December 11, 2020
My time at the Writing Centre this semester was helpful and transformative in a lot of ways. Not only did it make me a better teacher and tutor, but it also familiarized me with online learning and taught me a lot about adaptability. Furthermore, I loved being a place where students could come for help and feel heard, no matter where they were at with their writing process.
I would say that the most prominent thing I learned would be think time and scaffolding. For example, it is easy to go through a student’s paper and point out different grammatical errors, and it can even be easy to explain why I might suggest changing something. However, it takes more restraint and intentionality to try to explain something and then give the student a chance to take the learning into their own hands. Particularly when there is a 30-minute time constraint, it can feel very tempting to go through the paper and jump from one point to the next. When we did our observations, I appreciated that feedback about giving students time to think and try to solve the problem on their own. This was also important in my development as a teacher, because it is a friendly reminder that I want to set the student up for success once I am not with them.
It was also a very interesting semester to become familiar with Zoom and all its different features. I had never used it before, but I have become so accustomed to it now. Sometimes when I’m facetiming my Mom or sisters, I look to try share my screen because I want to show them something, and then I laugh because I realize that we are not on Zoom. This is just one way that shows how online learning has impacted our habits and our lives, and I know that tutoring has been a big part of that.
Finally, I have loved being able to interact with different students, especially first-years. It can take a lot of courage to ask for help when you feel like you are in a difficult situation, and I really admire the courage of the students who booked with me. Some of my favorite moments in the semester were when students entered a session feeling totally overwhelmed, and then left the session with a plan and feeling affirmed. I also loved being a sounding board for different ideas that they might have about a paper. I remember being a first year and feeling stressed, and it was really nice to be able to talk through the writing process as a way to destress some students. It felt like I was doing something helpful that was practical, and I would not have been able to help this way if I had not spent this semester working at the writing centre.
Due to my schedule, I am not able to return to the writing centre next semester, and these are some of the memories that make me sad to go. However, I have enjoyed my time as a tutor immensely, and I will look back on it with fond memories.