Please accept this letter on behalf of

Letters of recommendation.  From the beginning of time they’ve been used to judge character.  How many young men and women traveled across the ocean in the 19th century, anchored in their belief that a simple letter would ensure their success?  And much like those brave souls, my little pumpkins will be heading off to post-secondary life in only 10 short months, anchored by the recommendations of their teachers like me. 

These letters are a big deal.  They can truly make or break a college application.  And it seems as though any school worth looking at wants one from the senior year English teacher.  What a great idea!  Oh, wait.  I teach 111 seniors.  Shit.

I finished writing letter #22 yesterday afternoon.  Twenty-two handcrafted, well-written tomes singing the praises and extolling the virtues of these horny little bastards.  My letters are GOOD.  I’ve gotten letters back from admission panels telling me that my letter made the difference for a student.  I know what I’m doing here. 

What I don’t know (or maybe I just don’t understand?) is why these students, who are basically placing part of their college education in my fingertips, never bother to say thank you?  Out of the 22 children who have asked me to write that letter, NONE have said thank you.  Not a note, not a card, not a small token of appreciation the form of a gift card or a piece of candy…not even the words “thank you.” 

Good lord, I write thank you notes for people giving a phone reference.  Often I send one just for letting me put someone’s name on my resume.  I know this is not an unusual skill.  Here, kids, let me write it for you: “Mrs. O, Thanks so much for taking the time to write a letter that I know you don’t have to write.  I’d especially like to thank you for making me sound more amazing than I will ever actually be.  When I’m done with college and have earned some bullshit degree that will allow me to make three times what you do, I’ll make sure to NOT think of you at all anymore while I’m bemoaning the current state of American education.  You rock!”

*sigh* The things I do.

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for making me realize that I probably don’t say thank you as much as I think I do. I have some people who help me out on a daily basis who might not know how much I really do appreciate them.

  2. What ungrateful little bastards! I make my girls write ty’s even when they open the gift in front of people and I still hand write ty’s to my customers in this age of form letters. Too bad you can’t NOT do it for the future ones with the idea that the ones before them ruined it for them. Won’t being a Principal end that “duty” for you? I hope so!

  3. In case I forgot to tell you before, thank you for speaking with the investigator. I appreciate it. 🙂

  4. Unbeknownst to her at the time, my SIL had a teacher write a BAD recommendation letter (oxymoron?). She didn’t get into Brown because of the letter. :-O It turned out the teacher was pissed at her for something he didn’t even understand clearly.


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