Day 179 (of 188) the reference letter – anachronism or self reflection activity
Recently I discussed the various views of Reference Letters in the educational career – some still like to see them, others haven’t read them in over a decade; nobody ever sends in a reference letter that isn’t a glowing review – but there has been one approach that I commented on and think is a good activity this time of year:
write your own reference letter.
No joke – Most of the letters I have were composed mostly by me. Two of my key mentors had the same approach: write it and I’ll add to it. I have promoted the same approach to many others who were nervous about adding “another thing” to the plate of their educational leader/mentor: write about yourself and let them add things that you forgot.
The majority of educators are not good at bragging about their achievements; but a reference letter needs to highlight the positive. So much happens each year that it is easy to forget what you did and when you did it (one of the reasons I update my resume somewhat regularly is because it can be very daunting to try to reflect on multiple years of work….)
And as I am preparing for a mentorship role with our BCPVPA/UBC ShortCourse in a few short weeks, I am thinking of good activities and this is one of them:
write your own reference letter. It has to be concise but highlight why you are a valuable member of your learning community, and communicate what you do to be an enhancement for a “next job” – real or imaginary (sometimes the imaginary ones are best!)