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Becoming Comfortable as a Tutor

Every appointment I have had in the writing center, I become less nervous. This week the writer showed up a few minutes early, so we just got started. She was a freshman in English 1001 and basically just wanted someone else to look over her paper. When I asked her what exactly she wanted to work on, she commented that she knew she was a bad writer and she wanted some help with the flow and the global concerns. I told her not to say she was a bad writer because that wasn’t a good way to think about herself and some people just don’t like to write, but that isn’t always a bad thing. When I read through her paper, I noticed right away that she had most of the technical writing skills down, but her paper jumped all over the place. She had one paragraph almost a page long where she introduced different arguments supporting her thesis, but provided no supporting evidence and jumped ahead to the next topic. We spent some time working to connect some of those with other areas in the paper where she mentioned the same topic. We also worked on ordering the paragraph arguments in order to make her thesis stronger, and organizing the sentences within the paragraph so that it flowed better. I also noticed that she only had two or three sources for her paper and the assignment required seven. We discussed several places she could look for more sources and ways that, now that she had some more specific arguments to support her thesis, she could search for articles on narrower topics. Over all I think it was a very productive session.

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