Showing posts from January, 2013

"I want you to write this paper alone."

Something that I've never witnessed before took place not more than two feet from me. A student came in and told their tutor (not me, obviously) that she cancelled her appointment because her professor told her that she could not work on her paper with anyone, including the Writing Center. Are we not here to help? This begs the question, do we ignore the professor and assist anyway? I say we do but I find it disheartening to know there may be a professor at your University that discourages students seeking help. We are not here as answer books but as collaborators. We collaborate everyday with different people and every student that we encounter is looking for some kind of guidance. I also can't help but wonder what might happen to this student after their paper is turned in and by some unfortunate circumstance the Professor becomes aware of her sessions with us. Is it fair to deny a student this service that the University pays us for? Or is it unfair of the student to go ag

Changing Perceptions of Consultations – Challenge or Opportunity?

A group from the Texas A&M University Writing Center presented research at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing back in early November entitled “Exploring Professional and Personal Benefits of Tutor Identity.” Following our Chicago group’s study concerning tutor identity and how difficult consultants mold a tutor both in the present and his/her future professional endeavors, I’ve thought a bit more about the way my perceptions of a “difficult consultation” have changed. During our focus group, we asked our colleagues specifically how their most memorably difficult consultations have helped shape their tutor and/or personal identity. Our respondents, it turns out, have learned all kinds of virtues through their tutoring – patience, the value of saying “no,” compassion, etc. I realized after this discussion with my coworkers that I don’t see difficult consultations the same way I did a year and a half ago when I first started tutoring. Then, I

"That's a weird sentence"

I'm constantly judging people when they write things. I can't help it. I try to be nice about it but to establish a rapport with people I find that my humor wins them over faster than me putting up pretenses and being fake. So really, when you think about it, I may be here to help people but I will first mildly insult your paper. It's cool though. That's when you know I like you. Don't worry about it. So are we here to court the student into thinking that they're awesome or do we treat them as friends and tell them how it is straight up? I've taken the sarcastic nudge route into telling my tutees what's wrong with their papers and how they could go about fixing it.


Do any of you tell your professors (if they don't already know) that you work in a Writing Center? I worry all the time about one of my professors that might not know me as well as other ones, especially in my small University, suggesting that I go to the WRC for help on my papers. Am I supposed to just say ok, I'll go and that's it? It's never happened, and being in my last semester, probably won't but it's crossed my mind more than once. I love this job and I love being able to help people discover how to poignantly and succinctly put down their ideas and thoughts but I often fear my own might get jumbled from my mind to the paper. I'm probably paranoid about it but it's happened before. (A story I've heard around the water cooler) Just food for thought I guess.