References! References! References!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by rs08, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. rs08

    rs08 Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2008

    Recently, I've started applying for teaching positions in various states. I've noticed that most of the school districts require that I have three references before they'll even consider my apiplication.

    One school district only excluded family members as references. So I typed up three different glowing references of myself from templates I found on the Internet. I made five copies of each and mailed them separately to three different former colleagues along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and directions: (Sign the five five copies and mail them back to me.) This was not a big problem, although I don't know why the references had to be originals.

    Some school districts make matters much harder. The references have to be former supervisors. And no creative writing allowed. These supervisors have to complete a specific form, sign, and mail it back directly to the school district.

    So I had to make three phone calls to track down one of my former supervisors, who I haven't seen or talked to for several years, and bother him about this stupid reference form. Now this former supervisor was (and still is) a swell guy, and of course he was very happy to help me out, etc. But Jeez, the guy's retired, and I felt like a heel callling him at his home like that.

    Once I got the three supervisors' references part of my application package taken care of, I was instructed to schedule an interview. Much to my chagrin, I noticed on the school district's interview scheduling web site there were dozens and dozens of other applicants scheduled for the next few weeks.

    Why can't these school districts require these references once an applicant is seriously being considered for the job?

    Has anyone else had this problem? I know I'm in a different situation than most. I retired from my first teaching career last year. I think many of my former supervisors wouldn't even remember me, if they're still alive!
     
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  3. Swamp Dog

    Swamp Dog Rookie

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    Sep 28, 2008

    I can't help you with the stated problem, but I was wondering where you found the reference letter templates. I am sort of in the same boat.......lots of life experiences and supervisors who are all over the country.
    TIA

    Ellen
     
  4. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    OH yes they will want everything before they consider you. They will also want YOU to pay for fingerprinting, drug testing and background checks. Teaching is the one profession where you pay to do your job.

    It's fairly common for schools to use a standard reference form. There is very specific criteria for teaching and they want to make sure that it's addressed.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You typed your own letters of reference? I wouldn't sign one of those if I was your employer...don't you think it would be more meaningful and relevant if they wrote a personalized one on their own? I know you are trying to save time on all ends but you might as well just write your own letters of rec then, sign and have them mailed from various post offices...(just kidding):eek:
     
  6. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Sep 29, 2008

    That's what I was thinking. The way I handle this is to keep in touch with people, send them updates about what I'm doing, and continue to cultivate relationships, so that when the time comes, I'll have three or more people I can call on for references.

    You should check out interfolio, too. Referees can upload their document, and then when you need a letter, interfolio sends them out. This way you only have to bug your referees once, and interfolio does the rest.

    By the way, I love to write references for people, so don't feel like you're bugging your former supervisors. It's part of the job, and I'm happy to do it, especially if someone was a super teacher.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 29, 2008

    There's NO WAY I would have signed one of those letters of reference, even if I had agreed with what was written there.

    I'm a big girl with an education. No one puts words in my mouth.

    And, as the previous poster mentioned, I'm always happy to write references for people. (In fact, I did one about 2 weeks ago for my daughter's former teacher.) And I'm happy to receive a followup phone call.

    And, at least in the metro NYC area, you KNOW there are going to be at least several hundred, if not more, applicants for every job.

    I think the reason the letters of reference are so important is that it's one of the few ways to judge an effective teacher. There are so many bad teachers out there, many with glowing resumes. But a letter, or better yet, a conversation with a supervisor can quickly eliminate some of those teachers who look so good on paper but who are utterly ineffective in the classroom.
     
  8. BerniceBobs

    BerniceBobs Comrade

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    Sep 29, 2008

    I wish I could help. I finished student teaching last May and asked for letters of recommendation from my two resident teachers and from my university supervisor. Of the aforementioned three, only one resident teacher wrote me a letter, and it was a weak, badly written letter. The funny thing is I wrote all three of them wonderful letters of recommendations for their professional files when they asked me. After pretty much begging my university supervisor for that letter, which she had promised me, I asked if I could write it for her using her observation reports as a basis and which she could sign, but she responded that it would not be ethical. Therefore, I was left with no letter at all which has left me feeling a bit embittered.
    The one teacher who did write me a letter is quite needy and mentally unstable and uses her letter as leverage and calls me all the time to talk on and on about her personal life--even late on week nights.
    I am afraid to offend her because if someone calls to check on me, she might say something negative.
    Yes, these letters are important, but sometimes it feels that I have to sell my soul to obtain one. The thing is, they aren't that hard to write--I can dash off a good one in ten minutes so I don't understand why some people make such a big deal about having to write one.
    I apologize for my rant, you just got me thinking about this and I am getting mad all over again!
     
  9. Swamp Dog

    Swamp Dog Rookie

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    you wouldn't believe how many people have said to me "write the letter and I'll sign it." Would I have asked you to write the letter in the first place if that was how I wanted it done?
     
  10. rs08

    rs08 Rookie

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    It would be more meaningful and relevant if I weren't one of fifty other candidates for the same position. I wouldn't and didn't ask my two former supervisors to do this (that would be insulting to their positions), just a few of the teachers I'd worked with. My former superviosrs got the school district's bonafied reference form. Also, I wouldn't forge anyone's signature. To me, that would be unethical. Anyway, three of my former colleagues have already returned the five signed copies of "their" reference letter. Two of them included notes to the effect they were glad to help me out. I assumed it was understood that if they wanted to knock themselves out, they could go ahead and write their own letters. Actually, there's one teacher, who I haven't heard from yet, I expect to do just that. She loves to write.
     
  11. rs08

    rs08 Rookie

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    Sep 29, 2008

  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :confused:I don't understand how it would be insulting to a supervisor's position to write a letter of reference...:confused: or did you mean you didn't ask them to sign your pre-written letter of rec (in which case I think it would be insulting to anyone...) :eek:
     
  13. rs08

    rs08 Rookie

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    The latter. I don't know, maybe you're right. If I ever get the chance, I'll ask them if they were insulted. I know if one of them asked me to sign a prewritten reference letter, I wouldn't be insulted. I'd prefer it. But that's me.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 30, 2008

    Interesting...I'd never sign something as my own writing that I hadn't created...
     
  15. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Me, either... I'm way too vain about my writing!
     

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