Just found a lovely…

Just found a lovely hand-written thank you card in my mailbox, from a student I'd written a grad school recommendation for. He got into my old alma mater, which is particularly pleasing. But mostly I'm mentioning it here because it is so lovely to get such a card, and now I'm feeling bad (again) that I never sent thank you cards to the people who wrote me recommendation letters. I didn't know it was a thing! And now it is years too late (though I did acknowledge them in my book, which is something). But the thank you cards from students are perched in my office on a shelf, and when I am having a blue teaching day (as some, inevitably, are), I can go through and read their sweet notes and feel better about my teaching in particular, and the profession in general. So I'm passing this along, in case you also didn't know. Thank you notes for recommendation letters. It's a thing. A lovely lovely thing.

3 thoughts on “Just found a lovely…”

  1. I’m a professor too, and I have never received a handwritten thank you for a rec letter nor did I ever even consider sending one myself. But I will tell you what I do appreciate – a casual thanks (in person or by e-mail) with an update on the application. It’s always nice to know when students get whatever they applied for – or even if they didn’t, really. It helps me get a sense of how my students are doing and how my letters are being received – and reminds me that they aren’t just sailing off into the ether never to be heard about again.

  2. I have sometimes received thank you gifts from students from some countries, after they have been accepted to grad school somewhere. This is of course not a American custom so the first time it happened, it made me uncomfortable; but I decided it was just a matter of intercultural politeness to accept such a gift. The most frequent gift is a small box of tea from a Chinese student.

  3. Just to clarify, it’s not as if I’m getting tons of them. Just a few. 🙂 Most students certainly don’t seem to send them. And I do like hearing from old students again, in any way, just to know how/what they’re doing…

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