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  • 6 things to check before accepting your TEFL job March 15, 2010
    It’s tempting to get carried away with the excitement of going to a new country and being accepted for a job is a great feeling, notes Bruce Haxton, but before you start packing your suitcase, make sure you check out the conditions – they’ll make or break your experience of teaching abroad! Here are 6 [...] […]
  • What type of English can I teach? March 1, 2010
    In this article Chris Soames looks into your options as a native speaker. If you’re a British TEFL teacher, you’ll be asked the question ‘do you teach American English?’ more often than you’ll hot dinners. Your response should always be a firm, but polite, ‘no’. This is nothing to do with snobbishness or a belief that British [...] […]
  • Being Certified in TESOL or TEFL has Benefits February 23, 2010
    By Frank Collins TEFL and TESOL are acronyms for teaching English as a foreign language and teaching English to speakers of other languages. If you plan to teach English overseas then getting a TEFL or TESOL Certificate is a prime requirement. Subscribe to The ELT Times by Email Nowadays there is huge demand for TEFL and TESOL certified [...] […]
  • How are TEFL courses structured? January 28, 2010
    What to expect from your four-week TEFL course by Bruce Haxton. So you’re interested in Teaching English as a Foreign Language [TEFL] but you don’t know which course might be for you? Or maybe you’d just like to know more about what to expect on day one on a course you’ve already booked? Well, there are [...] […]
  • How to Fact Check January 25, 2010
    How to write more accurately and improve your grade, by Celia Webb Fact checking is an important part of writing an accurate article. Meticulous authors do research prior to committing their thoughts to paper. Not all authors are so careful. Editors and readers serve society and themselves well when they read with a judicious eye. Just [...] […]
  • 5 Simple Tips for TEFL Job Success January 19, 2010
    Want to know how to succeed in the TEFL job market? Bruce Haxton tells you how. So, you’re thinking about doing a TEFL course, and it won’t be too long before you’ve got your crisp new TEFL certificate in hand – but what are you going to do with it?! Get a teaching job abroad and [...] […]
  • Why People TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) January 12, 2010
    Ever wondered why we do it? Find out now in this article by Bruce Haxton. TEFL, on paper, is perfect: an exciting career, a chance to see the world, a life full of fresh faces, opportunities and experiences. But, in reality, life at home holds people back: jobs, cars, family, friends, house, age, personal circumstances… so [...] […]
  • Classroom TEFL Courses – the Pros and the Cons January 7, 2010
    An online TEFL course or one done in the classroom? Honor Baldry offers advice on taking the latter option. Classroom learning – it’s what we’re all used to and the way we expect to study. Or is it? A classroom TEFL course is nothing like the lessons you took in school; expect it to be more [...] […]
  • How to Find a Good TEFL Employer January 7, 2010
    A new year and a new career? Check this advice by Bruce Haxton if you’re thinking about getting into TEFL. So you’re thinking about getting TEFL certified (or maybe you already are!), but once you’ve completed your TEFL course, what are you going to do with that crisp new certificate? Get a job and [...] […]
  • Tips about teaching English overseas December 22, 2009
    By Michiel Van Kets If you’re thinking about a career in teaching English you are choosing a great profession. Not only do you give your valuable expertise to others but it is also possible to teach English in other countries not just at home. You can do this as a long term option or just take [...] […]

Requesting reference letters

November at the Times is dedicated to a series of articles from Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa, the creator and writer of TEFL Tips, The LA Job List, and The Ultimate Peru List.

I’m all for asking for reference letters when you’re about to finish your contract. Getting a reference letter now rather than waiting until later has it’s benefits. First, your boss will be more likely to remember details about your position. Second, your boss is still there. If she/he moves on, you could easily lose contact. Third, you’re still working there and can remind your boss. Let’s face it, our employers are busy and might forget.

However, if you’ve left a job and didn’t get a recommendation letter, don’t worry, it’s not to late. You can still request one. You might have to remind your boss about details, such as when you worked there or what your responsibilities were.

Whether you’re still working at the institute that you’re requesting a reference letter or you have moved on, there are essential pieces of information that every reference letter should include. It might help you to give your boss the template below. Sometimes you may be asked to help your boss write your reference letter, this is especially common if English isn’t their first language. Just follow the template below.

Asking for a reference letter
Dear (Name)

My name is (name) and I worked at your institute (dates) as a (job title). I am currently applying for a position in/at (country or institute). In order to apply for this position I must submit reference letters and I would like to know if you would be able to write a reference letter for me. If possible, could you please include two copies- one for my application and one for my personal records. I understand that you are very busy and have included a template to help you. I greatly appreciate your help with my application. Thank you so much for your time to get this done quickly.

(Your name)
(Your postal address so they can snail mail you the letter)

What a reference letter should contain

This is the basic information that a good reference letter should contain. You might want to give this information to your boss to make sure that they include everything.

● How you know the applicant.
● What the applicant did for you and when.
● What would make the applicant a good candidate for the position they are applying for.
● Any additional responsibilites: workshops, newsletters, level coordinator, student placement, etc.
● Letters should be on professional letterhead.
● Include your contact information (address, phone, email address).
● Include your position.
● Signature in ink on paper.
● Make sure it’s dated.

About the author

Sharon K Couzens de Hinojosa is the creator and writer for TEFL Tips, The LA Job List, and The Ultimate Peru List. She enjoys answering people’s questions about TEFLing and Peru.

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1 comment to Requesting reference letters

  • Concise, to the point and packed with valuable information.

    Sharon, your articles are probably the most valuable for new teachers among the whole Times archive.

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