Best Way to Get Good References for Teachers

When you decide to move on, either to another teaching job or to a completely different profession, you are going to need at least two ref­erences from your previous employers to support any job applications. For most, this is a simple process of asking your senior management or Head of Department to write a reference detailing your skills and achievements – but for others, there may be obstacles in the way.

Not everyone has a great time at the school they chose to work in: perhaps illness or other factors have affected your attendance, or you didn’t get on with your senior management. Some people decide to change their career direction and aren’t sure how their teaching skills will be relevant to their newly chosen path.

Teachers References Best Way to Get Good References for Teachers

References should ideally come from people who have been respon­sible for overseeing your work, but you can also choose to include a personal or ‘character’ reference. Some employers will merely pass on the facts of your employment: job title, length of employment, salary and amount of time off you have had. This can be frustrating for you, especially if you know they could comment on some of your best working achievements, but it really will depend on your school’s policy.

Be aware: legally, your employer cannot give you a bad reference – i.e. they cannot submit a reference that is defamatory or will adversely affect your chances of employability. They can, however, make a negative state­ment providing it is in ‘good faith’. For example, if your employer is asked about your time-keeping skills, which have been poor, they are well within their rights to inform prospective employers of the facts.

Common sense works well when it comes to references. You should contact the potential referee directly, ask their permission to use them as a reference and ensure you have known the person long enough. If possible, you could discuss your career goals and expectations with them, so that they have an idea of what to write on your behalf. If you are hoping to progress in your career, or to try something new, tell them this, so they can help to make your current skills relevant to your appli­cation. If you are really lucky, you might even get to see the reference before it is sent off.

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