work abroad.
As the oldest of my 13 cousins, working with children seemed to come naturally to me - even when to most I was perhaps still a child myself. I worked during summers in High School as a camp counselor. I babysat and tutored during the school year, so later in life, when the opportunity to teach English to refugees appeared - in the form of a booth at the Student Union during my semester in Wales - I jumped at it. The semester after, then studying in France, I found myself volunteering my time both at a preschool and weekly in a middle school English classroom. After graduation from Geneseo, I found another opportunity to go abroad by volunteering teaching English in Peru - there was no pay, so my stay was short, just a few weeks. Upon my return, I submitted an application to teach English in Japan. When my application had been accepted, but before my departure, I found work as a substitute in Vermont.
While in Japan, I signed up for the GRE without a clear idea of where the path might lead me. I began studying for the exam, and realized I had a goal -- to do better on the mathematics section than I did on the verbal. I wanted to reverse the trend that happened in High School. I studied math during my lunch breaks, after work and on the weekends. I took the exam, and did better than I thought, but my verbal was still higher. I still had something to prove.
Something else happened during my time in Japan I stepped back to look at the path I had taken and began to connect the dots -- I loved teaching and had stumbled into my true passion. I found myself falling asleep thinking about what I’d say on a teaching interview, and knew that was what I’d pursue.
I returned to New York after Japan and was accepted into the Teach for America 2012 New York Corps. I was placed that summer in a middle school teaching both ELA and Math. It was during this time that my passion for math began to become clear to me. I had recently read that there existed a strong tie between girls’ overall confidence and confidence in math. I reflected on my own experience, and wondered why I had avoided math with such voracity. When my first principal asked me during our interview what subjects I, as a Special Education certified teacher, was interested in teaching I replied with gusto, “Math.”
In my first year teaching, my love for math truly blossomed. I sought more and more content knowledge to help my students develop deep conceptual understandings. I strove for precision and accuracy in every expression I uttered or simplified. With our small team - one of three founding teachers in the math department - I created structures for our struggling students, developed curriculum and saw my efforts returned to me as my students’ knowledge grew. My students recognized my love for math, and I believe this helped them give math a second chance themselves. This was profound in the setting of a transfer school with students who had struggled previously in their education.
In 2015, I attended the NCTM conference which opened my eyes to a new world of math pedagogues. As a result, I became an a member of #MTBoS, a community of math educators around the country and world collaborating on best teaching practices, routines and techniques through Twitter and blogging. In 2016, I participated in a 3-day “Math Camp” hosted by members of #MTBoS. I took and passed the Math CST, and began my journey toward dual certification by taking CLEP exams. When I saw my score on the CLEP Algebra exam, I experienced first hand what I had read about so long ago. I had achieved a perfect score. I felt a palpable boost in my confidence - and whatever was left of the part of me that had avoided math so long ago, melted away.
Some say, “Those who cannot do - teach.” Those of us in the education world know this to be profoundly untrue. In order to teach well, an extraordinary amount of content knowledge is necessary. To be able to “do”, one must simply be able to execute. However, to be able to teach, one must be able to - not only execute - but dissect and articulate each step of the process.
While my resume does not yet show the dual certification I am seeking - I am dedicated to the continual acquisition of knowledge of math, and I am absolutely invigorated by sharing my love of learning and my love of math with students. I continuously seek to develop and improve my teaching practice, and I love to collaborate and share my own techniques.
I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you further about my unique qualifications, and to answer any questions you might have regarding my resume and experiences. Thank you for your consideration.