Claire Catenaccio

A Recommendation for Letters of Recommendation.
By Claire Catenaccio. Former student. Ph.D. Candidate. Classics Department. Columbia University.

I became a teacher because of Doctor McClintock. As a teacher, I have seen first-hand the panic that the college application process can cause in students and their parents. Doctor McClintock strikes at the roots of this panic by asking the essential questions: what is the purpose of education? how is character shaped — or warped — by acceptance to an elite institution? what value should we assign to material success, and what to a fulfilling intellectual life? An exchange of letters between a student, Emilia, and her history teacher leads to meditations on the role of the liberal arts, the challenges of adolescence, and the formation of personality. The teacher and student come to life on the page just because these ideas matter to them. At the end of the book Emilia is ready to begin her freshman year at Harvard with poise, excitement, and integrity.

On the page, as in the classroom, Doctor McClintock’s lessons are electrifying. Letters of Recommendation is essential reading for students, parents, teachers, and anyone who wants to take an active part in her own education.

To Purchase

Online booksellers carry LettersAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Tower Books — and your favorite bookstore can order it for you — Letters of Recommendation by Maxine McClintock is published in The Reflective Commons (New York: Collaboratory for Liberal Learning, 2013). ISBN 978-1-937828-004, $24.95.

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