Killer Recommendation for a Teacher
January 3, 2012 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Writing a teacher recommendation letter - holp me! Specific phrasing question inside.

Yes, the misspelling was intentional (big readers might catch the reference.).

So, I've written recommendation letters, but never for a teacher. First, this is for someone who teaches French. Should I write the recommendation letter in French,or English? I'm afraid that my French is not even remotely professional enough.

Second, I'm having trouble with a particular phrase in the second paragraph. What I want to say is something like "he gives just enough praise, avoiding both the pitfalls of condescension or discouragement". What I mean is that without enough praise one gets discouraged and with too much it is condescending. However, I know enough about writing recommendations that I should avoid the negative phrasing. I'm just not sure how to phrase what I'm trying to say in a 100% positive way. "He gives just enough praise," seems lacklustre and not nearly descriptive enough. The other thing I've considered is "He gives just the right amount of praise, correcting as often as need, but not so often that you can’t speak. "

Argh! Have a better way to say it? Help me help out a great teacher. I've got two really good paragraphs. This would round it out beautifully if I could come up with a way.
posted by thelastcamel to Work & Money (6 answers total)
"He makes excellent use of praise; the praise he gives is carefully considered, well placed, and motivating."
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:31 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

"So and so is adept at classroom management -- offering just the right amount of praise when praise is merited, and constructive criticism when improvement is necessary." ?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:59 PM on January 3, 2012

"When working with students, person x is considered and thoughtful in the way he interacts with his students. Not only does he use verbal praise as positive feedback for motivation and encouragement, but he offers constructive criticism in a way that is both helpful and considerate to the student and his or her unique needs."
posted by guster4lovers at 1:17 AM on January 4, 2012

"[X] makes efficient and sensible use of praise, encouraging both the more and less able (students|pupils) without becoming condascending."
posted by alby at 2:09 AM on January 4, 2012

I like what all the above people have put. In particular, paraphrasing "praise" as classroom management or interaction, and describing the nature of the feedback.

To take it further, you could maybe describe the outcome of the's my stab:

"He is adept at providing effective feedback: his praise is timely, appropriate, and motivating. Furthermore, his interactions with students is clearly effective in helping them develop as learners."
posted by Prof Iterole at 3:11 AM on January 4, 2012

With regards to what language it should be written in- ask. They probably need it in one or the other. Failing that, who is going to read it? An American principal or a French one?
posted by raccoon409 at 5:15 AM on January 4, 2012

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