Saturday, September 02, 2006


Well, just to let y'all know who I am, since my username is not my name, I'm Rachel. I came here from Louisiana, having been a big fish in the little pond that was my local community college. My English professors had raved about my writing skills. So, I believed that I had some knowledge that I could impart to the students who would come into the writitng center. It wasn't until I took the tutoring test that I began to get worried. Suddenly all the mistakes I had made on past papers began haunting my dreams. Who do I think I am? Why should people come to me for help on their papers? Maybe I'm not as good of a writer as I thought I was. After all, this is a university and not a community college.

Now the coming week stares me in the face. I dread having my first tutoring experience. I actually considered telling Claire that she had made a mistake and that I could never be a tutor. I tremble at the thought of utter humiliation that will surely come if a tutee asks me a question I can't answer. I cringe when I think of having power to affect another person's grade. What if I just do it wrong? What if I make the paper worse than it was when I got it? I guess my biggest fear is that my tutee will know more than I do.

I know all of these fears will fade in time and that my skills will develop with experience. It's not the long term future that I am afraid of, it's the here and now. I know the tutoring class will help tremendously in the future, but what about the poor souls who come into the writing center in the next few weeks? Oh well, I guess life goes on.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Aw, I Don't Get To Explode After All. ;_;

Well, since I really don't have anything special to write here just yet, I guess I'll hit the basics. I'm Derek.
I'm the evil henchman of the future iron-fisted ruler of humanity, who just happens to be about 8 pounds of pure, furry Satan.
I'm currently listening to a techno remix of Magic Carpet Ride, since for some reason people like to know inane details like that.

Requisite silliness has been dealt with. Now, on to the real meat!

I'm not feeling particularly nervous about tutoring yet, nor the class for that matter. I'm not sure if I really will until I'm sitting next to my first tutee. Even then, the nervousness will likely be buried under a wave of horrible jokes, even more horrible puns, and at least an attempt to accomplish the business at hand. A general rule of thumb goes as follows: A personality that prefers to feel in control of their space, up to and including their general vicinity at any given time, will react unfavorably when confronted with a reality that leaves them with no control. I simply translate "unfavorably" to "babble uncontrollably" and nod happily, content in my new position in the scheme of that particular sphere of existence.

Oh yeah. Don't be surprised if you see me lurking around the SS building when I'm not at class. I'm an accomplished (world-class even!) lurker.

****End Transmission****

And now that I've sat with my first tutee, my opinion hasn't changed a bit. Granted, I've been eating Smarties for two hours solid and am on such a sugar high that if you snuck up behind me and went "BOO!" even semi-loudly I'd die of a heart attack. No Jacie, that wasn't an invitation. I felt natural, at my ease, and pretty much had a blast.

And now I'm going to resume dancing in the doorway in a probably futile attempt to burn off this excess sugar energy. Sayonara!

The black puma

The full moon waxes strong as i fly through the night. Pedal. Its three A.M., the witching hour, and the night is particularly cool. Pedal. As ride past a very casual looking older home I notice that there is something very different tonight. Every light is on in the house, and all these lights are a deep crimson red. I know not why these eerie lights are on, but I suspect Satanism. Pedal, pedal, pedal. A few miles down the rode, I hear a growling in the bushes. Frantically pedal, pedal, pedal...Fear is real, and has a purpose.

When I was hired on at the writing center, I was extraordinarily confident about my tutoring abilities. I thought, "It's easy, I write well, and I will be able to tutor kids on their writing." This was my attitude until the second day when Clair started training me. All the sudden there were, actually, things I didn't know, and I had to teach people them. Ahh!
My normally high confidence was dashed as my first actual tutoring session drew closer.

Despite all the wonderful training I received prior to this, I couldn't help but question myself. My mind churned as I thought, " I don't know the slightest thing about writing. I simply wrote, went into the writing center, had Chris help me, and then revised. “I kept questioning my own abilities. As this questioning continued the fear grew. I kept telling myself, "If Clair trusts me, I trust me." I began to get anxious and came to the point where I decided that it was better to get it over with than to live in this nervous state.

Then she appeared. With a sweet smile she handed me the hardest paper of my total tutoring experience. It was a mess! It was a ten page research paper which was due the next day, and she didn't have any sources! Worst yet, I couldn't figure out what it was about. I did my best and sent the girl with the sweet smile on her way to the slaughter.
She left and a great knot in my stomach grew. I thought that that girl's paper was completely ruined and I had helped in her train wreck. I wanted to call her and make sure she was working on it.

After thatanother student came in with the most illogical I have seen in my tenure as a tutor. The paper's body argued completely against his thesis. I tried to persuade him to either change the thesis, or work on the body, yet he didn't listen to me at all! It turned into an argument about how to fix his paper. This incident is admittedly not one of my finer moments, but to my surprise he walked out and thanked me for the help I had given him.

At this point I had been up for nearly twenty four hours, had a full day of classes, and been beaten down by these brutal essays. I went home in an exhausted haze of self pity to sleep, and then the next mourning something miraculous happened, the sun came up!

As a matter of fact the girl with the sweet smile came in and thanked me for helping her with her paper. Perhaps I had done something 'write'. (Bad joke, but it made me laugh). The fear that I experienced prior to these tutoring sessions helped me to prepare for them. This fear was, as twisted sister called it, "Being under the blade." The fear of the unknown helped me to become a better tutor, and survive the ravages of the South Weber Satanists.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Don't Worry My Friends

Don’t Worry My Friends

I came looking for work at the Writing Center with a confident attitude. I had done well in both composition classes and actually discovered that I rather enjoy writing. I had been a tutee at the Writing Center before and I thought I knew the drill. The student walks in, the tutor easily glides through the paper, and the paper turns into a masterpiece. I had the notion in my brain that tutoring would be a breeze. I have come to realize that it may be a bit fiercer wind.
Certain realizations have come into my mind which has made me a little uneasy. As I have thought about these realizations I have become a little nervous and worried about being a tutor. Recently my hands have started to sweat, my voice trembles, and my vision has become a little blurry. Even now as I am typing this blog and thinking about how scary being a tutor is going to be, my big, cushiony chair isn’t really that comfortable anymore. Wait, actually I am not that nervous, but I do have my doubts.
One of my doubts is in me. I am worried that I may mislead some poor soul by teaching an incorrect concept or making a grammatical mistake on one of their papers. What if that rewires their whole thinking pattern and they continuously get docked points on their papers because they keep making the same mistake. I remember that when I came into the Writing Center I would look up to the tutors and respect their opinion. I can’t help but think that my fellow peers do the same. Heavy weight has been put on my shoulders to make sure that I know my stuff. I hope to better a student’s paper, not destroy it. Therefore, I am going to use this fear for the purpose of improving myself. Fear can be a great tool if it is used in the right manner.
I am also nervous that a senior will come in wanting help with a paper that I just don’t understand. For example, if a microbiology student comes in with some science format that I’ve never seen before and uses terms that I don’t believe came from the planet Earth, then I don’t know how I’m going to help him/her. Or if a senior brings in his/her paper about their capstone research project, which would constitute a large percentage of his or her grade, and I can’t really help them. Aahhh! I’ve ruined another soul’s life! Although, I do know that a good amount of the papers that do come into the Writing Center are freshmen composition papers. So, I think I am okay in that category.
These two concerns of mine really add up to a fear of failure. I don’t want a tutee leaving worse off than he/she started. In my past English classes I have heard one or two students express how they felt puzzled after receiving help on their writing. I hope to increase others’ writing skills as well as my own. Worries are natural and so are mistakes. I may have some rough encounters, but I will only come out stronger. Being a tutor is a bit nerve-racking but at the same time it is also exciting. I’m excited to dig down into the dirt and experience the great world of writing. I will put away my nerves, learn from my mistakes, gain greater confidence, and aspire to be a better writer.

First Things

So here we are.

As I said in class, I'll post prompts here for you compose blog-responses to, but you should also feel free to post on your own (just keep it civil and clean, of course!).

First: here is the New York Times story about the sound adults can't hear. Here's a direct link to the tone. Make sure your sound is turned on.

Second: For your first blog post, I'd like to see you write about what scares you about tutoring. What makes you nervous? What are you worried about?