Monday, November 22, 2010
If He Used His Brain He Wouldn't Be Such ...
The department meeting was just as joyful as I predicted it would be.
We were told that if we teach higher level classes we have to write college recommendations, it is our obligation and duty. Even if we don't know the students that well, we can always check transcripts online and have them give us resumes.
Teaching AP calculus is a higher level class and I write tons of recommendations. I like to include anecdotes and personal information, things that would convince the person reading what I wrote that I knew the student well. I want the reviewer to be swayed by what I write, convinced that what I am saying is true and that the school should take him/her. Over the years, I've realized that I don't have enough to write about when I only know the students since September, a few short months. Even when the kids are doing well in the beginning, I've seen some develop severe case of senioritis and blow off their senior year. I often wish I could retract the recommendation I wrote.
This year I decided not to write recommendations for kids I only know a short time, the exception being the kids who have gone above and beyond by volunteering to tutor another student. I've been unyielding and will continue to do so. Good students should be able to go back to former teachers, teachers who really know them and get the recommendations they need. The college counselor told me a tenth grade teacher who knows the student well can write a recommendation that will be accepted by the college. (A certain person who shall remain nameless here does not agree with that. Where that person gets the information from, is beyond me.) In fact, he recommends the student go to this tenth grade teacher for an in depth recommendation rather than the superficial recommendation I could supply. He also said there is no right or wrong answer as to who should write the recommendation.
I was always under that conference meant discussion, a bringing together of different ideas and a chance to arrive a conclusions beneficial to all. "I'm right and you are wrong" is not the way to have a conversation.