Teacher’s Revenge: The College Un-Recommendation

I now consider myself an experienced writer of letters of recommendation. Now, this is not something that would appear on any business card (assuming I had business cards), nor is it something that is printed on the shirts available for purchase in the mall (unless I made my own shirt, or my own mall). But for the past few years, I’ve found myself writing many letters to many different colleges and not necessarily having the fun I could be having if I wrote “the letter.” That’s right, a letter so grand that it deserves to be in quotations. Not because of how flattering it is in regards to the student, but because it’s the exact opposite. And now I have decided to give myself the opportunity to fulfill my wish…

Recommendation for John P. Idiot

In my years of teaching, never has a student touched me so much as John P. Idiot. Even when I tell him that I do not want his hands on me, or anywhere close, he still touches me. Until someone else walks into the room, in which case he will touch that person instead.

But it’s not John’s ability to touch people that has earned him his primary reputation at our school. Even more notable is his title as the person who has asked out the most girls and subsequently been turned down the most. While this might not seem relevant to a college recommendation at first thought, I believe it shows that he is able to overcome adversity again and again and again — and again — and still isn’t a changed person as a result. And that’s unfortunate because there is much to be changed about John. I don’t mean that in a negative way, of course. It is just that John has more issues than a standard newspaper archive, and maybe only two or three less than a fenceless zoo.

Aside from being able to see John develop as a person (probably more than I would have liked, thanks to a mooning incident), I’ve also had the opportunity to see John develop as a scholar. When he handed in his first essay during his sophomore year, for example, it wasn’t very good. In fact, it was the worst essay I’ve ever read, real or fictional. But his next essay a couple of weeks later was one of the best in the class. In fact, the words jumped off of the page like basketball players, and the message shot out like it was in a bottle for many years. And while I later found this exact essay on the Internet, this plagiarism doesn’t take away from the fact that John was able to identify a good essay and steal it accordingly. I can’t say the same for other students, who would rather have their mothers do their work. John would never ask his parents for help, at least not after that incident with the ammonia and the match a few months ago. But that’s not important to this evaluation.

What’s truly important is that John was a stellar classroom participant. There were times when students were in the middle of a great discussion about a novel, and John would chime in, “I need to go to the bathroom.” While this completely ruined the momentum of the conversation, it showed me that John knows what he wants, and is able to identify these needs when the time arises. I noticed that when John came back, usually 15 minutes later and smelling of smoke, he seemed content in the sense that he had accomplished his goal, which is important in our goal-oriented society. Another example of his ability to achieve his goals is when I heard him proclaim, “Oh my gosh, I am totally going to fail this test” and he did exactly that.

Outside of the classroom, John is known for his involvement in extra-curricular activities, none of which should be mentioned in this letter, although they do reveal him as both a leader and a “people person.” He also attends most school functions, and will always come back into the building when he is kicked out.

In summary, John will have a major impact on your college next year if you only give him the opportunity to do so. As your college is located many miles away from where I teach, I believe it is an ideal fit for him.


Gregory Gagliardi

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