Career Advice: Job Recommendations
Suzanne Tingley on asking your principal for a job recommendation.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Q | I’m considering applying for out-of-state teaching jobs, but I’m hesitant to ask for recommendations until I’m sure I’m moving. Should I wait, or use older recommendations?
A | Before you start thinking about references, you may first want to explore teacher certification requirements in the states you are considering. Some states have certificate reciprocity; that is, they will accept your certification as valid, subject to certain conditions. These conditions might include fingerprinting, passing that state’s teaching tests, and so on. States without reciprocity could require additional coursework for certification. Check state education department websites to find out.
While you are just exploring possibilities, it’s not necessary to tell anyone about your plans. Once you decide to apply for a job, however, you should tell your principal your intentions. Ask if you can use her as a reference or whether she would be willing to write a letter. She will appreciate your professionalism in informing her directly. Also, be aware that some interviewers will call a candidate’s current principal even if he or she is not listed as a reference. You do not want your principal to learn about your job search from an interviewer in another state.
If you are thinking about making a move next year, now is the time to start. Applications for certification sometimes move with glacial slowness through state education departments, and a certification that is “pending” could be an obstacle to being considered for a job.
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Suzanne Tingley is a former teacher, principal, superintendent, and education professor. Her Practical Leadership blog can be found at scholastic.com/administrator.