As my first semester as a Writing Fellow comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on all of my new experiences. It took me a while to understand what goes in to a writing session with a student, why we said and did different things. Then, it took me a while to get used to reporting back to the director and other Fellows about the experiences I had with the students of which I recently collaborated. It just felt strange to put a policy and procedure behind something I felt would be a simple process. However as time went on, I began to realize the importance of doing so. This weekend, what I had learned went a bit farther as I participated in a writing center conference for the first time called The National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing.
Going to Tampa for the writing conference, I had no idea what to expect. The only time I had done anything like this was while I was in the International Thespian Society. When the troop I was a part of went to Tampa for competition, there were many workshops on playwriting, dancing, singing, marketing, and acting. The environment was professional, yet insane as many of the participants would dress in costumes or break out into song. Granted, those who attended were from high school. The writing conference in contrast was quiet. At first I was disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm. My disappointment left me upon the first presentation I attended. I was a bit worried when I walked into the room and sat down. What more could there be said than what I had already heard at school? The presentation was about the emotions writers felt before and after going to the writing center. This topic was different. It was a relief to find that the presenters had a sense of humor. They were human and were struggling with what they found in their research. Their struggle to me was magic. They did not claim to have all the answers or be better than those listening. They wanted participation. Immediately, those who attended became important to their thoughts on what they spent months or even years trying to discover. There it was, enthusiasm. What is incredible about those who take part in writing is that they don’t have to openly display or “prove” that they love what they’re doing. It just happens, slowly but surely, silently but effectively.
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