P won't give me letter of rec. What to do?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Linguist92021, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 10, 2012

    Background:
    I've been working 'for' this P since June last year. After subbing, for a couple of months she offered me a LTS assignment, which she extended (through June 30). At that point my position was eliminated due to budget cuts. I've heard nothing but great or at least good feedback from her.

    In March last year I asked her a letter of rec in writing. I waited a few weeks, didn't want to rush her. Then in May I asked her again, and since then she basically gave me the run around. these are the things she said:
    - I thought I already gave it to you
    - I'm really busy, you have to remind me, all the time (I told her I don't like to bug my P with things like this, she said 'you have to bug me). So I asked her a few more times, but not too many times. Every time I told her that if she would prefer not to write me one, just tell me, she said that wasn't it. (May)
    - she said there is no point for applying for jobs because there are so many teacher laid off, I won't be able to compete (June)
    - finally she said the only letter she'll write is one that is sealed and goes straight to the employer!! This was in August! So for 5 months she strung me along saying she'll write it, then she sounds all frustrated as in I'm asking something out of the norm.
    I tried to explain to her that I can't apply like that. I'm in Cali and we go through edjoin, and I have to submit everything, there is no way for her to add a letter because my application will be incomplete.
    And does she really want to write me a specifically tailored letter every time I apply? (she said yes). She said she can give me that I'm asking for, but that won't be any good, that will be just a simple verification of employment.

    This doesn't make sense. I tried to explain to her how edjoin works, she said she knows.
    The last thing I have done (October) printed out a screen from a job i wanted to apply for and a printed note saying that this is one I plan on applying and as she can see there is no where for her to send the letter with my application.

    This is so frustrating, I'm very upset every time I think about it.
    I feel that she owes me a letter, there is no reason why she couldn't write me at least an ok/good one.
    I cannot apply for any jobs without her letter. I have 3 great letters from student teaching (that was 2 years ago) and an awesome one from a teacher at my current place. I need a P.
    I even just tried to apply to sub at a place (much more money where I'm at right now) and they wanted a letter from the P. That's the one I showed her.
    So because of her I haven't / can't apply for any job, because it would look bad that my current P doesn't give me a letter.

    There are things I can do, I'm just not sure that I should. I can call Human resources and find out what to do in this situation. I can call her direct boss, or her direct boss's direct boss and talk to them. I have met them both personally.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    She's weird. When i told her last that I need a letter for a job I'm trying to apply, I told her it was for a subbing job. It pays $20 more / day and there is much less driving. Her comment: "oh, you're gonna work really hard for that money!" As if I'm already not working to earn every single penny.

    I swear it sounds like she wants to keep me there as a sub, because honestly, they have very few they can rely on. But that cannot be it.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 10, 2012

    Eek. This isn't good. :(

    Do you sub AND teach in the detention center or do you sub in the detention center? I'm a little confused and I'm not sure what your experiences are.

    Whatever the case, I would no longer pursue a letter from this woman. She doesn't want to give you one, and if she does write one it will do nothing in the way of helping your file. Is there someone else to write a letter for you?
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 10, 2012

    I had a LTS assignment from October 2011 through June 2012. Outside of that I've been subbing since June 2011 until presently.

    But I feel that she's treating me unfairly. at least give me a letter, and then I can decide if i want to use it. It may not even be a great letter, but I could balance it out with other ones.
    I have plenty of teachers willing to write glowing letters, but I need one from my supervisor.
    there is no other supervisor / equivalent to the P that could write me one.

    If I don't get a letter, I will have very slim chances to get a teaching job.
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Nov 10, 2012

    Have you been subbing at this one school only and every day or nearly every day? You feel she has enough knowledge to write you a letter, right? Man, it seems like a bad place to be. So sorry.

    You mentioned in another thread that you covered the election in class and showed Obama's speech...seemed like you were making the decisions. That's why I thought you were teaching in the detention center (or whatever it is called). I'm not picking...I've just been curious a while and thought this was a good time to come to understand your situation. :)
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I know, it can be confusing. this P is responsible for 3 schools: 2 detentions centers and 1 alcohol/drug rehab school. I sub mostly at the 2 detention centers, and had a LTS assignment at one of them.
    These schools are small, with total student counts 145 / 145 / 40. they're year round, teachers work 190-225 days, so they take off weeks at a time (recess). So it actually feels like I'm a teacher because I have the classroom for 1-2 weeks at a time. I've been working pretty much every days every since I started there.
    Every teacher knows me, and they know that I can handle classrooms and I can TEACH. So a lot of them leave things up to me, they say this is what needs to be covered, I let you decide how you do it. Some are more specific, but a lot of them just say chapter X, sections 1-3 (I encouraged them to do that to make it easy for them, and more fun for me).

    This P knows me as a teacher (8 months) and knows me as a sub. She has been in my classrooms several times to be able to write a letter.
    After her last visit she told me I had excellent classroom management, she was impressed with the strategies, activities and student engagement. She was especially impressed with the assessment I created (she said 'wow, these are very high level questions'). And finally she said she hoped I would get a job soon because I am very good.

    So why won't she write me a letter?
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 10, 2012

    I know that this isn't what you want to hear, but you need to move on and find someone else to write you a letter. Perhaps it's time to stop subbing in her schools and find other schools with principals who are willing to write recommendations for you.

    It seems apparent that this principal doesn't want to write you a letter. That may be because of you (maybe her opinions about you as a teacher are different from what you think they are) or because of her or current school policies (maybe she got burned in the past by putting herself out there and recommending someone who turned out to be a big dud). In any case, she's made it pretty clear that she isn't going to be able to write you the letter you want. You need to find someone else, even if it's not easy.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    :(
    Caesar, I guess you're right. It's a lot easier to see looking in the situation, than when I'm in it.
    I guess I can ask a few of the teachers to write letters for me. As far as letters from supervisors, I have 3 great ones (2 cooperative teachers and 1 college supervisor), but it's all from my student teaching, which was 2 years ago. In most cases they would all work, because letters must be from 3 years, but often it's just 'recent'. I have 1 from a teacher at the detention center and it's very nice. I really enjoy working with at-risk students, and it's a plus that I have that experience, so might as well use it.

    I guess a lot of applicants are in my shoes, they're subbing and not have letters from Ps. Honestly, I don't see how a principal in a traditional K-12 school would would get to know a sub. This one had the chance, that's why I'm hurt that I can't use it.
    Obviously I will be at a disadvantage when I', competing with those who have letters from principals.

    How do I overcome that?
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 10, 2012

    With a compelling cover letter and resume. Letters of rec are looked at after interviews in my competitive district. I know is different where you are, but don't underestimate the power of a great cover and resume. Enough members here have reaped the benefit of polishing up their packages.
     
  11. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    Nov 11, 2012

    For my teaching jobs, no one really bothered to even check my references. After all my rounds of interviews, I was hired almost on the spot. If you have a great cover letter and resume and do really well on interviews, they might not even bother to check. You could probably just list the names/numbers of your references.
     
  12. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Nov 11, 2012

    I don't think it normally works that way, Linguist! Letters of recommendation are usually sent by your employer/administrator without your seeing them. Even in an online application, your administrator will probably be sent an email and given the option of either uploading a letter to the website, or mailing one in.
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Is there another teacher that could write you a letter? A VP or curriculum person or someone?? Anyone! Honestly, I did not need my P's letter to get me my current job. I did not want admin. to know that I was applying elsewhere so I just got recs from others. It was fine.
     
  14. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Honestly, I would try going to another person for a letter... somebody in administration if possible. Also, here's a thought - if your principal really doesn't want to write you a letter of recommendation but is OK with a verification of employment letter, perhaps she would be OK with writing something like "Linguist worked here on these dates, for further information about her performance please contact me at this number?"
     
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Brilliant!!
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    This is what was so surprising for me. I didn't think the letter had to be sealed, it's not like it's a letter to get accepted into grad school, or some top notch job. I had no problems getting letters from others, so it just seemed like she was giving me the run around.

    Honestly, I know I will be applying for jobs in the next couple of years. Does she really expect me to tell her each time I apply and then she'll write a letter for each application?? No way. It makes no sense at all.
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't have anyone else in administration. We have one principal, no AP. Everyone else is a teacher. But I love your idea about the verification. I do feel that if they called for reference, it would be ok. So maybe I will type up a letter like that. But honestly, now that I saw it from a different point of view I don't even want to deal with her, I think I will just put it behind me for now, and maybe write a letter for to sign later.

    Seriously every time I would think of this scenario I would get upset, so I would just try to block it out, and then get upset as the weeks went by, it was just a toxic situation for me.
     
  18. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2012

    This is pretty unbelievable, I'm sorry for this situation. Can you ask for a copy of the letter she plans to send sealed to employers?
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    That would be nice. Based on how she's been with this whole thing, there would be NO WAY she would do that. As of right now she won't even write the letter. When she told me that every time I apply, I need to tell her, one teacher told me to just go and do it.
    So there was a job posting for a substitute teacher with $20 more pay / day that wanted a Ps letter. I printed out the letter, left it for her with a note. That was over 2 weeks ago. Have not heard from her.

    It's amazing that it took you guys to tell me what's going on for me to really open my eyes.
     
  20. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    If she is adamant about you not seeing the letter, there is no way I'd send it. What other reason would she have for not letting you see it other than that she wants to say things that aren't positive? I'd take my chances with not having a letter from her vs. having one that might be bad.
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Well, I haven't even thought about having her show me a letter she'd write, because it would have sounded really strange. Because of the way she acted I thought the letter wouldn't be positive, but for the life of me I do not understand why she would write anything like that.
    I had nothing but great feedback from her. Our school secretary told me once during graduation (I worked with seniors to get them prepped for their presentations, and they've always done a fantastic job) the P whispered to her about me "she's so awesome, I wish I could hire her". And things like that.
    That's why I felt lost, but I think this is a situation I will never figure out.
     
  22. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I agree, and also agree with others to move on - at this point, you've obviously done all you can. I do understand how frustrating that is. I had an administrator a few years back who I couldn't get to write one for the longest time, and there was no one else I could ask to do it since I lived abroad and the rest of the teachers and staff didn't speak English well enough to write one. My admin's English was perfect, but I still eventually had to actually write the letter myself and have my him read and sign it.

    Interviewers may ask why you have a teacher rather than a supervisor listed from your most recent experience, so be prepared with an explanation. Otherwise, this may not make you feel any better but it really doesn't always end if you don't have an admin letter of recommendation - as others have said, that's usually the very last step in the interview process.

    Since you have other great recommendations, my suggestion is to write to all older references and tell them you are in the job search process (if you haven't already done so) and ask for an updated letter and the best number to reach them should someone want to call.
     
  23. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Nov 12, 2012

    Could it be that she's trying to prevent you from leaving?
     
  24. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Nov 12, 2012

    That was my thought, but it's very unprofessional of her to do that. In my experience, the most important part of the process is your cover letter. Make it stand out, supported by a great CV. Hey, with your experience in those schools, you should walk in to a job because most Ps would assume you have great classroom management!
    Good luck!
     
  25. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    that thought entered my head, but then I thought, 'no, that cannot be it!".

    But her last comment really sounded like that. I told her I needed the letter for a subbing position at a charter school (it's a really bad school (behaviorally, academically) in a bad neighborhood turned into a great charter school.
    I told her I wanted to keep my options open, at our schools all they talk about is cutting jobs, and this school pays $145 / day (it's pretty good). She said 'well, you're gonna work very hard for that $145' - she didn't sound like she implied that I'm not working here, it sounded like she said the $ sounds great but I will regret it.

    I thought it was odd, it's not for her to decide.
     
  26. houseofbooks

    houseofbooks Companion

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    Nov 13, 2012

    I thought this while reading the thread. In some districts, it's very hard to find great substitutes and teachers/administrators will do whatever they can to keep them. However, it's unprofessional to hold a qualified applicant "hostage" like that. My aunt knows a woman who subbed for the same district for 5 years and covered many maternity leaves because all the teachers love her; there was an opening in her subject area this year, and they didn't even grant her an interview, which makes me think they wanted to "keep" her as a substitute. :unsure:
     

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