Please help-no letter of recommendation from my ct

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Lovephysics, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. Lovephysics

    Lovephysics New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 6, 2016

    Hello! I have a couple big problems and really need some advice. My biggest problem is lack of letters of recommendation. My cooperating teacher will not respond to any messages from me. At this point, it has been over a year. At first she was "too busy", then she had "problems of her own", now she just completely ignores me.

    Prior to student teaching, we were neighbors and friends. Our kids played soccer together. She was one of the people who convinced me to go back to school and get my certification. She asked me to student teach in her classroom after I spent many of my practicum hours with her.

    During student teaching, she was frequently not in the room, even showing up late (skipping the whole first hour prep and then some). When she was in the classroom, she spent her time in the back of the room working on her laptop or knitting. At one point, she left the school's starter pistol in the classroom, where a student found it, waved it around and fired it; she was not in the room at that time. The only times she would get up was to interrupt when I was struggling with classroom management. During those times, I was embarrassed because she would yell at the students and belittle them. I learned very little and was unprepared to have my own classroom (more on that in a bit).

    After I left, she was suspended by the district, and although she got to keep her job, she had to go to part time and switch schools. This is where she started saying she was too busy. She had recently gotten divorced and was constantly posting on Facebook about her "latest conquests" and vacations with several of these men, often inappropriately worded. I nicely kept reminding her about the letter and how hers was so important for me.

    While I was there, I thought things were going well, other than I thought she was taking advantage of me by leaving me alone to do her job. She would give advice and constructive criticism as well as let me know if she thought things went well.

    Flash forward to this fall. I received a call for an interview to teach AP physics at one of the wealthiest districts in the state. Because I still had no letters, the school called her as well as administration from the school. I did get the job, hired the first day of school. Like I stated before, I was not fully prepared for my own classroom, yet I started with 3 preps. One was a class proprietary to the school, not taught anywhere else. Another, I was the only teacher in the district teaching it, and the third there was a teacher at the other high school who taught it. It was a horrible experience where administration made some very unreasonable requests. I was never given a new teacher information packet or assigned a mentor as required for probationary teachers. I was told I would be provided training to teach AP classes, but it never happened, and I was specifically told not to go to new teacher trainings by the district and given busywork to do during those PDs. I was told to report on Saturdays and that I needed to miss my children's activities while I was planning since I was hired the first day and was constantly trying to get ahead in lesson planning for 3 classes. Eventually I was told to make everything PowerPoint presentations (difficult for physics) so that I could post on my website daily so kids did not have to take notes. I was told I could not tell parents if students were not completing assignments and that I was not to give below a B in any of the classes. I had to send home a daily email to parents letting them know what we did in class and what the homework was for the day. The final straw was a parent said she didn't think I should give a test, so administration told me to make it a "group test" and just for a participation grade. I did all that they asked. These were AP students going to college next year. The school was more worried about grades so their kids could get into top colleges than they were about learning. I know this is not what is best for students and I finally resigned mid year.

    At this point, I am applying to sub companies and looking for full time positions. I have no letters of recommendation, other than 2 from teachers I observed for a few weeks. I am a published research scientist with a masters in education, but I really fear that no letter from my CT and leaving my position mid year will prevent me from finding a new position. Any advice is really appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  2.  
  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    14,047
    Likes Received:
    1,864

    Jan 6, 2016

    My students will be in the classroom in a minute, so no time for a lengthy reply, but my first thought is that a recommendation letter from a teacher who has been suspended may not carry a lot of weight. Are you able to get letters from someone outside of teaching--your program coordinator for your masters program, for example?
     
    Caesar753 likes this.
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,437
    Likes Received:
    1,577

    Jan 6, 2016

    Your CT's principal obviously knows that your CT was less than adequate as a teacher herself. Can you go to that person and request a letter?
     
    Caesar753 likes this.
  5. Lovephysics

    Lovephysics New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 6, 2016

    Hi catnfiddle,

    I did try asking the principal and AP. They both said no because they were not in the classroom and did not see my lesson plans or teaching skills.

    I also believe that stems from them suspending her and trying to get her terminated.
     
  6. Lovephysics

    Lovephysics New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jan 6, 2016

    Hi Mrs. C,

    That is a great idea. I will call my school today and see if they can help. Unfortunately my site supervisor would be no help. She forgot my first evaluation, rescheduled my second last minute (both times having her end up in class on a lab day, which she did not like), and never showed up at all for my final evaluation. This whole process feels like the worst mistake of my life, except for the true joy I have from working with students.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,584
    Likes Received:
    2,688

    Jan 6, 2016

    Like others, I agree that not having a letter from a suspended teacher isn't a big deal; if asked about it during an interview, you can always simply explain that your CT has since been suspended (or you can be more diplomatic about the word choices you use) and is unable to write you a letter at this time. You do need a letter, though. Many online applications won't even process your application without one.

    I know you said that your university supervisor wouldn't be much help, but can you ask anyway? Is there anyone at all who was involved in your student teaching in any way, like the teacher in the classroom next door or anybody? Did you make relationships with anyone who might be able to write you a letter (or agree to the contents of a letter you write yourself)?

    I think that your story should serve as a caveat to other current and future student teachers: always schmooze a little with the administration at the school where you are student teaching and ask them to sit in on a lesson or two. You never know when you might need them on your side.
     
    otterpop likes this.
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,262
    Likes Received:
    748

    Jan 7, 2016

    Can you get a letter of recommendation from your University Supervisor? My cooperating teacher gave me a pretty good letter of recommendation, but my University Supervisor's was superior. I ended up never using the letter of recommendation from my cooperating teacher. I didn't have a problem getting hired.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    11,204
    Likes Received:
    2,787

    Jan 11, 2016

    I would go with the University Supervisor, and I would also consider any professors/instructors who you have a warm relationship with, including advisors. A word of warning - people will agree to do this for you and then procrastinate to the point that it becomes a real battle. I suggest that you ask, and if they are agreeable, ask what you can do to help them help you. Give a realistic but firm date and resign yourself to being a bit of a nudge. People's hearts are in the right spot, but they become mired in the performance, and they drag their feet.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    45

    Jan 13, 2016

    I would go see her in person to get it. I had a situation like that, and I got so fed up waiting that I went to the dept head's classroom and point blank asked her when she was going to write it. I wasn't rude or anything, but she did it that day.
     
  11. physteach

    physteach Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    24

    Jan 13, 2016

    I have no clue where you are located, but if you are at all considering the NJ area, PM me.
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jan 14, 2016

    Okay so if you can't get letters of recommendation, you might have to get creative and volunteer in some positions having to do with education to have those people who over see the projects give you letters. You might want to look for organizations that need volunteers to offer tutoring to students (there are even online organizations that offer volunteering positions for you to Skype a student in Africa from your home to help tutor them). Homeless shelters for families with children may also be another option. Or you could try to get a position at a tutoring company and earn letters of recommendation through that (and be paid if you need to be).

    It doesn't seem like your CT really had much to offer you and being that she's had a bad teaching experience herself, I would not continue to ask her or anyone involved with that school you were at for a recommendation. It was a bad experience and wouldn't really make you shine to a potential principal in my opinion.
     
  13. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    587
    Likes Received:
    74

    Jan 15, 2016

    I agree with the others. That letter is the least of your concerns.
    If I were you I would probably ask one of the other teachers at the school you were teaching at this year if they would write you a letter. Surely you made friends/acquaintances with some of the other teachers at your school?

    Does trying to make teachers work on Saturday really happen? I've never heard of such a thing.
    Sounds like a nightmare situation to me.

    My advice is to try to get a job teaching inclusion. In my state to get certified in special ed all you need is to pass a test. I would imagine getting a math job would be pretty easy. This will get you in the classroom with another teacher in the room. Once you get used to being in the school environment you would be able to better manage the class but it would give you some time to rely on someone else for a while.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. waterfall,
  2. Kelster95
Total: 272 (members: 6, guests: 239, robots: 27)
test