For today’s blog I will be talking about how to get a teacher to be your reference. To help out with this I have chosen one of my teachers to interview. His name is Same Lee. He is a Communications Instructor at BCIT.
I will be going through 7 questions that I asked my instructor, to help anyone out there who may be having trouble in how to go about asking a teacher to be your reference.
1. Should you ask teachers to be your reference in person or by email?
Try making the first contact in person but it’s not always necessary. You can try seeing them during office hours or emailing them. This way you can ask when you can come to their office to speak to them about a job you are applying to. The conversations will usually only be a few minutes long. That way you can tell them what the job is and what requirements they are looking for. Your teacher will then know what to talk about when someone calls, to help back you up on filling those certain requirements.
2. How do you pick the right person?
First make a list of the teachers you have taken class in the past couple of months. Then from the list pick 3 people who fit the job description you are applying to.
Before picking those 3 teachers make sure you are doing/did well in that class. This doesn’t mean you need to have an A in that class. However, it also means you shouldn’t have failed that class either.
What the teacher will be looking for is how you effectively complete(d) projects and homework, if you participate(d) in class by answering questions in class or coming to office hours, how good you are at communicating/working with others during group work.
Overall, make sure you pick a teacher that can communicate something positive about you. Along the same lines, make sure your references are good at communicating this to others.
3. How to begin a conversation with the teacher before asking for a reference?
Make sure when you are talking to the teacher you are doing this in person. You can go to their office hours to talk to them. Get right to the point by letting them know your situation. Talk about the job you are applying for and how you meet the requirements for that job. List all the skills that you have and the skills that they are looking for.
4. How to start asking the teacher to be your reference nicely?
Make sure that you are asking the teacher for a reference when it’s around the time you are looking for jobs.
Then ask them if they are comfortable being a reference for you. By saying
“I was wondering if you are comfortable being a reference for XYZ company.”
“I was wondering if you had time …”
If the teacher says no, thank them for their time. Make sure you don’t pressure them into being your reference. Always give that person the option as to whether they want to or not. Once a teacher says no, you can go back to your list of teacher and find another one.
If they say they are busy at the moment, and won’t have time to act as a reference, you could ask them if they could be, in a month or so, when they aren’t as busy. Again, make sure you are giving them the option as to whether they want to or not.
5. Does constant communication need to happen so the teacher does not forget you? (Assuming you will need them as a reference later down the road)
First see if you have any recent references. It will be easier for them to remember what you were like in their class. It will make it easier to them to talk about you.
If you don’t have any recent references then it might make it harder for the teacher to remember what your energy was like in the classroom, how engaged you were in class, how well you worked in groups or small specific things about your personality. This means the teacher will have to look at your grades and the feedback your teacher gave you on your assignments (depending if that teacher will do this).
You don’t need to constantly communicate with your teacher. When you need their help at the time of applying for jobs, you can try reconnect with your teacher by sending them an email. In the email you need to remind them your name, what program you were in, the class you were in, and year you were in when you took their class.
6. How to follow-up with the teacher after you did or did not get the job?
If you did not get the job, still keep the line of communication open with them. This means letting them know how the interview went and what went wrong. Then ask the teacher if you could use them as a reference again for the next couple of months, while you keep applying for jobs. Some teachers will say yes some will say no. Don’t assume that you can keep using the teacher as a reference for other job applications.
If you did get the job let them know how it went as well. Make sure you let them know you appreciate them being your reference.
7. How should you follow-up?
When you follow-up with someone you can do this by email. Just tell them how the interview went and if you got the job or what the next step is. Don’t forget to thank them for being your reference.
Make sure you plan out well who you want as your instructor. This means making sure your references come from the most recent teacher you have taken class with. Then going up to them during their office hours to talk about the job position you have applied for. Make sure you give them the option of being your reference or not. This means making sure they are comfortable in helping you out. Having a teacher who can easily verbalize your skills, personality and accomplishments will really make it easier for the person who is talking to them.
If you have any questions make sure you comment down below.
Thank you to Sam Lee, Communications Instructor, for helping out with this blog.
Hope you all liked this post!
–Monika Szucs ♥