+2 votes
asked ago in Job Market - Candidate Questions by (140 points)
Hi everyone, I have a quick question about teaching reference letters. In our program we are encouraged to add a teaching reference letter, even more so when English is not our first language. When I look back at the instructors I have TAed for, I think I could ask for a letter to one of the following: 1) A well-known and experienced lecturer for whom I successfully TAed a couple of times and with whom I have a good relationship, and 2) A younger lecturer that is probably not as well-known as the lecturer in my first option, but for whom I TAed several more times with extremely good outcomes for both of us (and that I'm sure will write a very nice letter in the event I ask her/him). Given I know almost nothing about how these letters are assessed by recruiting committees, I was wondering what are your thoughts regarding this choice. Thank you!

2 Answers

+2 votes
answered ago by (1.2k points)
For a regular job market letter, trade off between well known professor who knows you a little, and less well known professor who knows you much better.   Can go one way or the other.  For a teaching ref letter, no question:  Take the person who knows you best as a teacher, even if he or she is not well known.
commented ago by (140 points)
Thanks for your prompt and clear-cut response!
+1 vote
answered ago by (6.9k points)
For many purposes, two letters from people who liked your teaching will be better than one. (Some online application sites won't accept more than the indicated number of letters, but I think that's rare.) You don't want to overload your applications with letters, but if you have one more than requested that should be fine.
commented ago by (140 points)
Thanks Professor Roth, I'll keep this possibility in mind at the moment of applying then.