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There hasn't been a scrap of action on Peer Centered since last Spring. I didn't advertise it that much, so I assume that is part of the problem. I'm kind of rethinking where this is going and whether peer tutors are interested in participating in something like this. In any case, I've changed the design to pep it up, and have instituted blogger.com's commenting system.

Perhaps it would be best to turn PeerCentered into a regulation blog, with commentary/references to other places that reference peer tutoring?
It is the week before finals week at MSU, and that means it's wrap up time for the semester for the university and the writing center as well. That doesn't mean that there won't be summer classes, and we won't still provide consulting during the summer. But, it has a different, more relaxed feeling and I'm curious about what consulting will be like in the summer. I'm sure that traffic will be slower, but will consulting be different? Do any of you have experience with "slower traffic seasons" in the writing center? If so, please share.
I've been thinking a lot about Mary's last post. Ultimately I have to disagree with her because I have and rank advancement though the Writing Center. It is my carreer and my schools seems dedicated to making the position viable. I suppose some schools are not committed to that. Ultimately this is the argument that WC director's posistions should always be faculty positions. I should think, however, that such a person should be hired as WC specialists and be treated fairly in tenure reviews. I know that has not happened in the past for some folks, despite their publishing record etc. I've never seen the WC as a safe haven. On the other had I see it as a somewhat radical place where new ideas about education can be bandied about.
>While I was reading this I suddenly had the (I would say sad) thought that despite all of any WC director's work, people who work there are probably not going to have the commitment level that she or he has since, ultimately, many folks don't work in writing centers as a carreer. It is for them, perhaps, just a weigh station. It is something to do before you get you finish up your work and move on to the real job.<

I'm new to PeerCentered, so I thought I'd begin by responding to this post. My title is English Instructional Skills Specialist for the English Learning Center at Palo Alto College, a position I've held for five years. Yes, that's right, five years. Awfully long time to pause at a "weigh station," don't you think?

I honestly didn't come into this job on my way to something else. I came into this job on my way OUT of something else. I taught high school for three years before I came to the community college. At the en…
I made a vow awhile back to not write about the lack of participation here from peer writing tutors despite my efforts to draw folks in. I have to break that now because I've been bothered recently by, for want of better terms, the dedication to WC work by folks who work in writing centers. I guess these thoughts started when I was reading WCENTER and a conversation about methods to get peer tutors to fill out appropriate (and I would argue essential) report forms. It would seem that some peer tutors were "too busy" with their own school work to take the time to fill out the forms that notify instructors of what went on in an individual session.

The WCENTER conversation then turned towards general commitment levels of WC folks (and in particular graduate students). Chris LeCluyse from UT Austin writes

The thornier issue is how graduate students see themselves in the center, and how they relate the work they do there to their own studies and professional goals. Grad…
I was in San Antonio for CCCC last week. There were quite a few sessions on the uses of blogs in teaching composition, as well as sessions on, for want of better terms, "blog theory." Quite enjoyable.

It is the harvest of various problems in the WC. I'm having to deal with conflicts all over the place. That seems to happen in the Spring.
We're reaching a fever pitch here again. We are a week before spring break and many papers are coming due. I sense the frustration of those who try to walk in and find that there are no appointments, but all one can do is try to come back later. I know how Beth Young at the University of Central Florida feels.
Have I taken a risk during a session lately? That is an intriguing question to consider, and as I started to think about risk-taking, in writing and in consulting, I had to think about what that means. To me, it's stepping out of comfortable territory. I think of it this way, because I was trying to recall if I felt I had taken a risk recently. And I have. This is my first semester consulting and I can see myself developing a staid routine. In my mind I follow the same steps, ask similar questions, and make similar comments. Of course each session is individual, and wrapped up in the relationship we as consultants develop with a client, their writing, etc. Despite this, I could see myself getting into a rut. And the problem this has with consulting, is that since all sessions are individual, they should be treated individually. For example, all students have different learning styles, and should be catered to individually. So, I challenged myself. During my last sessio…
In response to Clint's proposed question:

I don't know that I am the most risk-taking consultant in the history of the world. Maybe it's just because I am still pretty new at the whole consulting thing, but I guess overall I wonder how much I dare to do risky things.

I can think of one solid example, however: Tuesday I had a session with a client who wanted to brainstorm ideas for her argumentative paper. All the prompt said was "find a topic related to women and then make an argument." Not even kidding--it was so vague. We begain brainstorming and the more we started talking, the more information I found myself adding from my personal background. (Necessary background info: I am an English Major and one of my cognates (I like to think of them as mini-minors) is Women's Studies.) I shared some information, statistics, trends, etc. that I've been taught in my classes, and not only did my client appreciate it, I think it really helped her brainstormin…
I was challenged by Clint's question in regards to the last time a session was a risk for me and/or "really really fun." I honestly cannot recall the last time I took a risk in a session. There are lots of reasons for my non-extreme sport approach to consulting: students associate our help with grades; regardless of whether we consider ourselves experts or not, students certainly expect a certain level of expertise; I worry about my own accountability. I guess I'm wondering how to define risk...what would a consultant's risk look like? The good news is that I can easily recall a time when I had a really really fun session. I had one just today! I worked with 3 lively guys who were all in the throes of personal statement agony. By some circular route we reached a point where we were contrasting personal *statements* with personal *ads.* While it may sound frivolous, we were able to draw some really great comparisons and we are all laughing (lol!) at the end of …
"When is the last time you took a risk during a session with a writer? Writers, after all, risk a lot coming to us. What are we risking in return? When is the last time you could characterize a sessino as really, really fun?" --Elizabeth Bouquet, Noise from the Writing Center

I was re-reading Noise last night on the train and came across the above quotation. It is easy to fall into a rut, I guess. Some one is writing that about their training program on WCENTER. I liked Bouquet's book because it was risky in its approach and in its ideas. It challenges, I think, the idea of practice vs. risk taking. In many ways, I see it as an analogy to writing itself. Writing can be stagnant and commonplace, but the interesting stuff takes risks, doesn't it? Bouquet calls prescribed tutoring (and tutoring training for that matter) as low risk/low gain. It is "safe" I guess. High risk/high gain seems better to mean, but I wonder if high risk is not also ine…
The new semester has started off quite quickly for us; it has something to do with the increased enrollments. We've also had quite a few compliments lately from all sides--patrons--faculty--administration about our "vital service." I get the sense that "paper tension" is on the rise since there have been a couple of conflicts over the last couple of days. So starts the roller coaster.