Letter of recommendation for a sub

Discussion in 'General Education' started by S Dubb, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    Dec 12, 2012

    Hi, everyone. My school has had a long-term music substitute for the past few months who will be leaving us next week. She has been very good with my class, but a train wreck with most others. My class is very well-behaved (I really lucked out!), and I think that makes a huge difference for her. There are other classes in our building that are disrespectful and out of control, and she has had a very difficult time with them. VERY difficult.

    The other day she asked me if I would write a letter of recommendation for her since she knows she has done a good job with my class. I panicked and told her I would, but I have absolutely no idea what to say. I get along with this woman just fine, but to be quite honest, I would not recommend her for a position. I certainly do not want my name attached to a letter saying that she would be a good fit in Principal X's school.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I could gracefully write this letter while not offending her/keeping my name in tact?
     
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  3. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Dec 12, 2012

    On your letter you state just what your experience with her is: that she has had your well-behavied class for X class periods. You've never seen her actually teach, but your students appear to like her.


    The recommendation will be so weak that it won't really help her. She should ask people who've seen her teach write these.
     
  4. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    Dec 12, 2012

    I think that it seems really cruel to agree to write a letter for someone and then plan to make the letter weak so as not to help her. If you've never seen her teach, how do you know that she has trouble with the other classes? With it so difficult to get a full-time job right now, I would certainly want to be completely fair to this lady!
     
  5. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Dec 12, 2012

    This stinks. Why on earth would you tell someone you would write them a letter and then look for a way yo hurt them? What's your point? If you don't feel like you can write one for what she's done in your class then tell her you aren't going to write one.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 12, 2012

    Ms Sub was a longterm sub in my school during (months) 2012. During that time, she taught music to my class of 21 third grade students once a week. My students enjoyed their class time with Ms Sub. They especially enjoyed (whatever...holiday concert, chorus, learning rhythms on the drums...) with her. Ms Sub always reported that my students were attentive and cooperative in her class. I'm sure Ms Sub will be an asset in a school position where she can utilize her skills and experience.
     
  7. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    Dec 12, 2012

    Woah, woah...I think some of you may be getting the wrong impression. In no way whatsoever am I looking to write a bad letter, and I am certainly not looking to hurt her in any way either. Maybe I wasn't clear in my original post, and if I wasn't, my apologies. She caught me off guard by asking me, and I said yes. That's all there is to it. Would any of you say, "no," to a colleague's face, especially someone who has been good to your class? Now that I've said yes I plan to follow through, but under no circumstances will I look to sabotage her. I'm not sure where some of you got that idea.

    Joy, the thing is...I have seen her teach other classes. Not for an entire block of time, but definitely enough to know what I know. I've also heard students screaming and yelling from her classroom with the door closed, and students slamming the door and leaving because they've had enough. I think I have a good enough idea regarding how she has worked with other classes.

    donziejo, again, I am not looking to hurt her. Why would anybody want to go out of their way to do something so awful? Some of what you said might be helpful though. If it comes down to it and I find that I really can't write too much since I haven't sat in on a full class of hers, maybe I will let her know that I don't think I have enough to go off of.

    All of that said, I want to thank those of you who read my question carefully. What you put here definitely helps me realize how careful I need to be when I write this letter. Thank you for the advice.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 12, 2012

    You shouldn't say yes to something that you can't or don't want to do. That's all there is to that.

    You have already agreed to write the letter. You have two options:

    1. You can tell her that after thinking about it, you have decided that you won't actually be able to write her a letter. If you do this, you'll have to be prepared to explain why, because she will most definitely ask. You'll have to be truthful, and that probably won't be easy.

    2. You'll have to write the letter. I think it's not fair to write a bad or mediocre letter, especially after you already agreed to write it. This means that you'll have to write a good letter, and yes, your name will be attached to it and your reputation will be at stake. Say things that are truthful and based on your own observations of her. This might not be easy or even possible, especially since you have plenty of concerns and complaints about her teaching.

    Let this experience be a lesson to you: Don't agree to put your name on the line unless you are really prepared to stand behind what you say.
     
  9. Kimberly7324

    Kimberly7324 New Member

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    Dec 12, 2012

    I agree, you shouldn't say 'yes' to a request that makes you uneasy (or in disagreement with). However, I have a different 'spin' on this situation.

    As a quick background- I'm a K-12 school counselor by trade, many years of experience teaching sports/athletics (to kids and adults), was in sales for 8yrs, and just now going back to school to pursue a cert in elementary ed-- I am substitute teaching until May '13 (when my program starts).

    If any of the teachers in the schools where I am substitute teaching noticed anything of the like, I would ABSOLUTELY want to know and would want tips to correct my methods. Is it possible to coach her through this?? or is she simply not capable of (or open too) classroom mgt / instruction strategies?

    It may be a little too late, but just wanted to share a perspective of someone currently substituting teaching.
     
  10. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    Dec 13, 2012

    I agree. As a sub, if somebody witness' methods that I'm doing wrong, I absolutely want to know what I am doing wrong so I can correct these methods not only for future classes sub for, but for when I have my own classroom as well.
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 13, 2012

    I intended for my sample to be 'not great'. As the OP wasn't in the class while the sub was teaching, she is limited in what she could describe and since she said she would write a letter, cordial and 'OK' seems better than not writing one or outright lying.
     

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