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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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.)
As a frightened freshman, I wandered deep in the bowels of the library basement. My eyes darted from room number to room number, looking for the aid my professor promised I could find. At the end of the hall, a golden light shone from an open doorway. My approach was slow and I lingered on the threshold. All uncertainty vanished when I was greeted with a smile and welcomed into the new world of the Tutoring Center. At the time, I did not know I would spend most of my weekdays in that room as a senior or how mundane this new world would become. How could I? I didn’t even know how much insight I would receive from my tutor that day! Being a learner in the writing center is a wholly different experience than being a tutor, yet I know many of my colleagues have not had the same learning experiences that I have. I think this is unfortunate because there is much that a tutor can gain from being a learner. It was my freshman year of college and everything was new. For me, that meant that fear
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