December 11, 2020
In my first semester at the Writing Center, I have had a remarkable experience that not only helped me develop professionally as a tutor, but also personally. I have been working as a tutor and a freelancer ELL teacher since the last 4 years, but this was the first time I worked with University level students. This experience helps me a lot professionally as my ultimate goal is to become a professor. I got a chance to understand how to use the learning that I already have and apply it along with the learning I acquired at the training during the semester. All of this along with the Pandemic, was a challenging yet a highly fruitful life event. My first and most favorite part of the experience was when I managed to have a few repeating students. The way that my work affected their writing and how it helped them become a slightly better writer now than before is the most satisfying part of the job.
The second favorite has to be the excitement of the appointments itself. Being an extrovert, I naturally missed talking to people and communicating during the Pandemic. And working at WC in such times filled that space in my life by giving me a chance to meet, help, and create connections with new people almost every day. This part of the writing center makes me work more on skills like Repo Building, Active Listening as well as Time Management during appointments. To meet new students and make sure that they come back, it requires me to build a good “first impression”. I use Paraphrasing and Concept Checking Questions to make sure that I follow the Tutoring Cycle and plan the session in the first 5-10 minutes depending on the length of the session. This tied up with a good “Sandwich Feedback” makes for a good first session as well as gives me a good chance of trying to get the student as a regular. Thus, my time at WC becomes the best part of my day when I make sure I follow my decided plan and fulfill the expectations as well as responsibilities as a tutor.
These were the ways in which WC has helped me develop professionally. Personally, I have also gotten a chance to enhance my communication as well as relation management skills during the semester. Firstly, I got to experience how I can work professionally with someone that I also know on a personal or close family basis. For example, some of my students during the term were my close day to day friends, some other acquaintances as well as my own younger sister. This experience did make me feel nervous and awkward at times. Especially while giving critical feedback but once I learned how to put on my “Tutor Hat”, I was fine. I just had to learn to apply all the training and rules of tutoring to every session, regardless of who the student is and then it all works itself out. Once I was successful in doing so, with practice, I also managed to make some of my friends and my sister come back to me and ask for writing help just like any other student would. Thus, I learnt a great teaching on how to manage professional relationships even when I already have a personal connection with the person in question. These months at WC have thus been my most favorite and knowledgeable work experience in Canada.