I took work off today and decided to devote my time to observing 5 tutoring sessions at the Salt Lake Community College Writing Center (SWC) in addition to receiving tutoring of my own. When I initially entered the room I was immediately surprised by how many people were there both tutoring and being tutored. I said to myself, "Wow! You're in good company. It appears that everyone is as awful at drafting as you are." This put a smirk and smile on my face followed by a choking chuckle I uttered under my breath—this was the perfect ice breaker into the new and daunting waters of observing tutors and their techniques of which I will be performing soon enough.
My first observation and—in my opinion—the best one involved what appeared to be an experienced 23 year old male tutor employed by SLCC helping a 40 year old, Asian born, broken English female student attempting to complete a vocabulary assignment in preparation for a test. They began by first analyzing her assignment criteria. They then dove into discussing the differences between nouns, verbs, and adjectives as part of the said assignment. This quickly transitioned into word definitions, concluding with a brief summary of the discussion from the tutor who, lastly, sent her on her way prepared to ace the test. The flow of the session was sensational, however, throughout the tutoring I was most surprised with how positive and poised; convincing and confident the tutor was. For example, when she needed to know a word definition, he stopped everything they were doing then said, "Here, let's find it!" Next, he then would go to his laptop and together they went to dictionary.com to discover the word's meaning. I found this method of tutoring particular interesting, effective, and (most of all) enlightening. It was obvious the tutor knew the word's definition and could have simply spouted it off to her without a seconds hesitation. Yet, his experience shined through and he knew how important her question was to and for her, and demonstrated through this/his teaching technique that it was equally important to him. He made seeking out the answer a fun finding project for both of them. This experience illustrated to me that the tutor is striving to be tutored as much as he is tutoring; tutoring is a joined and, therefore, an enjoyed experience.
At the end of the session she was so thrilled with the help she received she happily asked him when he will be back to tutor again so she can come and work with him. This is the success of a tutor: being a continual resource of positivity and poise, of convincement and confidence, of friendship and friendliness. It appears that once one chips through the crust and enters the waters of tutoring its difficult to want to come out of it, and easy to want to return to it. I am in the waters of tutoring now: its time to swim.
Popular posts from this blog
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
So, I was driving to school today and as always was listening to NPR (that's my self-promoting conversational piece informing you on how intelligent and connected I am) really, I just like the coverage on the campaign and "This American Life." Okay, I am already getting off topic and I haven't even gotten on topic yet. Anyhow, the story I was listening to was about a woman who used to be a part of the admissions committee at Dartmouth and is now working as an independent consultant helping students with the admissions process for schools. For a cool $40,000, she will work with you from 9th grade to graduation to help prepare you for your college admissions process. And for the budget price of $14,000, she will help you write and revise your college application essay. So, how in the world does this correlate to our world? Well, her work with college applications includes helping students decide on effective topics (staying away from "teen angst, or