oh boy - references

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by chebrutta, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 8, 2008

    So I'm extremely worried about getting a job for this year. I had last school year off (I really, really, really needed to think about teaching. I had some bad experiences. One is the stuff of legends at my 1st school) and I decided that I was meant to teach. I hear something on the radio and I plan a lesson. So, great! I start getting ready and then I realize - I HAVE to have a reference from my last immediate supervisor.

    Short story long, I did NOT get along with this AP. And I get along with everyone! Except her. I missed 9 days of work for personal health issues - which she demanded I explain in detail to her (I refused - just showed her a doctor's note and claimed my privacy), told me I needed to call her by 5AM if I was unable to work that day (instead of using the internet to call out and request a sub), got into arguments over where my sub lesson plans were kept (see-through file-folder box behind my desk - she never could seem to find them), demanded I use her lesson plan master (three pages long, for each day, each period), called my lesson plans "ridiculous for high school" (and said nothing when my kids showed reading gains of 2 and 3 years on yearly assessments) then gave me an "Acceptable" observation rating because I was "defiant" and "unwilling to be a team player." Yet I was retained for the next year. I did not, however, return.

    So anyway, I asked for and received 6 references - 4 from my 1st school, 2 from the second. The girl at the district office goofed when I checked to make sure they had all arrived and returned them to me after scanning them into the system. 5 of my references were very nice, stating I was an excellent teacher who got along well with parents, students, and coworkers, and helped out a lot around the school. The AP's reference? Scathing, to say the least. "...would not recommend for hire" to quote.

    So now I'm worried, because the school year here starts in early August, I've dropped off my resume to several schools, and I haven't heard a single word from anyone. So I'm very worried that this one reference will be my downfall - especially since I am applying in the same district, though not the same school. Does anyone have any advice or a similar situation? I'd hate to lose out teaching altogether because one person and I had a personality clash.

    Sigh. Sorry this was so long. Really needed to vent.
     
  2.  
  3. scienceteach82

    scienceteach82 Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Messages:
    688
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 8, 2008

    Are you applying to another district? Is there anyway to take out that letter? That is so horrible that she wrote that. I'd slash her tires for you if I could.
     
  4. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    4,896
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 8, 2008

    :hugs: I have not been in your shoes but I am sure that my present principal will be writing me a similar reference letter as yours when I leave my present school. I am on to her though, so I am keeping documentation and will phone the union at the blink of an eye.

    I hope your phone will start ringing soon.

    ST, your "toughness" always makes me smile :)!
     
  5. munchkin

    munchkin Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 8, 2008

    Find out how many references you need, and request that the bad one be deleted. Yes, it was a major faux paz for the district to give those confidential reveiws back to you IF you signed the waiver stating you would not see them. BUT, you legally have a right to eliminate the bad one, since you already know about it. Do tell the HR person that they were given back to you by mistake. Something very similiar happened to me. That particular review was eliminated from my file, and the person who made the mistake no longer works in that position. Big, major legal fiasco could take place when stuff like this happens.
    I know how upset I was when I accidently read the one that was sent back to me. I immediately asked that that one be deleted, and the reasons why I felt it should be . The hiring district completely understood, and guided me in how to do the deletion.
    I am not sure how Florida does theirs, but in our state we have the option of deleting/requesting references or any other material that we input in our state recruiting paperwork. Hence, the ability to add or delete obsolete information as needed. Speaking of which, I need to delete some stuff from my own file, as I was told that references need to be less than 3 years old, and some of mine are much older than that. But being a substitute, it is very difficult to get an administrator to do these, unless you are doing a LTS there. Most of the administrators I have worked under do NOT come into my rooms that I work in. Nor do the other "teamLeaders" etc on the hall .
    I have learned to make as many friendly contacts as possible when in multiple schools, and always try to have some positive comment to leave with the principal/ ap/ or secretary when I leave.
    Good luck. Talk to your HR in the district and ask for some advice. I can sympathize with the hurt you must be feeling. Keep your chin up, things will get better.

    munchkin
     
  6. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 8, 2008

    Thanks for the kind words, guys! Unfortunately, I can't have the letter removed - both districts I've applied to require a rec from your most recent teaching supervisor. Technically, that would be the principal - but I know she would just have the AP fill it out for her. Too bad the unions down here don't do squat - and since I was on annual contract, going to them with a dispute is a sure-fire way to not be renewed.

    Sometimes I wonder why I even want to go back, with admins. who are sketchy. I can handle problem kids and parents with support, but without it... sigh. I just want to be back in the classroom.
     
  7. MissErin

    MissErin Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 8, 2008

    Wow, I'm really sorry this had to happen to you! It is really unfair that it has to be included with the other letters of recommendation. Especially since it's NOT a recommendation. I think Munchkin has good advice- to talk with HR and see if there is anything that you can do about it. I also really like science teacher's options about slashing tires.... haha Probably not the best idea I guess, but it would sure help with frustration!
     
  8. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Messages:
    6,216
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 8, 2008

    That's awful that she wrote that about you. Maybe you could ask HR if it is absolutely necessary to have your most recent administrator's recommendation (especially since you have good references from your first school) and just use other references from the school you were at most recently. I'm sorry that this is happening to you; it is completely unprofessional.
     
  9. Ghost

    Ghost Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 9, 2008

    You poor thing! :hugs: I am in a similar situation. My principal hated me, couldn't do anything right, etc. My eval. said things like "I have heard that she w/holds food from students for punishment" and "I don't believe she uses schedules on a regular basis" Umm, hello? Those aren't observations. Long story short, I ended up resigning and it didn't really matter because they were getting rid of my class. I had the AP write me a reference instead. Legally, she CANNOT say anything negative about you. She is only allowed to state that you worked there, your duties, and so forth. I know because I worked with the union lawyer after she bad-mouthed me when a school called her instead of the AP. Good luck!

    Oh, Heck, I'll write you a glowing reference!!!:whistle:
     
  10. munchkin

    munchkin Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 9, 2008

    Trinda:
    According to the lawyers I worked for, and having heard my sisters who are in management positions... you are partially correct. The HR department of the old company can NOT reveal/tell anyone exactly what is on the written review. BUT they can state that she wouldn't rehire the person in question. The hiring school can only ask: Did she work there, did they show up for work on a regular basis- even THAT one is iffy, but some people will do this...is she/he eligible for re-hire if a position is open.... It doesn't have to be on the same level, it could be for a toilet bowl position.... :eek: a.k.a. Nothing that would implicate either party as being biased.

    Due to the fact that I am a sub, I guess I fall under the radar on the immediate supervisor radar. <<snicker>> I have MANY supervisors, I work for 25+ different schools and Five districts!!
    So sorry that this has happened to Chebrutta.:blush:
     
  11. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,340
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 9, 2008

    I wouldn't be so quick to presume the principal would have the AP fill out the recommendation. People are rarely willing to sign their own names to someone else's negative remarks! What you will probably end up with is a very neutral, general letter. It is worth a try. What do you have to lose? If it is negative, you are no worse off that you were when you started. If it is neutral, you'll have a better chance than having the negative one the AP wrote.
     
  12. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Messages:
    7,507
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 9, 2008

    I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I had an awful P who wrote awful things in my annual evaluations and observations. Luckily she's no longer a P in my school:) But I can sympathize with crappy admins.

    If you can't take out the bad reference, then you just have to go into interviews like you own the world. Let your experiences and confidence speak for you.

    I'm a bit surprised though about the whole process where you are...I've never had to submit anything related to references until I was a finalist in a job search. Even then, they made phone calls or wrote emails instead of asking for a written letter.

    Good luck!! :)
     
  13. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,340
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 9, 2008

    Actually, that is not totally correct, Trinda. It may have been in your case, but not in all.

    One of the biggest myths in job hunting is that people can't say anything negative about you on a reference. But if you sign a permission for reference sheet, you are giving the reference permission to give their honest opinion of your performance.

    If they say something that is untrue or slander, you have legal recourse...but they can still say it. And if its something like "this is the worst teacher I have ever worked with" that is very hard to prove it is untrue. It is that person's honest opinion. That is what they are being asked for...

    That's the reason personnel departments word that last question very carefully... "Would YOU hire this person again?" very carefully. It is asking for the writer's personal opinion. If they state "no, I would not rehire this person" it is totally their opinion, and they have every legal right to say it.

    If legally the only thing you could say on a recommendation was the date of employment then nobody would ask for them.
     
  14. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 9, 2008

    Wow guys! Thank for all of the encouragement (Side note: I broke down in tears at my waitressing job talking to another teacher in the district about this. Embarrassing!)

    Here in Florida, before you can ever be considered for an interview, you have to answer the application questions, submit official test results, submit official transcripts, and provide 3 references - including one from you last immediate supervisor - on THEIR FORM. TO EVERY DISTRICT. If they want the rec expanded on, then they can call - if the ref. says yes.

    This means no letters of rec. This means every time I apply to a new district, I have to go back to my old schools and get recs. And they are only good for one year, which means the recs I had from my previous school had to be REDONE - even though they were still in my personnel file.

    Has anyone read "Nothing But the Truth" by Avi? I'm feeling just a bit like Miss Narwin right now. I may never get the chance to tell my side because they don't have to interview me. I think I'm going over to the rum and tums forum for a bit ;)
     
  15. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    3,765
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 9, 2008

    You need to make sure somewhere on your resume or cover letter you state you were recommended for rehire and you made the decision to resign. When you get interviews, again strongly state you were recommended for rehire at your last place of employment. Hopefully, the interviewers will recongize that maybe your AP had an axe to grind and she used you to grind it. I think at this point your recommendation for rehire is your best way to counter-attack the negative letter.
     
  16. Writer02

    Writer02 Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2008

    HR is not always checking everything as carefully as we think. Your last supervisor ... could you maybe ask the dept. chair to fill it out? I think I'd ask the principal to fill one out anyway and maybe not check of the waiver. Anything to get that AP's comments out of there!

    :sorry:
     
  17. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2008

    Hey Chebrutta,
    I know exactly how you feel because I am in the same position. I got along great with everyone,did all the extras,stepped up to the plate anytime anyone needed help(taking over a class to staying late to collect tickets for the basketball team.)My students did extremely well on the FCAT's and yet my AP did not sign off on my new teacher support eval(or whatever they call it),stating that I did not have mastery of subject matter(BS) and something else which I don't remember right now. She also put down that I had a very difficult time managing the behavior of my students. We are talking about kids that were so bad that their last teacher(a ten year veteran)quit mid year. Then, my principal did not sign off on behavioral management and learning environment on my CTA. I took the matter to my union rep. and the principal revised it to no concerns (she had to because there were at least four procedural mistakes on it). She also took off one of the concerns on that new teacher support evaluation (she kept that learning environment concern in there). Anyway, I needed to get a reference from her for the same reason as you. She replied that she would send one in for me,which she did and she sent me a copy. She did not bubble in anything,instead checked off the box that said she would prefer a phone call. I know that I have no control over what she will say and that she has a reputation for being vindictive and vicious.So, I put in another call to my union telling them that under the circumstances, I request that she bubble in the eval. and not request a phone call.We'll see what happens, I think I agree that we are both a bit screwed but I also think that we are not the first nor the last teachers to have this happen and therefore if we are honest and not defensive about the issue, we will be fine.
    The only other observation that I want to make is that I am disgusted that my AP can use the eval. as a weapon instead of a tool and that she can get away with it. I know that she is looking for a position as a principal and I can only feel sorry for the staff that gets stuck with her. She is an unconscionable human being.
     
  18. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 18, 2008

    Beth - are you sure we didn't work at the same school???? I mean, seriously. Did we? Sure sounds like the same person! I watched a teacher throw up his hands, yell "I quit! I can't work here with no support!" and storm out of the school. In the middle of class.

    I actually talked to another P. in my district and asked what he would do if he came across an evaluation like that. Unfortunately, since she's an AP and in the same district (with a reputation as some who REALLY knows her stuff) her reference would be given some serious credence. She does know her stuff backwards, forwards, upside-down, and accounts for every what-if, but on people skills, she'd flunk. This is the person who, during my post-evaluation conference, asked me about my sub-lesson plans, then when I started to explain that they do, in fact, exist, she cut me off and said, "Oh, shut up. I don't want to hear about your mystery sub plans that DON'T EXIST! Tell me how you will fix it in the future."

    Ummm... maybe look in the see-through file box with a blue lid clearly marked "SUB LESSON PLANS" behind my desk? Instead of the black filing cabinet in the back of the room?

    Didn't even let me get to the part where my dept. head was always calling me to borrow them when another teacher called out because they were well planned, easy to follow, and READY. COPIES ALREADY MADE.

    So far, no calls. Keep watching jobs disappear. Getting extremely frustrated. I did have the dept. head fill one out and I asked the principal for one, which to date she has not done (which I understand. Big school. Lots to do).
     
  19. prinjess82

    prinjess82 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2008

    I am sorry to hear about your situation.I don't know how Florida works, if HR or principals handle interviewing and hiring. Usually if principals are doing the hiring they don't check references until after your interview. I agree that if you have a good relationship with your principal you should see if she can write a reference that overturns the APs. Some words od advice, if and when you do get an interview try your best to be positive about your past jobs and AP. No interviewer wants to hear all the bad stuff, even if it is true. You just have to put a positive spin on it all "we had a difference in opinion yet it made me a better teacher....." Yes you need to defend yourself to some degree, but in the end be the bigger person. I know when I was critcized at work it made me 10x better trying to prove their thoughts of me wrong..and it worked!Anyhoo...best of luck!
     
  20. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 18, 2008

    Hey Chrbrutta,
    I'm not sure if we were in the same school but I would hate to think that there are two horrible AP's out there-working against the teachers instead of on our behalf.Seriously though, thanks for responding to me. I feel better just knowing that someone understands how devasting this can be to a person's sense of self worth. And believe me, I do know exactly how you feel.If you want to chat more,pm me.
     
  21. kbroche5

    kbroche5 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2008

    You are on the right track with keeping documentation. I was released from a job as a first year teacher, due to budget cutbacks, and was given a not so nice dismissal. At no point through out the year was there any mentoring or help. I resigned from my position and am suppose to get a nuetrual recommendation but they are going against the agreement and giving me a bad reference.
    Keep your union invovled at all cost!
     
  22. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2008

    I really wish somebody could offer me an explanation as to why these administrators go out of their way to hurt us professionally.
     
  23. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 24, 2008

    Update: No phone calls for interviews. I keep seeing jobs pop up and disappear in two days. I think they may be hiring from within the district, but still... getting extremely frustrated.
     
  24. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 24, 2008

    Me too.
     
  25. kbroche5

    kbroche5 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 25, 2008

    protocol not followed

    I asked my VP to write up a reference (stating that I worked there, how long I worked there and the position that I held). That was a month ago, come to find out they are not writing them. I had to call in the union about it. What is this out to ruin new teachers year or something. How do they expect teachers to become Highly qualified if they are not letting them get jobs???????:confused:
     
  26. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 25, 2008

    see post #21:confused::confused:
     
  27. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 26, 2008

    Honestly, I think a lot of Ps and APs do it so they look better. You know, "weeding out the garden" and such. Why can't they go out and weed the teachers who sit at their desk on the phone/computer all day, and let me get back into the classroom?
     
  28. Beth561

    Beth561 Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 26, 2008

    I totally agree. My daughter's honors math teacher did a power point presentation every day, My daughter and her friends often told me they couldn't even ask questions because their teacher would spend the entire class time I-ming on her computer-even if the kids were exaggerating a bit-that was their overall take on their math class
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 525 (members: 1, guests: 494, robots: 30)
test