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.
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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.)
By Lori Brock
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