Skip to main content

At the Edge

Oh, no! Another new intern posting on this blog! Can you tell that one of the Boise State interns' assignments was to make a post on this blog by today? I'm actually glad this assignment was given by our lovely, wondeful, genius teacher, Melissa Keith, who has, thus far, skillfully guided us lowly interns through the confusing twists and turns of working in the Writing Center. Her passion and compassion is truly inspiring, and I for one have claimed her as my personal idol. Too much? OK, I'll stop now.

To be truthful, interning at the Writing Center hasn't been full of confusing twists and turns. Thanks to the friendly, welcoming atmosphere Melissa and the consultants have created in our center, it's been quite easy to settle in. I've really been enjoying my time there. It's been a month since I began working in the center, and the time has whizzed by. I've sat in on consultations, and have been furiously studying tutoring techniques outlined in the Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors. I've been diligently reading Martha Kolln and learning grammar galore. Now, only a few short weeks separate me from my full integration into the world of tutoring, from my first consultation.

...Sorry, I just think I had a mild heart attack. I am absolutely terrified. It's not that I'm a stranger to writing tutoring (having two younger siblings and two busy parents meant I got to look over essays and homework). But suddenly, the idea of helping some stranger with a writing assignment is making me break out into cold sweats! I suddenly feel completely inadequate! I don't know enough grammar, I don't know MLA/APA/Chicago well enough, I can't even speak coherently half the time!

I know I need to relax. I know that everyone gets the jitters right before a big transition. I know I need to breathe deeply and not break down into hysterics when my first appointment arrives. I know I can do this. Now that I'm at the edge of the cliff, I know I need to just jump off.

Maybe I just need a little push.

If anyone has a first time story that will not send me running away in terror, I'd love to hear it!


  1. Saranne,

    You need to relax! If you look at it as not knowing enough, then you're going to drive yourself crazy.

    When I first started working as a tutor at St. Thomas, I had the same thought running through my head.

    1. Helping a stranger is like helping your siblings. They need help from someone else. You are providing a service that they need.

    2. At times, we may all feel inadequate. When I started, my biggest struggle was citing properly. I learned and improved these skills by creating an APA handout for students. I had to sit and understand the process in order to simplify it for others. The same applies to MLA.

    3. If you do encounter difficulties and/or questions during a session, ask someone for help. I still ask other tutors for help, and if I still need additional help, I excuse myself for a minute from the session and ask the director.

    Remember, this is a learning process; it takes time, but you'll be fine.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Enough with the Prosti----- already

While I admit I was once intrigued by the prostitute-consultant analogy, not by what Scott Russell had to say about it but by some of the ideas we threw around in class the other day, I can honestly say, now, that I am beginning to move away from the metaphor. While I once connected prostitution and the writing center through their brief meetings and levels of intimacy, I now question the nature of those meetings and the levels of intimacy available, and like David said in class, I agree that the comparison is a stretch. Here’s where I struggle with a connection between meeting a stranger, a prostitute, for sex, and meeting a consultant at the writing center. Although the ‘client,’ ‘student,’ or whatever, meets with a stranger for a limited period time to meet a specific desire, the level of intimacy between sex with a prostitute and a writing consultation differs. It is my experience that consultations between peers can be genuinely intimate as one discusses personal thoughts—there i…

IWCA Forum: Peer Tutor => What do we call ourselves: the poll!

I have posted a poll in the IWCA forums: IWCA Forum: Peer Tutor => What do we call ourselves: the poll! It is a part of an earlier discussion that kind of petered out about the titles used for writing center workers. Please take a moment and vote! If you don't have an account on the forum, you can register for one by clicking on the "Register" link (next to the rocket icon in the top-right of the page.) Don't forget to state your institutional affiliation when you request and account. (That's how the IWCA Forum keeps out spam accounts.)