George Lucas Educational Foundation

Do Letters of Recommendations from Parents Matter?

Do Letters of Recommendations from Parents Matter?

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My school is closing in June (again), happened to me last year. Today an asst. superintendent gave a resume workshop and suggested getting letters of recommendation from parents. What are your thoughts on this? Do principals want to see these?

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Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

I'm no expert. I but I know that I included letters from parents and students when I applied for my last two jobs. My thinking was that I wanted to work in schools that would value those perspectives. so it was a good litmus test for helping me find a good match. It worked well in both cases!

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Engagement Manager

The school where my wife teaches has a parent on the hiring committee. There were also parents in attendance at her demonstration lesson. Making a good impression with them was really key to her landing her current position.

Also, it seems to me that when you're looking for work, you want as many arrows in your quiver as possible.

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
Teaching Middle School 'Technology, Engineering & Design' in Northfield, NJ

Given the circumstances (school closing), yes, I think it's a great idea. You want to be able to document the impact you had on the school community and parents certainly count. You will need to balance them with professional recommendations too but I think it helps paint a clearer picture of your abilities and philosophy as an educator. Sorry to hear about the closure. :( Good luck!

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

I also used parent references as a part of my last job search. How we work with parents is an important part of the job, and should be just as valuable as administrator input.

Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Online Community Engagement Manager

Hi Linda, we asked our community on Facebook about parent-written letters of recommendation, and it seems like quite a few teachers have parent recommendations in their portfolios.

You can find all the comments and suggestions here:

Here a few of them:

Stephanie L.
Yes, it is important that a new employer sees you not from a previous employer POV, but a happy "customer" too. It is important for any job to have a well rounded picture of who you are.

Nicole C.
Of course!!!! If you have had multiple siblings with that one parent too then that is even better..... Parents see and add a whole new perspective!

Erin W.
I've had two parents offer to write letters of recommendation for me when they knew I had been nominated for a county teaching award. Those letters are better than any award I could have received. I treasure them.

Elizabeth B.
It's a nice idea, BUT . . . as someone who has served on plenty of interview/hiring committees, we would end up asking for references from supervisors. You have to sift through sooooooo many applicants, you don't end up reading all the "superfluous" references and just focus on those from supervisors. Just my experience.

Overall, it sounds like they help round out the picture of who you are and what you offer, but that you should also line up solid recommendations from supervisors too. Those can't be replaced.

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