Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Early To Bed

Okay, I'm whining again. It is that time of year when everyone needs college recommendations sent out. Teaching top kids means that everyone needs one and the amount of work required is extraordinary. I don't know how much the colleges actually use them, but if they do take them seriously, writing a good one can mean the difference of an acceptance and a rejection and it could affect the rest of a student's life.

I take my time with these recommendations. Each student must send me a copy of their personal statement and their resume. They must "sell" themselves to me so I can "sell" them to the university. I also give the recommendation directly to the student to mail themselves as I don't want to be blamed if they don't make it into the school of their choice. My letters have been passed around amongst the kids and I have gained the reputation of being a good person to go to for this.

Earlier this week I saw a crestfallen expression on one of my calculus student's faces. His English teacher, the teacher of AP English who gave him a 99 last year, wrote him a crappy recommendation. He didn't think it would help him get into his college. She didn't even bother to put it on school letter head. I felt so bad for this terrific kid that I went home and drafted the beginning of a recommendation for him and sent it to him. I just got his statement and finished it up. I wonder why this English teacher couldn't be bothered to do the same. He is not a 99 student in my class, he's not even close to being one, but he is a great kid who deserves a great recommendation.

A girl came to me and asked me to write her recommendation. When I told her I am burnt out from writing them and suggested she ask someone else, she told me the other teachers she would ask do not write very well. I couldn't believe this until she mentioned names. When I got my license a million years ago, I had to submit an essay. Writing was a major part of the exam. It is hard to believe there are teachers out there that cannot write a simple letter.

I have already written over 30 individual letters, multiply this by at least 3 (sometimes more) applications per letter and then add in all the general forms I've filled out for the college office and the applications I've attached with last years letters. You can imagine how overwhelming this can be. Now, I am supposed to run upstairs and downstairs to check on IEPs and even meet with the D-75 woman to find out what is going on with my student from her program. I'm supposed to make phone calls to homes of kids who are absent and kids who are late and kids who are just not doing what they are supposed to be doing. I'm supposed to do all this and still teach my 5 classes. No wonder I fell asleep last night at 9:30.


Ricochet said...

OK, I forgot about letterhead. I did know enough to ask them to tell me about what they want.

Any additional tips would be welcome!!

mathman42 said...

That's what helps make a school an A school. I need someone in the back of the room to discourage paper ball and pen cap throwing. Most should have 4 terms of IA but that doesn't fly here.