Thursday, November 01, 2012

On Recommendations

Is it a case of doing a job well and then getting more work to do within your job? Writing recommendations, or at least the possibility there-of is a part of the teaching job. Some teachers are asked more, others less.  Some often say no, others less so.  Some say yes most of the time.  Some teachers get a reputation for writing recommendations the way they're asked to - filled with specific examples about the student's work in your class and detailed praise and picture painting of this particular human being.  Others produce brief and generic "recs" that aren't helpful. I don't find it very hard to shine the light on a person and see and then describe their goodness and their strengths.

I've written for students who've told me that every other teacher said no.  I don't lie, I find the positive in the person.  I believe that it's not hard to locate, but we often - for one reason or another - don't allow ourselves to see the good in another. 

I've been working on senior recommendations since the start of the year, particularly during Sukkot break. And I've been trying to finish up the big bunch that I have.  As juniors kids have to get 6 recommendations from 6 teachers. I do between 20 and 60 of those. The head of College Guidance liked the ones I did last year for juniors so much that she's recommended me as the go to man for some seniors. She's told me that she so appreciates and values the way I write the recommendations that she told me that if I ever want it I have a job in College Guidance.  Good to know. She also said she has told the principal about how I get what the recs should be like and how great the many I write are.I've written before about what a major part of my holy work and life this is.  You can read some more of my thoughts on recommendations here.  

For now, for me, on this post hurricane day, with the electricity out at school and the building off limits I'm here at home finishing recommendations (it was impossible when my internet was down and all nearby places with wifi and computers were closed) and doing other school work to the best degree possible.  The school's email is down, which makes certain key information inaccessible.  I've been contacted by kids I'm guidance counselor for and want to help them.  The principal has said on the emergency phone line that kids need to be patient.  When we get back to school things will be accommodated as need be. 


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