Letters We Look Forward To

This weekend I get to fulfill one of my favorite teaching duties which is also a privilege: writing a letter of recommendation for a former student.

The student who has contacted me is applying for a Fullbright Scholarship.

I have also written letters for students applying to law school and medical school.

So why do students who are not seeking a career in the humanities request a letter of recommendation from a professor who taught them language or literature?

They know they have acquired critical thinking skills in addition to knowledge of a foreign language.

Naturally, I attest to each student’s knowledge and their acquisition of that knowledge in each individual letter. I like to let committees know three things:  what we covered and how we covered it and the student’s performance beyond their grade.

Writing letters of recommendation is a great privilege and and one of my favorite parts of teaching.

I am always happy to hear from former students asking for letters of recommendation or just letting me know how their careers have progressed.



4 thoughts on “Letters We Look Forward To

  1. Learning a foreign languages leads one to realize that while a word in English may have multiple meanings, that word in another language has different meanings. Languages have both rules and fluidity; they are not cookie-cutter reproductions of each other. Language students learn to think in a different manner, but that new manner has its own rules. These skills are extremely useful in science, where one needs to think “out of the box” but heed the new rules being learned: Einstein, for instance, with the concept that “space” can be curved. One learns to think outside the box, babe creative, but within the limits of the new rules and facts one is discovering.

    What a wonderful subject to post about! That a physics, math, or engineering student would ask his language teacher for a recommendation in itself is a good recommendation for that student!


Leave a Reply to Jesse Hellman Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s