Teacher references

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by AnotherDad, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. AnotherDad

    AnotherDad New Member

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    My son attends a school with block scheduling. As he has taken more advanced math & science classes, he has had different teachers each time. My son selected his Trig/Pre-Calc teacher from Spring 2012. He cuurently has this teacher for Physics & will have him later for AP Calc AB. This teacher currently has concerns that he has only observed my son for about 6 months and have to check 'Not Observed' on some areas. Is this a valid concern? Thanks for inputs.
     
  2. whiplasher

    whiplasher Member

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    This is a high school students advice so take it or leave it. But in my case a teacher should know your son very well after 6 months. There are teachers at my school that I have known for the same time and will be life long friends (they are younger). I don't know what he is checking not observed on but I would go and guess that as long as your son was not a quite student he should know everything the academy needs to know.
     
  3. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    I believe this has potential for concern, not so much as his issue of having to note "not observed" in some areas, but rather your confidence that this person either now or later in this block is capable and willing to prepare a thorough, detailed, and candidate specific recommendation. This is one area that I perceive can be a real deal maker, and way too many HS teachers fail to grasp this, and that this is not analogous to writing a recommendation for the local community college or state U. That would be my greater concern. I always counsel students to work at "preparing" these reference teachers in helping them to know 5 things ... the make-or-break potential of this piece of the appointment process, the need for specific observations and examples and illustrations of these outstanding points, the need to be highly timely about these, provide an example of the kind of letter that can be valuable to the committee in really assessing a candidate's strengths, and lastly, providing a current resume to assist and refresh your teacher/references in your student-citizen career to date. I believe this can be a major issue, especially in public schools where teachers might have many students to assist and/or they simply do not know HOW and WHY their careful attention is critical.
     
  4. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    I'd agree that 6 months is normally enough time, given that is what most other candidates will have these teachers for.

    It sounds like another junior year math teacher might be available, as well?
    If you cannot get an alternate and this teacher insists on more time, your son should call your BGO. Sometimes we can work with school officials to give them the run down of the teacher recommendation and calm some nerves down. USNA really doesn't want a recommendation with a handful of "not observed" blocks -- otherwise it serves no purpose. They would rather have you wait until the teacher feels comfortable.

    Now I am not intimately familiar with the recommendation form, but I believe it asks for comments within the classroom. WP provides some great ideas of prepping the teacher for what USNA looks for (in case they have no idea about service academies). But the scope of their expertise should deal in the classroom, study skills, time management, classroom leadership, etc. Not about how Joe is a great football player -- Admissions will already know that.

    Not that you have any control over this, but longer teacher recommendation write-ups/free comments, does not necessarily equate to more effective. Examiners review a plethora of these applications for every board meeting and assuming USNA hasn't character limited the field, a lengthy write up could lose the examiners attention quickly. Additionally, each candidate has at most 1-2 minutes in front of the Admissions Board. A concise, to-the-point write up with 1-2 examples is probably enough.
     
  5. AnotherDad

    AnotherDad New Member

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    Thanks for feedback

    All-

    Thanx for terrific (and timely) feedback. I am seeing this teacher tomorrow & will share all.
     
  6. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Atta boy! :thumb: Good luck as you begin these steps. Do your best, and remember ... this is your chance to enhance your teacher's view of the young man he's being asked to write about. :eek:

    You'll do fine. Knock 'em dead!:hammer::groupwave:

    Let us know how it goes! The only thing we "get" from this is the joy of watching outstanding, patriotic young men and women learning to dance and "fly." Flap those wings. Tap those toes.

    One general word of caution. Realize that many ... MANY teachers have little or no idea about military service and educational opportunities at Service Academies. Do not assume they do.

    And one more caveat along this line. Some are vehemently opposed to anything military. Again, do not assume teachers and other advisors will be supportive of your patriotic desires. :thumbdown:
     
  7. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    DD adviser had brother as a LT Commander in the Navy and Father Merchant Marine. Don't expect that at every school. As WP said "knock them dead":thumb:.
     
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    One other thing . . . USNA takes teacher recs more seriously. Candidates and parents fixate on BGO recs but I can tell you that teacher recs are often much more important in certain areas, primarily b/c the teacher has seen the student for a year and the BGO for an hour.

    The teacher doesn't have to love the military. However, he/she shouldn't give you a bad rec b/c you love the military.:smile:

    It is important that, if a teacher thinks you're the greatest thing since sliced bread, he/she state that and explain why. Faint praise can be deadly.
     
  9. pilot2b

    pilot2b Candidate Appointee

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    IIRC, the teachers have to be from junior OR senior year. Pick the teachers wisely. I was fortunate that my precalc teacher junior year had a son entering his firsty year at Annapolis. She was extremely happy to provide a recommendation. That's obviously not very common, but choose the teachers who have (1) a good relationship with you and who know you well and (2) ones who have a military connection, be it through prior experience, a relative serving, or simply who are very supportive of the military.
     

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