Letters of Recommendation
Districts and schools often ask applicants to include 2 or 3 letters of recommendation as
part of their application materials.
The most common practice is for an applicant to ask two or three people to author letters
for them. It is recommended that letters be on letterhead where possible and use a
business format. Districts/schools are hoping to gain increased understanding of the
skills and attributes that apply to teaching so letters addressing those skill sets and
qualities are most desirable.
Generally, these letters should NOT be authored by your University Supervisor or School
Mentor since they will be writing a narrative at the end of your final evaluation (CPAS)
that is very similar to a letter of recommendation. Districts/schools usually want to hear
from additional sources regarding your teaching qualities.
When asking people to author letters of recommendation you might consider
1) Giving plenty of time since most people are very busy. Do not bump their
deadline up against your own. Allow for delays.
2) Agree upon a reasonable due date and personally pick the letter up. If they have
forgotten or are not finished give a second date with less time and once again go
in person to pick it up.
3) Supply an up-to-date professional resume as an overview.
4) Acknowledge this as a favor and ask if you can do any of the leg work for them
5) Generic letters may cause questions about neutrality so help the author by
providing an outline of the specific experiences you had with this individual and a
list of accomplishments. Remember, it will be awkward and possibly
inappropriate to ask for a rewrite once the letter is written, so politely offer
assistance up front.
6) Provide a sincere thank you note/letter within 24 hours of their completion of
Sometimes districts/schools will provide specific instructions on how the letters should
be submitted which may include a requirement for confidentiality. Follow the directions
Other times districts/schools may ask for the names and addresses of two or three people
so they can send a questionnaire/form to be filled out and returned without applicant’s
involvement. Be sure to ask permission of those whose names and addresses you supply
so they are well prepared to provide a positive response in your behalf.
Who should you ask to write letters of recommendation for you?
1) Those who were involved with you for your practicum experience.
2) Learn who has clout at the school and ask them to observe you so they might
write a letter for you.
3) If you have been a tutor or teaching assistant or participated in any other job
related to teaching you could ask your supervisor/boss for a letter. Be sure to let
them know the specifics of your job search.
4) You may want to ask mission presidents, former bosses, or others whom you have
positively impressed. However, if letters do not use employment terminology or
are irrelevant to the skills necessary for the job you are applying to, you might
keep the letters for your personal satisfaction and not include them in your
Letters of Recommendation are usually best if written while the experience is fresh in the
author’s mind. For best results it is suggested that you ask for letters while you are
having the experience or immediately upon completion. Providing reminders of your
experience together can be effective before the letter is written but generally not after the
letter is completed. (See item 5 above.)