by Brad Geer
Here’s a letter of recommendation I found in a buried and forgotten Google Docs folder. I wrote this for a fellow teacher who was a finalist in a nearby school’s search for a principal. Could I provide support, identify some strengths, distinguish him from the other candidates? Sure, since this quiet and humble pedagogue was responsible for exactly none of the blunders and transgressions I’d witnessed in five years of teaching, many of which I recount within the letter (and all of which actually happened).
April 17, 2011
To Whom It May Concern:
It has been my privilege to work with Mr. [redacted] for the past three years. During this time, I have come to know [redacted] on both a personal and professional level. It would be my honor to give him my highest recommendation for employment as a principal.
It is my sincerest belief that [redacted] is better than the average teacher I have come to know at [city redacted] South High School. Rather than spell out a list of his many and distinguished accomplishments, I present here a list of things that he has never done, those non-actions that distinguish him from his colleagues.
Let us begin with the lowest matters: [redacted], to the best of my knowledge, has never once spoken about his genitalia in the classroom. Beyond that, I am assured by credible sources that he has never taken a picture of it and texted it to anyone, much less an entire volleyball team that included the head principal’s daughter. As if this weren’t enough, he has never once tried to date a former student, visited one while she wound her lithe frame around a stripper’s pole for a collection of one-dollar bills, or attempted to commence a lesbian relationship with a student. Nor has he ever been moved to a different school for being “too familiar” with an athletic team. As this list grows, it’s also important to keep in mind that he never accidentally sent a school-wide email that contained innuendo suggesting fellatio, nor purposefully downloaded pornography on his work computer.
Furthermore, he maintains a firm belief that urination, as an activity, should take place only within the confines of the restrooms. This hereby excludes the following three locations, popular at [city redacted] South High School: outside the nearest door, behind the bleachers at the football field, or in a sink in the science lab. He is unwavering in this regard. He has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to such a conservative principle by having never once violated it, no matter how tempting the location or how many cups of coffee he may have had on a morning.
Moving onward and upward to matters unrelated to male anatomy, [redacted] has also not done the following: stolen money from a student fundraiser, allowed students to use the art room kiln to create drug paraphernalia, gotten drunk and danced with students at prom, shown a video of a beheading to freshmen, encouraged students to bring weapons to school, or allowed unsupervised students to copulate—and subsequently procreate—on a school field trip. As if this list weren’t long enough, [redacted] has never, not once, as mentioned before, inadvertently sent an email to the entire staff relating the building’s geographical location to the act of fellatio.
It is with these considerations in mind that I give [redacted] my fullest recommendation, believing that he will make a fine administrator under the slogan: “If you don’t want to go south, you have to go with [redacted].”
After review, the colleague asked for a rewrite. Friendship and professionalism compelled me to oblige. But I offered no words of sympathy when he didn’t land the job.
Brad Geer is a former singer, teacher, and Xbox addict who currently works as a seasonal contractor in Antarctica. He travels between contracts and he writes when his fingers are warm.