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Does your current Head HAVE to be one of your references?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by Peako, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    Further to comments on a previous thread I thought I'd explore this a bit more. I understand the necessity to do this in the UK now but how about overseas? Is it absolutely necessary and expected to put the Head of your current school? I always assumed (wrongly according to some) that your HoD would be fine as a reference from current school.
    If this is indeed the case, then where does that leave those (who for whatever reason) who feel that they cannot trust them to provide a glowing reference to move on in their careers? Bit of a quandry!
    Case in point: Was just talking to a colleague who failed to get a ref. on time to join an IB course, solely down to the fact that so called Head, didn't bother to get of their proverbial in time to do it for them! And we all know that there are many more sinister episodes out there.
    Will it really stand against you if you use your HoD instead of your current Head?

  2. I am not sure it is essential to use your current Head for a reference but I would certainly be contacting your Head in any case if I was serious about appointing you. All Heads should, in theory, provide you with an honest and supportive reference, if they feel unable to do so they should decline rather than send something which would harm your application - unless there is very good reason to do so. Any Head not writing a reference in time to support your application for a course or a jobis unacceptable. If it is difficult time-wise, then this could be delegated to a Deputy Head or Assistant Head. A reference from your Head of Department is also very useful and in all honesty, they can provide detailed information to the Head to further strengthen the reference.
  3. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    Thank you for raising this query! I'm greatly affected by just this problem at the moment.
  4. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Depends on the kind of school you want to move to. If you want an out of the frying pan into the fire experience quote your HoD reference exclusively.
    A single bad reference isn't going to kill an application. Sometimes I've read references which were poor on the face of it, but were unprofessionally written by a head. I ignored it and focused on the other references (e.g. previous school).
    If you go from one bad school to the next you'll end up with a string of poor references and have nowhere to turn.
    On the other hand, sometimes moaning about heads is too easy. Perhaps you need to get in his good books...
  5. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    does that mean one should drop standards just to sweeten up the reference giver?
  6. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    No, it means you need to be courteous to your boss and show respect, rather than moaning and whinging about things that are probably beyond his/her control. You can maintain your standards as a teacher and still be pleasant.
    If you actually got to know your boss better, you might find he / she has many of the same frustrations as you, but is accepting of those things outside of his / her control. When was the last time you invited your Head for a weekend drink or after school coffee? They'd probably turn you down politely at first, but the thought will give you brownie points.
  7. lovely.lady

    lovely.lady Occasional commenter

    I don't think you've met the principal at my school because if you had you wouldn't want to invite him anywhere!
  8. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Some of the teachers at my place probably think the same about me. But I separate work from pleasure quite well and can even laugh at myself, occasionally.
  9. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    You are jumping to a hell of a lot of baseless conclusions and suggest you take a deep breath before posting on this thread again.
    I am not in their bad books at all, indeed was offered HoP recently but turned it down because the offer was an absolute joke. This in turn has led to a different atmosphere altogether as I'm sure even you can appreciate does happen.
    Frankly, I just don't trust him/her for a variety of reasons including being a sop to unscrupulous owners. Personally, I don't want my future career hanging in the hands of someone I consider undeserving of such influence. I am not having a swipe at Heads at all, but these people do exist MM.
  10. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    I'd say there is an issue. With your attitude I'm not surprised they're not offering the world to you to tempt you to stay. How old are you? 25/26? You come across as an angry young man who needs to control himself better.
    IF you read my comments, I didn't say you are 'in their bad books'. I referred to bad schools and bad reference. The remark about getting into someones good books does not necessitate a situation where you are currently in the bad books, it is about getting him/her on your side, which could derive from a neutral position (I hope you know which sex your Head is BTW!). Nevertheless, on reading your response above, I'm going to guess the reference will be poor and probably a fair comment on you from someone who knows you well.
  11. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    ' Perhaps you need to get in his good books.'.. [​IMG]
    So, that isn't suggesting I'm in their bad books?
    You know absolutely nothing about me or them, or my situation/school and there you go again making judgements and now offensive assumptions.
    I'd rather not pursue this with you. Like I said, such people are out there!
  12. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    When I argue with Oldgit, at least I know he has a modicum of intelligence.
    I guessing not only are you 25/26, you're also GTP teacher fresh from a career toshing burgers.
  13. Peako

    Peako New commenter

    ' I guessing not only are you 25/26'
    Aye, I see what you mean. [​IMG] Wan*er !
  14. Peako, to return to your original purpose, in honesty, there is good insight here regarding hopping from the frying pan into the fire. Sure you can leave off your current head. You can do anything. The question is, do you really want to do that? I can absolutely see how working at a string of awfully-run schools with inexperienced, incompetent management could leave one with a trail of **** references.
    Speaking in general, the idea of somehow making good with the situation with your HoS, in practical terms, benefits your cause first. I am not speaking of promotion, but of the day-to-day type of support for ideas you think will ultimately benefit the students. You accomplish more with them as a result and look better when you try to move on to the next school. Looking for whatever way you can make it work is more in your interest than in anyone else's for a lot of reasons, not least of which because of the power difference.
    Not wanting it to be in the hands of someone you see as "a sop to unscrupulous owners" is little beyond the point now. Maybe they are and maybe they aren't, I don't know because I'm not there, but practically speaking, you are there now and you need to make it work, whether they are or aren't. The most useful question to ask is, "How can I make it work?" An answer will come. I am not counting answers that violate your ethics as answers. In the truly non-negotiable cases, you will know, and an answer will still come. But I think focusing on the positive points and common ground with your HoS and building on that does not have to violate a legitimate code of ethics.
    "Personally, I don't want my future
    career hanging in the hands of someone I consider undeserving of such
    It sort of already is. For now. MM was telling you that it doesn't always have to be, depending on what you do at your next schools. But perhaps the best point to take away from this thread might be the importance of not shooting yourself in the foot, kind of like derailing your own thread.
    If you absolutely feel like there's nothing left but rubble from this, the best thing to do would be to start looking for what's of value in the wreckage.
    I'm wishing you good luck,

  15. I think I'd echo sandarab06's comments about heads not appointing without a reference or at least a discussion with the current head. Yes it undoubtedly happens that people are 'stitched up' by unscrupulous heads but I think any good school would need something from the current employer as they would in the UK. Sure, the reference may fly in the face of other references but again a good school will do its homework and get a sense of what is happening if the application is strong enough. Its amazing what you can find out on line! I read a reference from a head saying that a member of staff didn't contribute much to school life but a quick trawl through the school's website told me they'd co-directed two school plays and ran a debating club (all corroborated in the other two references). In the end they got the job after a brilliant interview. Looking at the rest of the head's comments I don't think in this case it was a deliberate stitch up but rather a lazy reference, probably squeezed in between other jobs unfortunately.

    Yes its a bit of a mine-field but ensuring your contributions can be evidenced in some way (academic results, performances, school shows etc) is undoubtedly of some help too.

    (Which is sort of what penelopefish just advised.......!!@£$%^?!)

    Best of luck


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