A Curveball Consultation

 Many of you know the standard routine of an English tutor's workThat is to say, we have all had consultations that become regular and have a theme. Maybe you tend to get a large amount of History papers, or rather you have quite a collection of creative writing. Whatever you may feel this to be we all have a consultation that we are used to. But what happens when you get a very short or long piece or writing that you don't know what to do? To many this sounds like a nightmare only a tutor would have, but to us (tutors) this is a very feared event. This article will be specifically focusing on very short consultations with an overview on how to help other strange consolations. To overcome this problem, we will first need to get an example of it.  

One day while working at my local high school as a tutor I saw I had a client that day. Nothing seemed to be abnormal and all the client stated for the writing piece was that it was a thesis. I didn't realize how much problems this small paragraph could give. The client then arrived, and we began. The first thing I asked was what we were working on today, and the client replied with correcting a thesis that she got a low grade on. The client then pulled out a paper that had a ninety-five percent written on it. This posed three problems: one I was correcting a thesis paragraph which has an extremely low amount of content, second the client had received a high grade so there was very little to fix that they got wrong and three the client had already written the rest of the paper. It was quite a challenge to overcome, but in the end I thought of the solution much after the frustrating consultation of that day. 

To sum up what happened in the end the client and I spent about ten minutes to fix something that could have been done in two. It was extremely hard to find anything other to do then to fix what they had and suggestions on making sure they do it correctly in future writing. I left feeling defeated and the client didn't get much out of it. One solution to avoid short consultations is to ask if the client would like to talk about anything else. This helps guide the consultation towards more on what the client is avidly looking for. Another helpful trick is to ask whether the client has anything else they want to work on if you somehow finish the main writing piece with a good amount of spare time, lastly if you're given a short piece (intro, outline) you can help the client plan their next step in the paper 

In the end communication is the most important part. You must ask what the client wants and what they bring. If they bring an item that's small, maybe you'll have enough time to start on another item. If they bring in a giant piece suggest they try to get more time so that you two can finish it another day. You may get a piece you really don't agree on it ideals, for these all you have to do is put aside your personal beliefs and remain professional (Say perhaps an essay on why people should not eat meat). There are many types of strange things like these: just remember if you get one that you heavily reflect on how to improve upon it.  


  1. I love the solutions you presented here, Jaden! Communication is definitely key. :) It's especially tough to work with short pieces of writing (and even more so when the writing has already received a high grade)! Something I may have done during this session was to talk about introductory paragraphs and thesis statements in general. Maybe the student was lacking some confidence with their intro and so was seeking your opinion as a reader. While I assume the writer did a great job on their writing, maybe it would have been helpful if you shared your perceptions of the paper that would follow such an intro. It might be that you weren't picking up all of the subtopics the writer intended to discuss in the rest of their paper, and this might give the writer something more to think about as they crafted their intro. I always try to find something a writer can "hang onto" in my consultations, a piece of knowledge or know-how that will help them in future writing assignments. In this case, I think I'd have gotten the writer thinking about their audience and how an intro paragraph lays the groundwork for readers.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, I'll be sure to keep this in mind!


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