At blogger Chris Marsh’s school in Scottsdale, Arizona, some teachers began charging for college recommendation letters, which were taking 60 to 80 hours of their time.
The first two letters per student are usually free, and the ones after that are five to ten dollars per letter — depending on the teacher.
Marsh, who doesn’t get that many requests, has no problem with teachers charging. However, someone complained and teachers were told they couldn’t take money for the letters. Most now write for free for the first students who ask, but draw the line when the burden is too great.
I have no problem with teachers telling students they’re too busy to say “yes” to every request. Or that they’re going to write one letter, with multiple photocopies, per student. However, charging money suggests that a larger fee would produce a more enthusiastic recommendation: “Brittani values education.”
My daughter’s high school had teacher-advisors. As I recall, they got several days off from teaching to do nothing but write college letters. That makes a lot of sense at schools where lots of students are applying to selective colleges and need recommendations.
Years ago, I was a judge for a student journalism contest. One applicant had done great work; her journalism teacher’s letter was glowing. Then we realized he’d sent the exact same letter for two other students. Not wanting to penalize her for her teacher’s laziness, we gave her an award. We also called the teacher to tell him never do that again, you idiot. Only phrased more nicely.