Skip to main content


I love the English language and especially enjoy finding comparable differences in words that share similar roots. For example, what is the difference between a champion and a championship? The answer: The number of participants. A wrestler may be the champion of his weight class, yet his team-with only his successive efforts-may still lose the championship; “There is no ‘I’ in team.”

Ironically, a similar wordy comparison can be found in tutor and tutorship. True of sporting and tutoring, there will always be a teacher and a student; a coach and player; a master and an apprentice. However, is the teacher the only one teaching or the student the only one studying? Of course not; each are being edified by the other; each are learning from one another. Thus I may be a great tutor-an expert in my field of education and writing-but do I embrace tutorship? Do I look down on my student and desire to carry him up the ladder to my level knowledge with a “know-it-all” attitude? Or do I see both of us as a team of masons, of writing; he holding the bricks to be laid and I spreading the mortar for the bricks to be stacked? Thus is tutorship a joined and intended to be an enjoyed experience: like writing, it is not one-way communication, it's a two-way conversation. Tutorship means teamwork.


  1. Well put, David! To carry on your mason analogy then, a tutor is a sort of journeyman working with apprentices to get them to a level where they'll all be master masons. I think I want to start class with the various analogies we've come up with in our postings. It is a truism that all analogies ultimately fail, but I think we've got some fine ones that tell us a lot about the work we can do with writers.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Enough with the Prosti----- already

While I admit I was once intrigued by the prostitute-consultant analogy, not by what Scott Russell had to say about it but by some of the ideas we threw around in class the other day, I can honestly say, now, that I am beginning to move away from the metaphor. While I once connected prostitution and the writing center through their brief meetings and levels of intimacy, I now question the nature of those meetings and the levels of intimacy available, and like David said in class, I agree that the comparison is a stretch. Here’s where I struggle with a connection between meeting a stranger, a prostitute, for sex, and meeting a consultant at the writing center. Although the ‘client,’ ‘student,’ or whatever, meets with a stranger for a limited period time to meet a specific desire, the level of intimacy between sex with a prostitute and a writing consultation differs. It is my experience that consultations between peers can be genuinely intimate as one discusses personal thoughts—there i…

IWCA Forum: Peer Tutor => What do we call ourselves: the poll!

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.)