Working Alone for the First Time

Today I worked with a student alone for the first time. His name was M---- and he was required to be here for his class. He had a paper to work on about his Manifesto. He chose to write about his agnosticism. In the paper he discussed what he believes in, how people react to it, and how people should live life because of it.
I had him read the paper out loud and then I asked him what he would like help with. He wanted help with adding one page and also wanted to work on grammar. I knew we could not work on grammar and so I told him that his grammar was fine. It was fine as well, but I don’t know how to respond for the next time when someone asks me that (I know someone will ask me that in the future so I need to be prepared). I suppose I could explain why we don’t really work on grammar here at the writing center; well we don’t work on it until the very last step in the writing process.
I asked him how he wanted to expand. He wasn’t sure so I suggested that he talk about how he became agnostic. I also told him that I agnostic as well. He told me about his journey and I asked him questions like “How did your parents react?” “How old were you when you decided to change your beliefs?” “What caused you to question your parent’s beliefs?”
He said that all of this was very helpful to him and that he will include it in his writing. I then looked at his paper and asked him how he felt about his introduction and conclusion. He said that his conclusion was pretty much non-existent, but he could use the last sentence to start it. I pointed out that the whole last paragraph was a conclusion, but how he wanted to split it up would be up to him and his own style.
We also looked at the Library’s Databases and I showed him how to look up articles and how to cite them in his work. He had never seen this before and was thankful that I relayed this information to him. He said that he will not only use this in his writing class but in all of his classes as well.
One last time, I asked him if he had anything else he would like to work on and how the rest of his classes are going. He said that he didn’t have anything else to work on and that his classes are fine, but boring. So, I started to construct a session report. He got up to leave, but I asked him to stay and make sure that he agreed with everything I wrote down for his teacher. He said it was fine and then left quickly.


  1. Anonymous10:52 AM

    I would not just tell him "his grammar was fine". Did you actually check it? Even if you did, you might want to explain to him that wc's generally don't work with grammar because it is a final step of the writing process. Simply telling him that the grammar is ok will possibly only let him continue to think that he can come in for grammar help.


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