Negative Letter of Recommendation

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by elateacher4life, May 31, 2013.

  1. elateacher4life

    elateacher4life Cohort

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    May 31, 2013

    I am being laid off at the end of the year by my current employer. I asked my principal for a letter of recommendation. It took him a month or longer to finally write the recommendation. I had to remind him several times. Lo and behold, it was negative. He stated in the letter that I had challenges with classroom management and he would recommend for hire only with provided support. He only visited my classroom twice and the students were never out of control.

    Should I confront him regarding this assertion or should I just not use the letter? Part of me wants an explanation and the other part of me say let it go. By the way, he is being involuntarily transferred to another school and possibly even demoted after being a principal for one year. How do I respond when prospective employers ask about my previous employer/supervisor?
     
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  3. CreativeTeachR

    CreativeTeachR Companion

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    May 31, 2013

    Yikes sounds like he is taking out his frustration on you!!! Why are you getting laid off if you don't mind me asking?? I also got laid off but because I am a lesbian and I was teaching in a catholic school... it's very heart wrenching! I would maybe ask someone else to write you a letter... the VP maybe??
     
  4. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    May 31, 2013

    Don't use the letter. Can you get a letter from the AP or another admin?
     
  5. elateacher4life

    elateacher4life Cohort

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    May 31, 2013

    I am being laid off because my district is unsure of its funding for next year. I have been with the district for two years. They laid me off after the first year too, but they called me back in November, so I started this school year at a new school after school had started. By the time I started the kids had had a sub for almost three months.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    May 31, 2013

    I wouldn't confront- just don't use it.
     
  7. thirdgradebuzz

    thirdgradebuzz Comrade

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    May 31, 2013

    Don't use the letter and don't mention it to the P. Did you have an AP, a mentor or even a grade level/department chair who could write one for you?

    I think the fact that they called you back once after a funding-based lay-off can be used to your advantage.
     
  8. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    May 31, 2013

    Why would you even think of "using" it?

    Just get (hopefully more favorable) letters from other administrative types.

    It's possible that a new school could insist on contacting your principal, but I think they mostly know that the principals don't interact on a day to day basis with the teachers, and that it's more meaningful to talk to AP's or department heads.

    And don't contront him over it. He's entitled to his opinion.
     
  9. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Just don't use the letter. The fact that it took him a long time & you had to remind him several times like you said is a definite indicator that it probably wouldn't have been good.

    If he still didn't do it after a 1x reminder, I would have let it go back then.

    He's an idiot for thinking that you would actually use what he wrote. He should have politely declined.
     
  10. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Let it go, and move on.
    Good luck, and I hope you will find a better position soon.
    God bless!
    Rebel1
     
  11. acl1974

    acl1974 Companion

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    Jun 1, 2013

    I cannot believe the jerk even wrote one. What was the point? Was it to make you feel bad? I have no patience for criticism that is just mean-spirited and not constructive. That served no purpose. He should have sat you down and explained that he had some concerns about your classroom management and given you pointers on how to fix it. Then, he could have decided to write a positive letter or not bothered to write one at all. He wasted both his and your time because he knows you can't use that letter now. This has my blood boiling. It's probably good he's being demoted because he's not a true leader. There were better ways to handle his concerns with you (if they're even true concerns and not him just wanting to demonstrate his power.)
     
  12. Newb

    Newb Rookie

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    Jun 1, 2013

    I'm in the same boat. I was just let go after my first year for "not being what the school needs at this time." A lot of the jobs require at least 3 letters of reference from previous principals and supervisors before they'll even look at your application--they clearly say that ones from friends and co-workers are unacceptable--so I asked my Principal, AP, and mentor teacher for one each.

    The other two have helped by giving me positive reference forms that other districts ask for, but only the AP (who never taught before and was hired in as a guidance counselor on family connections) has given me an actual letter of recommendation. In it, she was so condescending and passive-aggressive that I don't want to use it.

    It kept saying I did good things with "some" students and put a bunch of little qualifiers in there to make it seem like I only cared about a handful of the kids, which was not true. It closed by saying I "might be a good teacher in a few years." My evaluations were all "solid," but what it seemed to really come down to was that my AP didn't like me and didn't want to offer any support or backing on anything.

    This AP told kids I didn't understand how to do things because I was new, would randomly barge into my classroom in front of class and jump down my throat over some small thing, etc. When I'd send kids to the office for things like swearing at me, screaming at other kids, or blatantly disrupting class after multiple warnings/consequences, the AP would rip up the office referrals in front of them, send them back to my classroom, and then chew me out later on for having done it. Then I'd get chewed out for not being an effective classroom manager.

    The other two are supposed to be giving me letters of recommendation this week. I'm hoping they work out better. I'm going to be following this thread, myself, to see what other advice you get.
     
  13. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jun 1, 2013

    I'm sorry that your principal did this. I was nonrenewed for no specified reason, other than I was a non-tenured teacher and we were all non-renewed. My principal had been very positive all year. However, when I asked for a letter of rec., it was lukewarm - basically just saying in general terms that I showed up every day and did my job. It certainly wasn't a glowing recommendation that was going to score any points for me. The other teachers said that he did this because if he had written me a glowing recommendation, how could he justify the non-renewal. Anyway, I didn't use it. I had other, very positive letters that I used in its place. No one questioned it.
     
  14. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jun 1, 2013

    Wow. It's sad that there are so many nasty and hurtful people in the world. He could have just politely declined. Why even take the time to write something so unflattering? Move on. Perhaps some of your colleagues can write letters for you.
     
  15. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jun 2, 2013

    I've gotten many letters of rec throughout the years & even though no one has ever actually written anything negative or questionable about me, some letters are definitely better than others.

    One time, I asked this person for a letter & she was so busy, she actually let me type up my own letter, in which she read it over & signed it. Of course I wrote a steller letter, but of course it wasn't too over the top. Now, how many people actually get an opportunity like that? :D
     

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