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Dear Theo: Downheartened by poor reference.

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by CharliLynx, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Hi Theo,

    I'm a trainee teacher on a Ba(hons) starting to apply for jobs. In my second (of three) years, I had a terrible school placement, to the point where the school has been removed from the university's rotation due to the experience that I and another student teacher had. Unfortunately, we didn't complain until late into the placement when it become apparent the school intended to fail us both and we both made the decision to stick through the final 3 weeks rather than change and restart the entire 9 week block - A decision that is now coming back to haunt us. My colleague achieved a D from an A in the first year, and I achieved an E from an A- in the first year.

    I've started applying for jobs and was instructed by the university not to put my school on a reference list, but to list them on my experience. Instead, I was advised to put my manager from a tuition camp I worked for over the summer on, being my last paid childcare role. I did this, and applied for jobs. I was rejected without interview for a job I felt really positive about, and rang them to inquire why; They had chased the school through my history as part of the Safer Recruiting guidelines and they had slated me in reference. The university had given me a good reference and I know that had they approached the camp as requested they would have given me one too.

    Is there any way I can prevent, however subtly (because I hardly want to go in with the line "Please don't seek a reference from because they hate me, spent 9 weeks bullying me and failed me as a result") from seeking a reference from the school? I understand that the last teaching post needs to be sought by the Safer Recruiting guidelines, but I did teach formally at the summer camp - Surely they have to take from that? Is it policy to always take from the previous placement year (result in me being royally screwed) or is it just that school chasing references I haven't provided because they have nothing better to do?
     
  2. (For the record, this was beautifully laid out in readable paragraphs and TES forums have decided to lump it together. Sorry!!)
     
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    Hi Charli, I just thought I'd let you know that you are not the only one this kind of thing happens to. There are some truly evil people in schools, whose fitness to work with children I wouldn't hesitate to question. As I've mentioned before, when I first turned up for my teaching practice the maths HOD, who was despised and hated by most of the kids and staff, took one look at my qualifications and informed me I was too academic. It then went downhill from there with her doing everything in her power to undermine me, and getting more and more annoyed when she found she couldn't intimidate me.

    I'm sure Theo will give you advice, but, for what it's worth, here's mine.

    Do you think the school has misrepresented you. If they haven't then there is absolutely nothing you can do. If, on the other hand, they have then they have committed liable or slander, for which a court can impose heavy damages. Of course the big problem here is proving it. In the case of liable the letter or email can be subpoenaed, but slander is harder to prove. I'm not a lawyer, but it might be possible to get a court injunction forcing the school to only given written references. Of course, all this costs money, and your main concern is simply to get a job.
     
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Google Chrome eats paragraphs. So does anything on a Mac . . .
    Now to your problem.. I'm sorry that you're having all this hassle after a horrid placement.
    A school is well within its rights to ask for references from people that you haven't given.
    Basically, they thought it was fishy that you didn't give any school as a reference, so took the initiative of contacting them.
    So . . . give a school.
    Can you give your first placement school? The best solution would be to do supply and get a glowing reference from that, but getting a reference for your agency might be a problem too.
    The othert hing is thaty our uni tutor could say in his/her ref that your second placement school is no longer on its books due to unsatisfactory arrangements for mentoring and support. Might not be willing to say that, however, in case it got back to them.
    You are in a difficlut position, I can see that. I wonder if actually turning up at first school to remind them of who you are might get you a reference from there?
    Best wishes
    ____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars and workshops, one-to-one careers and applications advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews.
    There is now another seminar on Applying for Senior Leadership on 13th March.
    www.tesweekendworkshop17.eventbrite.com
    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for how to book a meeting with me personally.
    Look forward to seeing you!
     
  5. Could I give my *current* placement school, even though I've only been there a week?
     
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If you're currently on placement, this may well solve your problem- no queries why you haven't put your most recent place & able to give placement no 1 as your second reference, who will hopefully give you a good one!
     
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Yes!
    You didn't make it clear that you are on a placement now - I thought that your summer work was the most recent.
    Solved!
    ____________________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    The TES Careers Advice service runs seminars and workshops, one-to-one careers and applications advice, one-to-one interview coaching and an application review service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews.
    There is now another seminar on Applying for Senior Leadership on 13th March.
    www.tesweekendworkshop17.eventbrite.com
    E-mail Julia on advice@tsleducation.com for how to book a meeting with me personally.
    Look forward to seeing you!
     

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