I am a math PhD student in a US university and also a teaching assistant. This fall I’m expecting to apply for jobs. I’m looking for math lecturer/instructor jobs.

However, when I worked as a teaching assistant I did not actually teach a course. Instead, I did recitations, grading and assisting. So I cannot get teaching letters from the department. Hence, I’m thinking to get letters from the instructors that I did recitations, who are postdoctoral fellows.

Would it be disadvantageous to have recommendation letters from postdoctoral fellows rather than professors?

EDIT: I don’t consider my post to be a duplicate because that post doesn’t solve my issue. It has inconsistent answers. One answer says Professor is better, other says postdoctoral fellow is better. Thank you.

  • 2
    A duplicate means that your question has been asked elsewhere. Whether that other question was answered to your liking, or even answered at all, is a different matter.
    – Sverre
    Oct 19, 2019 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


You want the best letters you can get. A letter from a professor who doesn't know you well or your work will be worth very little as they can't honestly say much about you to boost your application. If a post-doc can, in fact, say positive things about you as a teacher, then that would be worth more. They are more experienced than you are and so will have some credibility.

This is especially the case if they had a role in evaluating your teaching.

For a more research oriented job the equation might work out differently, but for a specifically focused teaching job you probably would like one letter the can honestly and positively speak to that. The letter writer can include something about why it is they and not the prof who is writing.

But most of the letters should come from professors.

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