A sample letter of reference has been included for students, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors to use as a starting point. Ideally, the letters should be specific to the student teacher citing particular lessons, activities, dispositions, attitudes and abilities. When possible, the Wisconsin Teaching Standards should be incorporated into the letter as well as the standards authored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Division of Early Childhood (DEC). The evaluation form includes the standards with the evaluative criteria and the following websites have additional information concerning the standards, which may be helpful when writing letters of reference:
Please put all letters on school or center letterhead.
August 7, 2004
To Whom It May Concern:
It gives me great pleasure to write a letter of reference for Nadine Clausen. I was assigned to supervise Nadine in her preschool student teaching placement during the fall semester of 2003. Nadine's placement was in the two and three year old classroom at the Make Believe Preschool and Childcare Center.
Being placed at the Make Believe Preschool and Childcare Center is a privilege that comes with daunting responsibility. The expectations of the center staff are extremely high for student teachers and require that the student put in many more hours of advanced preparation than for many of the other placements. Nadine was able to meet these expectations and her cooperating teacher did not have any concerns throughout the semester.
When I observed Nadine, I found her to be acutely aware of the needs of the children as a whole and as unique individuals (WSTDL #2 & #3). Her activities were developed around the broad understandings of two and three year old children and used a variety of teaching strategies with the children that were appropriate for this age including flannel board stories, fingerplays, repetitive chanting, songs, etc. (WSTDL #4).
I observed improvement in Nadine's classroom management throughout the semester (WSTDL #5). She used a few basic rules and continued to develop her understanding of being aware of where all of the children were even if there were a number of other adults in the room. Her growth in this area came from her own reflections and through sharing my observations with her. Nadine was able to critique her own teaching along with being open to listening to my suggestions (WSTDL #9). Another area that Nadine worked on throughout the semester was posing requests to children without asking questions when there wasn't a choice. She made gains in this area and I believe will continue to do so which will help her become an even more effective communicator with children (WSTDL # 6).
Based on my observations of Nadine along with the comments and evaluations of her cooperating teacher, she has successfully met all student teaching requirements. She is a thoughtful, prepared, conscientious young teacher who works hard and connects positively with children, families and other staff.
(always sign the letter of reference)