145 Glendale Road
Amherst, Massachusetts 0102-3216
To Whom It May Concern,
It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for Mr. Robert Lord to support his application for a teaching position at your school. I have known Robert for more than nine years. I first knew him as a teacher to my seventh grade son, and then for eight years, I was fortunate enough to work in the same school with Mr. Lord. I write this letter from three perspectives: as a parent, as a colleague/teacher and as a teacher educator in higher education.
Your school would be most fortunate to have Mr. Robert Lord as a member of the staff. He is a remarkable teacher. In his role as math teacher at Amherst Regional Middle School he held a reputation for pushing students to their highest potential. He did so with high expectations for all students through rigorous academic standards combined with deep caring and a corny sense of humor. His students loved him. Rob brought out the best in them. Students who struggled with mathematical concepts found themselves unafraid to reach further than they had ever attempted. Students who were already adept were challenged more deeply and thoroughly. Mr. Lord's classroom is a place where every learner may not get the right answer the first time, but they understand what they did to make a mistake and how they can fix it. They also learn that mathematics is much more than moving numbers around, and learn to see its application in their every day life.
Rob's skill and innovation reaches far beyond a traditional math and science curriculum. He brought multicultural worlds to life through integrated curriculum and inventive activities. His storytelling of his world travel experiences enhances his curriculum and keeps his students spellbound (when they are not making fun of his jokes). For example, amidst the tumultuous atmosphere of world events, Mr. Lord recognizes the need for students to understand diversity in culture and world perspectives. He designed and implemented an integrated curriculum for students to engage in an understanding of Islamic traditions while simultaneously addressing the math standards. I was lucky enough to work with Rob on this unit as an art teacher, where he instructed the students in the geometrical concepts of Islamic patterns while integrating a study of the historical foundations of mathematical concepts and the influence of these designs on world culture. The results are no less than magnificent student mathematical art works and a student body who understands the depth of difference in Western and Middle Eastern cultural perspectives.
Such an integrated perspective on learning extends far beyond Mr. Lord's classroom walls. For over twenty years he sponsored tree planting and gardening activities to create a stunning arboretum behind our school. Of course the curricular implications are endless, but the personal rewards for every student are even more far reaching. To see seventh graders digging in the dirt and planting their flowers and caring for their little patch of soil is awe inspiring. With his usual down to earth, unassuming style, Mr. Lord made this happen all in a day's work. He did not expect, nor did he accept any grand accolades for his years of effort and hard labor for such a magnanimous gift to the school. He simply conceived of the project, facilitated student involvement and integrated it into their daily learning experiences.
Rob is impeccably organized and very directed in his steady focused energy. This makes him a terrific team mate and colleague. Whether organizing a field trip, planning open house or collaborating on curriculum, Rob is a team player. He rolls up his sleeves to get the job done and seeks out how he can be helpful before you know you need help. He does this because it is good for kids and he knows it. He realizes that clear structure and clean organization support the sometimes scattered adolescent minds to help them achieve to their fullest. His work with his colleagues mirrors his work with the students; he is steady, caring and flexible when necessary. These qualities are difficult to find and as a teacher educator, I can tell you they are even more difficult to teach. Mr. Lord is a gifted individual as well as an exceptional educator.
Perhaps the most fitting picture to give you of Mr. Robert Lord was on the last day of school in June. His students knew that he was leaving this school to pursue other endeavors and they wanted to give him farewell tribute. They collaborated secretly to create a video interview project with every student - 95 of them- video recording a farewell message to Mr. Lord. The results were hysterical and touching and soulful. This is a man who had touched their lives permanently, which is not something seventh graders are always aware of or eager to express. Yet their awareness was clear and their expression was unmistakable. Mr. Lord had taught them math with astonishing success and so much more. At the end of the video viewing they all lined up to give him big hugs.
I highly recommend Mr. Robert Lord for a teaching position at your school. His knowledge of subject matter is passionate and thorough. His curriculum is rigorous and inventive. These attributes coupled with his warm hearted demeanor and sense of humor will make learning an adventure for the students and the staff in your school. You will be very happy to have him around as I have been for over nine years. If you have further questions please feel free to contact me at the information listed below.
Patricia Bode, Ed.D.
Amherst Regional Middle School Art Department through January 2006.
Tufts University, Director of Art Education (as of January 2006)