Applying for new schools...who to use as a reference?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by hiheythere!, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. hiheythere!

    hiheythere! New Member

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    Apr 9, 2017

    Hey guys,

    I was hoping some of you veteran teachers could help me out with this one. I've been teaching in the same school for the past 5 years and i'm considering switching to somewhere new next year. However, I completely forgot about the whole references part of the job application process. Does anybody have any advice on who I should use for this? Obviously I don't want to use anybody from my current administration because that just seems like a dangerous thing.

    Also, for anybody who has been on the other side of the job process: are references an important part of hiring? Do administrators really look at them and contact them?

    Thanks a-lot for all of your help!
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Apr 9, 2017

    References are definitely important. Most places will require a reference from your current administration. You could ask teachers who work with you, and supply those first.
     
  4. Committed2DaProfession

    Committed2DaProfession Rookie

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    Apr 9, 2017

    Keep in mind that most schools won't proceed until they have talked to your principal so there's really no way to get around that...trust me. And yes, references are really important. It's best to find experienced colleagues, who work in the same building and/or have a good rep in the district. Also, make sure that people you choose as your references are actually giving you good references...especially administrators. It sounds obvious but , trust me, you'll want to watch this. I hope this helps.
     
  5. Apr 9, 2017

    You can use anyone except relatives. I just applied and I used 2 teachers that I had worked with at my present school (I'm a para upgrading to teacher). They know I'm applying outside of my school and they will keep it confidential. Both did a nice job on the letters. The purpose of a reference letter is to verify your character (unless of course they specifically asked for only work references, which in this case, they did not) so basically anyone who can say you are a good person. I doubt they will actually do more than read the letters, but I would advise you to make sure the references are solid. The person should state the relationship (how they know you) . Example: I have known Mr / Ms Application for the past ... .years in his/her capacity as...(volunteer little league coach, member of ....., treasurer of .....). Other good options for a references are past college professors, city officials or community leaders you may know etc.

    Best wishes.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Apr 9, 2017

    I'm struggling with this myself. I teach SPED and I don't like the direction my district is going with that. My current P has been shielding us from that a lot, but she got non-renewed and there will be a new P next year. The problem is, I'm pretty sure the things I don't like about my current district are happening everywhere. I'm "casually" looking at posted positions to see if anything really catches my eye, but I don't really anticipate being able to find anything any better than what I have right now, so I don't want to "stir the pot" by telling people I'm thinking of leaving/need references when I most likely will be staying. I did ask my current P for a letter and of course I can use her, but I need two others. I guess I'm just going to wait until/if I see a postion that I would really, really want, and then perhaps ask my teammates. If you're pretty sure you're wanting a new position, I think it's best to just ask for the letters. I've heard of people saying that they're just "updating their portfolio" with new reference letters. I think my teammates would see right through that, but if you think yours wouldn't it's worth a shot.

    In my area no one will hire you without talking to your current P first. Last time I was looking, some schools did ask if I wanted them to wait until it was the "last step" prior to talking to my P (in case she didn't know I was leaving), but others weren't so curtious. Some even required that the P be contacted prior to setting up interviews.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Most places require a current administrator. Did you have a previous administrator who'll give you a good reference? Maybe that will cancel out a bad one.

    When I've been on interview committees, we definitely consider references. A good one from a well-known and esteemed administrator can pretty much guarantee an interview and a leg up on the hiring process.
     
  8. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Apr 9, 2017

    I recently got as far as the second interview with non-administrator references - I had recommendation letters from a student teaching cooperative teacher, a former co-worker, and my first year mentor teacher - but once I got to that point, they really wanted to talk to an administrator from my then current job. They had no idea I was looking elsewhere so I'd tried to avoid that. It just happened to work out that we'd just switched principals and the previous year's principal was willing to give a recommendation and the interviewing principals were okay with that since he was actually more familiar with my work than the brand new principal. If you try to avoid administrator references, just make sure your other references are very strong. I've always been a little skeptical about whether districts really use references, but I ended up giving the hiring principals five names and the principal who hired me called every one of them.
     
  9. hiheythere!

    hiheythere! New Member

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    Apr 10, 2017

    Thanks for all of your replies everybody, they've been very helpful. I just wanted to clarify something. I actually have quite a decent relationship with my administration. They obviously like me somewhat because I was granted tenure at the first time of asking and i've been rated satisfactory every year i've been at the school. It's just that they are all a bit distant. I don't have that casual back-and-forth that I do with other teachers in the building. I also don't really feel comfortable asking them for anything in particular, so the relationship tends to be nonexistent unless something official comes up (observations and the like). This is why I am reluctant to ask them for a reference.

    I also wanted to ask about the references in particular. I was under the impression that you listed the references and their contact info on your resume and principals contacted them at their own discretion. However, it seems from these response that the reference should actually be writing a letter on your behalf. What is the standard approach here? This is my first time applying for a new teaching position when I have some experience, so it's all a bit new to me.

    Thanks again!
     
  10. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Apr 10, 2017

    It will depend on your location. Around me, principals are contacted. Letters of recommendation aren't really used.
     
    MrsC and yellowdaisies like this.
  11. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Apr 10, 2017

    I didn't have a super close relationship with my first principal, but when I told him I was looking for a new job he shocked me by being SUPER supportive and telling me he'd do everything he could to help me. You never know!

    The reference/letter thing really depends on your area. In CA where I am, you have to have 2-3 letters of recommendation just to submit an application. This year, after my first (and only) interview with the district that hired me, they called my principal for a reference. They did not call my other references, who are also admin. When I got my current job, they also called my principal only. It's very standard practice where I am. Can you find out from other teachers how things generally work in your area?
     

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