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NHSecondary NHSecondary is offline
 
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Requesting a recommendation letter from a not so stellar student teaching experience
Old 05-14-2019, 05:37 AM
 
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I am in the process of applying for jobs now and need my three references. I finished my student teaching last December and have been working on my certification now. My student teaching experience was less than stellar mainly on my part. I have severe anxiety and depression and that hindered my student teaching experience, a lot. I can't just waste the four years (and $) I spent to get my Master's of Education by getting a job as a secretary. My mentor teacher was wonderful in trying to help me. I was at a high school level and think that I may be more suited for Middle School students. I need to request a reference from him even though in my reviews from him stated I might be ready to teach in five years. How do I ask for a reference letter?


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Old 05-14-2019, 02:12 PM
 
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Asking for the letter isn't going to be the problem. The letter itself is likely to be the problem. As someone who has hosted student teachers in the past, I have some experience in writing those letters and knowing I'm staking my reputation on that letter. If I write a strong recommendation letter when it is not warranted no one will take future letters of recommendation seriously.

If, in your reviews, your mentor teacher said you might be ready to teach in five years, you are not going to get a recommendation letter that will encourage schools to hire you unless you can show that you've remediated the issues that occurred during student teaching.

One thing to think about - do you really want to teach? I had a student teacher who found himself in a situation somewhat similar to yours, right down to the depression and anxiety. Though he did not share that information with the university, which left him less support than he should have received until it was entirely too late. He sounded a lot like you, "I can't waste this money. I have to finish."

He made the decision not to complete his student teaching and graduated with a slightly different degree than he'd originally planned (the local university has a back-up plan for people who realize teaching isn't for them during/after student teaching). I think that was the best possible decision for all involved. If you don't love teaching and you haven't (or can't yet) figured out how to work around the depression and anxiety, your first year of teaching will be far worse than anything that occurred during student teaching. It is not a sign of weakness nor is it failure to decide teaching is not for you right now.

If, at the end of the day, you decide to ask for that letter, ask your mentor teacher to give you a realistic idea of what will go into that letter. If he cannot recommend you for a position, ask your university supervisor or someone else connected to the university and/or an earlier practicum teacher who might be willing to write a letter.
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Old 07-20-2019, 04:57 AM
 
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I'm curious how it worked out?

I'm sorry you were dealing with depression and anxiety during student teaching! Do you think it was the nature of student teaching and wouldn't be a problem once you're not under a microscope constantly and have your own classroom?

What do you think makes you anxious? Was it situational? Was your teaching philosophy in line with your mentors? Is the depression triggered by being overly anxious? Have you seen a mental health professional about it?

Anxiety can be thought of as triggered by caring too much. Qualities that make one anxious and depressed on the flip side are the qualities that make a good teacher when they are balanced.
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Having severe anxiety and depression
Old 07-27-2019, 02:36 PM
 
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makes everything harder and I am sorry you are having to go through it.
Before entering teaching, would you be able to find a really good counselor to help you make your life much better?
A lot of teachers where I am at now are dealing with both too. I have battled anxiety that really hit me during college age/bad relationship.. It is not an overnight fix, but it can get a lot better over the years if you work on it. I think your mental health is more important than teaching.
Do you really love to see kids learn or do you feel you are expected to use your degree? One of my kids got a degree in a different field and worked in the field for maybe a couple of years. He felt himself getting annoyed in his position. He was able to find a job that paid a lot higher, doing something that was way more fun to him after he quit doing what he thought was expected of him. ( Not by me, but other family and society in general...)
Please think about doing what is best for you. <3
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