Looking for a job ain’t easy. It can be frightening and stressful. So much you have to attend to and on top of it all, you have to stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, us TEFLers seem to change jobs much more than regular subject teachers. We are the gauchos of the educational world.

Last Teacher Talk webinar, we got to talking about “feel good” portfoliios. Collections of student work or things you’ve done in the classroom that can make you feel good about your career and also reflect positively on your career path. A great thing!

I added that these portfolios might be something we use at a job interview and I added that we might begin making our portfolio by asking for student or parent letters of recommendation. I know it isn’t usually done but I’ve found throughout the years, if you pull out one of these at a job interview, people sit up, read and listen. Nothing better than a letter of reference from a student or a parent – they are major stakeholders and adminstrators know that.

By way of example and to urge other teachers to get letters of reference from the parents of the children they teach (be it for a job interview or just a feel good portfolio), here is a letter of reference from parents of a student I taught years ago – Priyanka. I’ve written before about this special class of Grade 4 ESL students, so I won’t drone on. Here’s a picture of some of the girls from our portable (they are all grown up now!).

Rose Avenue Grade 4

I do hope I had the influence on Priyanka that her parents suggest. I do know, she would have made it, me as her teacher or not. I can imagine her only as a success – in the biggest,most complete sense of the word.

Here’s the letter her parents left on my desk in a plain envelope one winter morning.