English teacher problem

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by oomw19, May 15, 2014.

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  1. oomw19

    oomw19 Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm in a bit of a bind here. I'm applying for the class of 2019 and my problem is that I don't think this teacher particularly likes me... and I've already asked him for a letter.

    Is there any advice to be had or similar situations that ended up going well?
     
  2. 2018midmom

    2018midmom Member

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    I don't think you can access your candidate info yet so relax first. Second, find an English teacher that you had who LOVES you-these recs are critical. You have to enter the email address of the teachers (math and English) and the academy sends them info on how to complete the rec. If this teacher you asked is not the right one, just ask a different teacher and put in his/her info. Teachers don't mail recommendations directly.
     
  3. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    This is probably the best option considering the situation; however, there may be a problem with this. The academy wants your junior year English teacher to submit the recommendation. For all we know, one of the questions the teacher has to answer is: "Did you have this applicant as one of your students for his/her 11th grade year?"

    I don't know if this question is asked.

    However, when I think about it, I think one of my sons used an English teacher he had his sophomore year; not so much because his junior year English teacher didn't like him, rather, because his sophomore year English teacher wrote amazing recommendations and really took it seriously. Obviously it didn't seem to matter. He got an LOA and an appointment. The academy never questioned why he used his sophomore year instructor. Maybe they never even knew. I don't know.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
  4. cajost

    cajost Member

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    I agree - ask a different teacher.

    It is just the way the world spins, some teachers "get it" some don't.
     
  5. banmom

    banmom Member

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    My DS had the same issue with his English Teacher his Junior year. He had never had an issue with an English Teacher in Freshman or Sophomore years. Since you are suppose to receive recommendations from English and Math teachers from either your Junior or Senior years, my DS waited to use his Senior teachers. He earned their respect early and requested their recommendations.
    Now my DS is finishing his Plebe year at the USNA. Once he got there, I remember one of his comments being that he never knew just how important teacher recommendations were and he was thankful he chose well.

    Long and short don't let the USNA find any clink in your armor.
     
  6. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I'm sure the teacher recommendations are important but I'm not sure how your son would know the extent to which those recommendations helped. The academy is very guarded about this process and there is really never a time when the academy shares any information with the midshipmen about how they (the midshipmen) were selected. Typically, midshipmen do not know any more about what it takes to become a successful candidate than anybody else. All they know is, whatever the academy was looking for, they must have had it. Some are selected because of their overall excellence. Some are selected because of their athletic prowess. Some are selected for no better reason than they were the best that a certain congressional district had to offer. Some are selected to meet the academy's "diversity" goals. I don't think the midshipmen have any unique insight into the admission process.
     
  7. d22

    d22 Member

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    Here's the problem I have with this: We all know admissions is crystal clear on where they want the recommendations to come from. Suggesting someone shop for a teacher who loves you is dishonest, and goes against the core belief of the honor code. Not to mention if caught they can kiss any chance of attending the Naval Academy good-bye.

    My son has an English teacher who is nutty, and his recommendation will be a crap shoot. I'd much rather have my son receive a TWE knowing he was honest, instead of a BFE through deceit. Lying through omission is still lying.

    I agree with Banmom, if the OP is uncertain about their Junior year recommendation, then wait until Senior year and get the rec.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  8. 2018midmom

    2018midmom Member

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    WHOA BROTHER/SISTER! NO ONE was suggesting dishonesty here nor would I tolerate it. I'm simply suggesting that if you have the ability to chose between English teachers to choose one wisely. Recommendations can be helpful or hurtful and I know that my DS has had teachers who "got him" and could write well thought out truthful recommendations and others who were not so cheerful in assisting students in their college process and actually damaged admissions chances. If it requires a specific teacher from a specific year then you must use that one no matter what. However, not all schools require a math or English Junior year (or you can double up in other years) and if it is the case here choose a teacher that will reflect your true character and abilities to the admissions board.

    I for one am amazed at how quickly folks on this forum jump to conclusions and tear other posters down or accuse them of dishonesty. This process is difficult and gut wrenching under the best of circumstances. If advice stinks just suggest an alternate idea.
     
  9. MHall

    MHall New Member

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    I totally agree with you 2018midmom!!!! There seems to be a lot of people on here who are quick to judge.
     
  10. cajost

    cajost Member

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    I agree. I don't think I've ever read of anyone on this board "trying" to not go by the rules - just understand them.

    Since teachers are human beings, they are not all going to be the "ideal" teacher to provide references.
     
  11. pointguard

    pointguard Member

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    FWIW, and not sure if there is any difference among the Academies App expectations, but DS did not have a good experience in 11th English. The teacher was a b---h and had a bad year with everyone. DS took Senior English block first 2 Marking Periods, got a great Rec by early Oct, and he'll be at the AFA come June 26th. Not cheating or being deceitful, just overcoming and adapting to a tough call and making it work.
     
  12. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    If you think about it, whether the recommendation comes from your sophomore, junior, or senior year English teacher is rather arbitrary. As long as it's an English teacher who you actually had as your teacher - I think that complies with the spirit of what the academy is looking for. Why blow your chance for attending the Naval Academy simply because your current English teacher is a whack-job?

    Get the recommendation you need and let the Naval Academy figure it out. As far as risk management is concerned, I'd rather get a good recommendation, even if it's not in strict compliance with the requirements, instead of risking a poor recommendation that is in full compliance. Again, it's kind of arbitrary, in my opinion.

    There is excellent anecdotal evidence that the academy does not hold the candidate to strict compliance on this matter since there are several good reasons that make getting a recommendation from your current English teacher impractical. I think they understand that. More likely, they're not even checking.

    • Your current English teacher went out on a long term medical issue and you now have a new English teacher who does not know you that well.
    • Your current English teacher is an outspoken anti-military, left-wing radical.
    • You got a late start on your application and were unable to get the recommendation before summer break began at the end of your junior year. Your junior year English teacher is traveling throughout Europe throughout the summer and is difficult to contact. However, your sophomore English teacher is readily accessible.
    • Your current English teacher is technologically challenged and seldom checks his/her email.

    As far as the "Honor Code" (actually, the "Honor Concept") is concerned; although I would encourage people to be as honest as possible in all areas of their life, the honor criteria as instituted at the Naval Academy does not apply to candidates. In other words, if appointed and sworn in as a midshipman, you will never go to an honor board because they discovered you used your sophomore year English teacher on your application.
     
  13. d22

    d22 Member

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    Let’s review and figure out where the disconnect is:


    OP asked for advice because their impression is that their Junior Year English teacher didn’t like OP, yes?

    2018MIDMOM: Suggest to (Junior) OP to FIND an English teacher who (Junior) OP has had that LOVES them.

    Me: (Interpretation) If your Junior year English teacher isn’t a good recommendation, find one from your Freshman or Sophomore year who will give you a good rec.

    2018MIDMOM: Offers this suggestion, and instruction: “You have to enter the email address of the teachers (math and English) and the academy sends them info on how to complete the rec. If this teacher you asked is not the right one, just ask a different teacher and put in his/her info.”

    Me: Instructions are being given to enter the email address of the teacher (math and English) and the academy will send them info on how to complete the rec. AND If this teacher you asked is not the right one, JUST ASK A DIFFERENT TEACHER, AND PUT IN HIS/HER INFO.

    Unless I’m incorrect USNA requires teacher recommendations from the applicants Math and English teachers from their Junior OR Senior year, period. Admissions is very clear on this.

    Can we agree that High School applicants have the ability to choose strictly between their Jr or Sr year math and English teacher for recommendations, and to choose wisely, yes? If so, that was NEVER stated, and because the OP is a Junior they wouldn't have the opportunity to choose a senior teacher, yet. So when you gave instructions to find an English teacher who loves them, guess what my interpretation was?

    To avoid assumptions or incorrect conclusions in the future a little more specificity would be helpful.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  14. d22

    d22 Member

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    While I respect this point of view, I have read on the Admissions FB page, which was clearly stated by admissions that only math and English teachers from Jr OR Sr. year is acceptable.

    FB Admissions Page:

    Dear Naval Academy Admissions

    For the teacher recommendations, must the math teacher be from a junior or senior year just as the English teacher?
    thanks you

    Admissions:

    Naval Academy Admissions Yes!

    I'd happily buy someone a drink to prove this incorrect.

    On the same note, I hope admissions would understand that if a candidate has a stellar application with the exception of one loony teacher they would understand it was the teacher, not the applicant. It appears we all have different interpretations, and I guess I may be one of those who is a, follow the instructions as directed kind of person.

    I appreciate the debate, and different thoughts on subjects such as these.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  15. 2018midmom

    2018midmom Member

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    Really....

    I, too, am a rule follower-for a living. The disconnect is that d22 accused me of being dishonest/encouraging dishonesty. Perhaps when I replied, in the middle of the night, to the anxious OP, I didn't explain what I meant well so here it is, the example I had in mind: little sweetie has a loon for junior year English and knows it. Little sweetie had a fab teacher sophomore year who happens to be teaching a section of AP senior English along with loon teacher. Little sweetie-a hopeful future military officer- properly assesses this situation as being one he can rightfully control to some small degree and properly asks his guidance counselor to switch his sections. Little sweetie then asks his former now senior year English teacher for the rec. SR year teacher writes this rec and Little Sweetie does not fret until April wondering if the nutjob dashed his dreams.

    See we as a family have spent 25 years in the military-commissioned out of USNA. We KNOW you don't "game" the system. We KNOW you don't commit acts of even potential dishonesty. We also KNOW one nutjob CAN ruin your career so you look for those nutjobs and try to mitigate their influence/control while STAYING within the rules. My suggestion was NEVER to "shop" the rec but to find a way to get a proper rec from another English teacher. See this is what the forum is for- folks come here to ask questions. Some of them are tough. Sometimes the answers suck but sometimes the answers come from experience and first hand knowledge. BEFORE you accuse someone of advocating dishonesty d22 you should ask for a clarification. Something else we don't do (those of us already in the USNA/military "family") is that we don't throw each other under the bus. We disagree and debate but we DO NOT personally attack the character of one another. This is what you have done. The high horse and quick judgment won't serve you or your kid well in the military-it will leave others very eager to find a weakness to exploit (example below). I've seen it over and over. What would serve you well is to say " perhaps I'm missing something here so before I jump to conclusions..."

    Also, if memory serves, d22 had CFA questions because DS was trying to workout "without coach knowing." Geez- the kid is "lying by omission" by his/her standards to the current swim coach so DS can be in shape for his NASS session 1 CFA. Talk about glass houses. I'm not sure this is where sound advice comes from.

    Good luck with your app this year.
     
  16. AcademyFriend1

    AcademyFriend1 Member

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    If the original poster is still reading, or for others worried about getting a recommendation from a teacher that will be less than stellar, a few points from a current high school teacher who writes many, many college recommendation letters.

    I start under the assumption that it is probably best to follow the specific instructions if they call for a recommendation for a junior or senior teacher. Among other reasons, a pragmatic one: teachers often include a reference to the class year in the body of their recommendation "I taught Will in sophomore English." I also understand that applicants want to finalize their applications early-on, so it may not make much sense to hope to get a recommendation from a senior teacher.

    With those assumptions in place, why not try to maximize the chance of getting a good recommendation? I think this is possible even late in the year and even if you do not think the teacher is a big fan of yours.

    Start by asking very politely, perhaps in writing with a properly addressed email or note ("Dear Ms. Jones"), for the opportunity to meet briefly with the teacher to explain about the service academy application process and how it works. If the teacher says they are too busy, accept that with grace and write a clear email that explains that what a service academy is; how the teacher recommendation process works (an email link); that it helps to have an application in as early as possible so, although you know it is an inconvenience, you hope the teacher could complete it by Sept. 1 (or whatever date you are hoping for); that you'd be happy to answer any questions; and that you really, really appreciate their time.

    Most teachers, even if brusque or grumpy or sharp on the surface, will try to do right by students with positive recommendations. IF you believe there is a real chance that a teacher is harsh or vindictive in recommendations, it might be worth having your parents check with the guidance counselor/college counselor if they have a sense of whether "Ms. Jones the English teacher" is somebody who is able to support students in a college application process. The guidance counselor might be able to reach out to the teacher in a back channel way to basically ask: "Are you able to write a positive letter on behalf of Joe Smith?"

    Let's say you are convinced that it is impossible that such a letter is possible. Plan B might be to try to meet with your senior English teacher the first week of school, explain that for your service academy application you need a recommendation from your senior instructor, and ask whether the teacher would be willing to write about your work by the end of October, say. Again, you could get the guidance counselor to help out. Explain that you know it is a short time but you will work hard to show the teacher the quality of your work during that time period and that the service academy application process has constraints in wanting recs only from math and English teachers. Probably that teacher will be able to help you out.

    Good luck! I will also say that most schools tell teachers "don't write a bad recommendation -- if you cannot in good conscience support a student, please tell them so so they can ask someone else," so that a conversation with the proposed recommender is well worthwhile!
     
  17. USNA18

    USNA18 Member

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    I ran into a similar problem here. I would wait and have your senior English teacher complete the recommendation. This is what I did and I received an LOA. It will delay your final application submission but I would take quality over a rapidly submitted application.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  18. mdn18

    mdn18 Member

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    I'm kind of having a similar problem. I'm a senior and I didn't get in for C/O 2018, so I am re-applying for C/O 2019. I used my junior year English and math teacher, and I at least know that my English teacher's rec was good. I didn't get their recs until the beginning of senior year, since I started the application late.

    Now, however, I'm in a tough situation. My math teacher got switched mid-year to teaching a different class (because one of the teachers retired) and I've only had my new, current math teacher for close to a semester. He's young and I don't know how good he is at writing recommendation letters, especially since he hasn't known me that long.

    My English teacher is very liberal and sees the military as a killing machine and political pawn. He was in the Army, so I don't know why/where his accusations come from. Whatever. :rant2: I would consider myself a good student and I have had a few respectful discussions about the military with him throughout the school year. He is very good with words and I feel like he could write an awesome letter of recommendation, but the thing is, it would be for something that he doesn't support, so I don't think it would be good to ask him.

    My question is: Should I wait until I know my math and English professors at my college this Fall? I know college kids sort of have to anyway wait because their transcripts can't be sent until after the first semester. I know USNA takes college recommendation letters, but is it bad to wait that long for them? I would have everything else completed on the application by then.

    Sorry for the long post, I just am not sure of how to handle this "unique" situation. :redface:
     
  19. d22

    d22 Member

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    2018midmom: "Perhaps when I replied, in the middle of the night, to the anxious OP, I didn't explain what I meant well.." –Good enough for me. Thank you, 2018midmom. I’m going to confidently say, perhaps we both have learned lessons from this post.

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to continue this banter in this manner. Therefore, I’ll extend you the courtesy of an invitation to PM me if you care for a reply to the rest of your extraneous post. Hopefully I’ll be able to explain a couple of issues you have missed and jumped to conclusions to.

    Best Regards
     
  20. 2018midmom

    2018midmom Member

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    I'm not interested in continuing with you either.
     
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