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  • The worst ELT interview questions… and how to answer them March 12, 2012
    Some friends of Naturegirl123 were talking about interview questions that they got. Here are some difficult ones to answer and suggested answers. What religion are you?/ Are you X religion? This could be a legit question if you’re applying to a religious school. If you have the same religion as the school, simply say […]
  • Invoice factoring as a way of financing your language school March 12, 2012
    You’re looking into alternative ways to keep the finances in order in your burgeoning language school. Why not consider invoice factoring? Please don’t think of invoice factoring as a loan because it’s actually something quite different to that: it is more correctly defined as the acquisition of a financial asset. What does that mean? […]
  • Language Classes… Heat Up Careers! March 9, 2012
    Whether you love the snow or can’t wait until the warmer days of spring, this is a time of year when we all start to get a little stir-crazy, suggests Charlotte Evans. Winter was fun back in December but now the cold temperatures and extra layers of clothing are starting to feel a bit […]
  • Learning and Communicative Strategies March 6, 2012
    Introduction Communicative strategies are systematic techniques employed by a speaker to express his meaning when faced with some difficulty and the difficulty here refers to the speaker’s inadequate command of the language used in the interaction (Faerch & Kasper, 1983:16). On the other hand, the term learning strategies has been defined as “the higher- […]
  • Optimizing Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) March 6, 2012
    Technology transforms virtually all human pursuits, notes Michael G. Hines. In the field of education, the use of audiovisual aids, computers, and telecommunication devices has radically altered classroom dynamics. For ESL and TFL practitioners, the possibilities being opened up by technology are highly promising, with the currently accepted practices alread […]
  • Selling textbooks after you’ve finished using them? Here’s some advice February 28, 2012
    These days, being a student is in many ways more demanding than ever. In other ways, though, those attending university have never had it better. The advent of the internet has brought a wealth of information to the modern learner’s fingertips. The advent of sites like Wikipedia has made conducting research and building up […]
  • Want to employ the best teachers? Test them! February 22, 2012
    Are you looking for new teachers? Make sure you do into the process with a clear strategy for how you ensure you end up with the best candidate. Employee assessment tests are extremely important in enabling you as a recruiter of teachers to be able to make measured and well-informed decisions about the type […]
  • Online learning: Do you have the right personality? February 13, 2012
    Research has shown that online learning is better suited to people who are verbally oriented, rather than those who have visual or kinesthetic skills. For this reason, notes Jonathan Ginsburg, whether or not a student is successful in an e-learning course can depend considerably on their personality and their learning type. Before taking an […]
  • Alternative careers: Operations management February 13, 2012
    Tired of the hoi polloi of everyday life as a language teacher? Why not train to become an operations manager instead? An mba in healthcare management is an absolutely indispensable industry qualification which enables those who take it to hone their decision making abilities. The importance of a healthcare mba In today’s bloodthirsty world, […]
  • Can we use dreams to teach English? January 11, 2012
    Dogme ELT is rooted in the experiences of the learner and what they bring with them to the classroom. Our unconscious mind regularly sends us communication in the form of dreams: it is an advantage to understand the meaning of these messages. As our subconscious sends us only constructive information about our existence, it […]

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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