Is it okay to write a letter of recommendation for a current co-worker?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Johnjoel, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. Johnjoel

    Johnjoel Companion

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    Mar 6, 2015

    Hi Everyone,

    I was recently asked by a fellow teacher to write a letter of recommendation. We currently work together and I am not her boss. I have heard that in some schools, this is against the rules. I would check with my school, but this person would like me to keep everything private. Is it worth the risk?

    Thank you
     
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  3. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Mar 6, 2015

    I have never heard of this being a bad thing. Recommendations are supposed to come from someone who works/worked with you -- who else would be able to recommend you? :confused:

    Then again, it's recommended to have a letter from a superior. If she has both, that should be fine.

    If someone you work with said it was a bad thing in your school culture, then maybe it's worth being cautious. Otherwise, I would do it. :)
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Mar 6, 2015

    I have never heard of such a thing, and it may well cross the line of what an employer can and can not do, IMO. You are allowed to have an opinion and your right to freedom of speech is guaranteed. That said, you would be talking about things like working well with others, things you have noted in her relationship/interactions with students, etc., and you would establish at the outset that you are a coworker who has knowledge of this teacher on a day to day, get along with coworkers level. You can't address things like evaluations, of course, but you must have an opinion of how she runs her classes, her input to the team, and her willingness or lack of willingness to go the extra mile.

    Cooperating teachers routinely write LOR's. If in doubt, call HR and ask for clarification on the matter. You do not have to name names.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Mar 6, 2015

    I have never heard of this being an issue either. One letter should come from a supervisor, but most places ask for 3 letters, so who else are you supposed to ask if not other coworkers? Last time I was job searching I had one letter from my principal, one from my instructional coach, and one from one of my teammates.
     
  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I have twice written letters of recommendation for other teachers in the school. They were both very good teachers who were leaving to another school. I wrote it a month or two before they left. Personally, I don't think a teacher's recommendation is nearly as powerful as getting one from a principal, but I agreed for these two teachers that had politely asked me. If they weren't good teachers, I would have found some kind way to decline the offer.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Mar 7, 2015

    When I left my prior job, I walked away with a LOR from my supervisor, as well as one from a colleague. When I applied for that job, I had two letters from coworkers who had known me for many years, and for whom I had subbed many times over that time frame. I had also worked on parent organizations at the local high school with these same teachers, so they knew me very well. Since I was AR, that is what I had to work with. I believe that the LOR written by my last coworker resonated with my present employer, as they highly prize teachers who will go the extra mile, giving above and beyond what is just required. That colleague had addressed specific examples that dealt with my rising to those kinds of challenges, willing to share and help my coworkers without expectation of gratitude or praise. That letter touched my heart, and I read it on occasion just to remind myself that you never know who is watching or when you actually might be touching another's life.

    If you are comfortable writing this kind of letter, I would have to have a very strongly worded order that it is not allowed to stop me from doing what was in my heart. I don't discuss business outside of school walls, I don't gossip, and I never try to find out what coworkers are earning. I accept that this has relevance. Forbidding someone to say a few truthful things about a coworker who is leaving, well, I could get my hackles up over something like that. I will suggest that you read through the employee handbook for guidance, and if it isn't banned in there, I would follow my heart.
     
  8. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Mar 7, 2015

    I did this for a colleague who was looking for a job outside school (she was part time in school and was looking to work on the other days). I didn't have a problem with this. I even used school notepaper. I did however state my position in the school so that there was no inference that I was the Principal or anything like that.
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Mar 7, 2015

    Do you have a human resources person you could speak to? You could say that a colleague reached out to you requesting a letter of recommendation and you were wondering if there was a policy on it. (I've personally never have been at a school that would tell me I can't do that)

    You could request that the HR not share this information with anyone else. You just want to make sure you're following your district's policies.
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Mar 7, 2015

    As for letters of recommendation - when I was laid off, I had 1 letter from my supervisor and like 3 from my team teachers. My P said he would write me one, but never did - it turned out to be more like he would be happy to talk to the schools via the phone about me. I did fine with interviewing - never seemed to be an issue. And personally I think my team teachers can give a clearer picture of my teaching abilities (and how well I play with others :) ) than a person who isn't working with me on a day-to-day basis.
     

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