Error in teacher rec states S is "contentious", not "conscientious" -- now what?

<p>I have a dilemma about a teacher recommendation. It was written by a science teacher who is known at our school for being a bit dyslexic and mixing up the letters in her words. She wrote a wonderful letter about S, saying that he "is a very serious student" whose work in class "has always been exceptional", and that she respects S's "talents, kindnesses and the quality of everything he does". Unfortunately, she also wrote that she finds S to be "very CONTENTIOUS and hard working". I think she meant to write "conscientious", but misspelled it, and when the spell-checker offered suggestions, she chose the wrong one.</p>

<p>The letter was returned to S in a sealed envelope, with teacher's signature across the flap. S had signed the waiver regarding knowing the contents of rec letters, but I, as the curious parent, held the letter up to the window and was able to read snippets of the letter through the envelope. (I know, I know... I hang my head in shame...)
Now what do I do? Send the letter, as is, to 4 colleges who will think that teacher finds S to be contentious (when he's not)? Or do I admit to teacher that I peaked through the envelope and ask if she really meant that choice of word to describe S?<br>
I am so embarrassed, but don't want to jeopardize S's chances by having colleges think S is quarrelsome or belligerent, as the word contentious connotes.<br>
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.</p>

<p>Sounds like the context within the rest of the letter will allow the reader to realize that the writer didn't mean to say "contentious."</p>

<p>However...if you still want to try to get it corrected...does the guidance office at your school get copies of the recs written by teachers? If yes...maybe you could approach guidance...and honestly tell them you read through the envelope...ask them to read the rec..and perhaps they could contact the teacher to correct it.</p>

<p>you must have really good eyes I have never been able to read anything through an envelope!
I think you are SOL unless you want to admit that you snooped- after all the intent was just because you were curious right? not that you expected to change the recommendation</p>

<p>There's nothing that you can do without admitting snooping, which would damage your credibility as well as your son's.</p>

<p>Having read many letters of recommendation when I served in scholarship committees, I would bet money that the colleges will read the word as "conscientious," not "contentious." If they notice the error, they'll realize that it was a typo. The admissions committes have stacks of paperwork to read and aren't likely to scrutinize things as much as a parent or student would.</p>

<p>ROFL! I did that with some summer program recommendations. They were very nice by the way. But you are in a bit of a pickle. I think the adcoms will probably guess what she meant to say.</p>

<p>Let it be. The teacher made an error, but in the way it was used someone could easily pick up the intention. Sealed letters are sealed letters. Don't make a simple error by someone else become a bigger problem by your involvement doing something you know you shouldn't have done. </p>

<p>Besides, sometimes certain comments you might "feel" are negatives are actually positives. We had our share of letters that were extremely complimentary but also contained some less than "ideal" comments. However, those comments could also be viewed as a strong individual character. Colleges aren't looking for sheep. Not every negative is a negative.</p>

<p>Omgosh....I know this is serious, but this one hit my funny bone. </p>

<p>I agree with the previous posters; there are enough compliments and favorable comments in the same letter that the only person who will look bad will most likely be the teacher. And a hardworking, "contentious" fellow sounds a whole lot more interesting to me than the usual run-of-the-mill hardworking, "conscientious" guy!</p>

<p>Btw... I second must have really good eyesight to have made out all of those comments. The school may need to consider using thicker envelopes for recommendations. jk :-)</p>

<p>Hopefully the admissions people are used to today's HS teachers and will understand the context. Unfortunately, many HS teachers aren't that swift. I had to throw away a rec letter (it was non-sealed and we were allowed to review it) from a history teacher whose writing skills were at about the 1st grade level (in addition to referring to my D as a 'he'). The ironic thing is that this particular teacher put an emphasis on written reports. I don't know how he could have possibly graded them unless he handed them to his 6th grader.</p>

We were privy to recs as well, and one rec, the teacher had obvoiously used her boilerplate formulatic rec and mostly just changed the names (how lazy) and throughout the text she changed the name to my D's name but one time, she left in another girl's name. We didn't use that rec as it was an ineffectual rec. </p>

<p>The OP is in a different situation as she wasn't supposed to see the rec. I think the way the teacher used the word, it is pretty obvious, like it was to the OP as well, that it is a misspelling since the context is about him being hard working and she doesn't explain anything contentious about him. So, think of it as a typo in this context.</p>