Letters Upon Letters

As a high school teacher who regularly teaches juniors and honors classes, I am frequently asked to write letters of recommendation for students. Eight weeks into school, and I have written 17 letters so far. Each one takes about thirty minutes to compose, so I have spent about 8.5 hours outside of the school day writing for my college hopefuls.

I don’t mind doing them for kids, but very few actually write a note of thanks back. Most do say “thank you” but often they seem to think it’s my duty–rather than a favor–to compose these letters of recommendation.

I know one teacher who only writes ten a year. Students sign up for one of the ten and then that’s it. She’s done.

While I understand why she does this, I don’t think that’s a route I want to take. I have jokingly thought that I should request a t-shirt if they get into their schools of choice. I would guess only about 1/4 to 1/3 would actually do it, but it could be a fun arrangement with the kids. And, if I were in the area of one of my former students, I could wear the shirt and take them out for lunch or something.

How many letters of recommendation do you write each year?

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