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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

end of the semester thoughts

it's been a long and, at times, daunting semester. To see how far i've come as a consultant in the past fifteen weeks, is a little bit surprising, and yet exciting as well. At the beginning of the semester i found myself overwhelmed with "the ideal session." We had read many essays all claiming to have the one and only way to conduct a proper session. However, with each article i read, i found that i never fully agreed with every word in it. There was always bits from this one or a snatch from that one or spackle a speck of wisdom from the one over there. But never did i find that one fully encompassed how to conduct the perfect consultation.
While conducting sessions, i constantly found myself worrying if i was breaking one of the rules that North had laid out. I was terrified i was dictating papers and not guiding them. I found myself questioning every word that came out of my mouth, in fear that i was going to be punished by the great Deity of the writing center (not the director, even higher up). But, with every consultation that passed, i found that time was the only thing that was going to make me more comfortable in my role as a tutor.
One reason that no one pedagogy is always correct, is that every session is so unique. Really, i never conducted two that were alike. ever. I mean, some of them were fairly similar...okay, many of them were fairly similar, but each writer came with a unique personality and a paper that was unique to him(or her)self. The one element i found that was always necessary for a good session, was the need for trust to be established between the writer and consultant. The most productive sessions i conducted, the ones where the writer left ambitious and excited, were always sessions that contained an open dialogue with opinions and views flowing freely between the writer and myself. And how does one form trust? the same way any relationship forms trust. through a certain level of intimacy. Now, i'm not claiming to have disclosed my lives darkest secrets; however, intimacy in the center need go no further than the context of the paper and the issues the student may bring up. by being compassionate and empathizing with the student, i found that a level of trust was always formed. Which, inherently lead, to a much smoother and more productive session.

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