I almost single-handedly ruined somebody's career today!
Since February I have been sharing my room with a student teacher, we'll call her H, who will be graduating next week. Never in my four years have I ever had such an awesome student teacher. H is just a natural! My only hope is that she has learned as much from me as I have from her. So it is with much sadness that I confess that it was her career that I almost squashed.
Whenever my student teachers begin applying for positions they ask me for a recommendation. H was no different and I was more than happy to write one for her. I spent a lot of time writing my recommendation carefully choosing my words so that it would highlight exactly how highly I thought of H and her effectiveness as a teacher. Then today she asked me to complete a professional reference paper for a school district who for some reason had not received the first one I completed and H sent through the mail. The school district wanted us to fax the reference asap because H was a candidate for the job after rocking her interview. So this morning, I filled out the paper and faxed it first thing. All was well.
Skip to the end of the day when I was clearing off my desk and found the copies of the reference papers I had faxed. I started putting them in a pile to give to H so she would have them for her records when something caught my eye. The professional reference paper had attributes of an effective teacher listed in a column and then I was to rate H's performance 1-4. When I had completed it in the morning I had marked straight 4's giving her what I thought was the best rating possible. Then this afternoon as I read the scale again I discovered that 4 was actually UNsatisfactory. Oh Crap!!
I was horrified that I sent that reference form to a school district. Thankfully I had attached my letter of recommendation which clearly countered my ratings so I began praying they took the time to read the letter. I was hoping they were smarter than I and would put two and two together to see that I meant to give her 1's.
So for about an hour afterschool, I was frantically completing and faxing new paperwork. I even called the school district to tell them about my mistake and beg them to not hold H back because of my stupidity. Then I did a lot of praying!
Let me just say that there is power of prayer because I spoke to my student teacher about an hour after the fiasco and she told me that they had called her and offered her the job. Thank goodness. Crisis averted.
What did I learn from this?
Always read the rating scale carefully to avoid ruining lives of others!