April 24, 2022
This last semester has been a period of challenge and growth for me as a student and a writing tutor. At the beginning of the semester, classes, writing appointments, and other meetings were moved online due to changing COVID-19 restrictions. I found this transition to be quite challenging, as online appointments were my least-preferred method of meeting. Previously, I had struggled with feeling disconnected from my students in these online appointments while frequent technological issues further inhibited communication. As I began the semester, I felt slightly apprehensive about overcoming these communication barriers. However, my concerns were eased when I realized that students often shared the same concerns about online appointments. Rather than being apprehensive, I chose to use this as an opportunity to help students overcome their own apprehensions. This allowed me to relate with students in their struggles and develop a sense of understanding and compassion for those that also found the transition difficult. For this reason, the challenge of the online transition turned to be a place that I experienced a large amount of growth in.
Aside from this online transition, I found that the remainder of the semester went quite smoothly for me as my confidence as a tutor grew. With each appointment, I developed a greater understanding of each student’s needs and the techniques required to aid them. My tutoring sessions also became more efficient as I began to understand core issues more quickly. This, in turn, allowed me to give more beneficial feedback to students and improve each of my sessions.
Like last semester, I focused on tutoring Biology and Chemistry lab reports. This is certainly a field that I enjoy tutoring and I remembered the labs from earlier in my degree. Many of the concepts that were emphasized in the 1st and 2nd year labs were fundamental in my understanding of 3rd and 4th year labs. This overlap was beneficial for a couple reasons. Firstly, I was able to bring a higher level of understanding to each appointment. I encouraged students to seek a deeper level of understanding and meaning to the words that they were writing. Secondly, reviewing old concepts was an excellent way to review my previous years of learning and reinforce foundational concepts in my degree. This developed the quality of my own report writing as I asked myself similar questions that I presented to my students.
Next year, I hope to continue working in the Writing Centre as a writing tutor with emphasis on writing lab reports. I believe this will help me welcome new writing tutors to the role and provide them support throughout the next semester. I also believe that I’ll be able to connect with new Biology and Chemistry students in a similar way. I hope that students feel welcomed and encouraged to utilize the Writing Centre as a way of receiving useful feedback for their reports, specifically in the genre of lab-report writing.