December 11, 2020
Stepping into this role as a writing tutor taught me so much about my own writing and the challenges that all writers face. The online aspect to the appointments limits personal connection, which can be difficult at times, but also, helps focus the sessions. I found that this job allowed me to be flexible with my location and fit around my own schoolwork. As an embedded tutor, I enjoyed getting to know the students in the ENGL 103 class and understanding their assignments in more detail, as well as the professor’s expectations. Working throughout the semester with the same students encouraged me as I saw their growth as writers and felt cheered to see how far they had come from the beginning of the semester
I was surprised by my favorite part of each session, which was the back and forth of sharing ideas and talking about the class assignments. Although, this is usually something that students share with their classmates, my tutoring sessions gave time to discuss ideas and the hear the students explain their latest thoughts on the works that they were reading. These conversations allowed students to open up about their work and feel more inspired with their paper ideas. I believe this was the most rewarding part of the job.
The most difficult part of tutoring was knowing how to break down each session, especially when working with new clients; it was sometimes difficult figuring out in the first five minutes what they needed the most help on. It helped having students read through part of their work, as it gave me a moment to narrow down how I could help them best, but I did feel a great deal of pressure to give them my best advice or set up the session in the most helpful way. I believe I also pressured myself to make every single session the very best it could be, and that brought even more stress, and overall did not help me have clarity of mind during my sessions.
This semester, I began going to the writing center, and having this experience has allowed me to see how important sessions can be, especially for talking through topic ideas and hearing my own ideas out loud. In this coming semester, I would like to become more proficient when working with students, by focusing on higher order issues before picking out the smaller grammar and spelling errors. When going over a drafted paper, I would like to work on examining the thesis in more detail and bringing example ideas into the sessions to allow for students to see ideas for what they might like to do. I would also like to improve my listening abilities throughout each session. After my writing tutor observation, I learned that sometimes I can accidently talk over the students or not listen as intently as I should be. As a result, I would like to work on listening more intently to my students and work on not speaking until they have fully explained themselves.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed working as a writing tutor, getting to know my embedded students, and encouraging them in their first semester of university.