Saturday, September 19, 2009


I don’t think there is single a grammar concept that’s easy to explain. While tutoring during the past two weeks, I have had the chance to discuss several different grammar concepts. It was NOT easy. I find it so frustrating to know something is grammatically wrong, to know how to fix it, but am unable to explain why it should be written this way instead of that way. The frustration is only compounded when I realize I don’t even remember when I first learned it was done this way and not that way.

One instance this week that particularly frustrated me was trying to explain why it was wrong to spell “abilities” as “ability’s.” Well first of all, I explained that in this case “ability’s” wasn’t possessive so apostrophe “s” was unnecessary, but as soon as I tried to think of an instance where using “ability’s” would be correct, my mind blanked and I couldn’t think of any examples. If there was ever an instance in my short tutoring life that I wanted to shout “THAT’S JUST HOW IT IS,” this was it.

Another hard concept I faced was a question from another stymied tutor. In English why do we spell putting as “putting,” and lifting as “lifting,” but not “liftting?” I had no idea! Luckily, there was a very experienced tutor in the room to give us newbies some direction. It seems that as I refresh myself on these grammar rules, there are at least three exceptions to that one rule that I have to commit to memory as well. This complicates the explanation process even more. I’ve had a reaffirmation of just how confusing the English language can be.

The second part of this week’s prompt is to include a flowchart displaying how we conduct a tutoring session? Well I don’t think any two sessions have been alike so far, and I can’t even think if there is an actual process I follow yet, but here you go. I really have been trying to follow a plan similar to the one we constructed in class, so the first thing I do is introduce myself. I then usually will ask the student what they have been writing about, or what class the assignment is for. If I am really on top of things, I will usually ask them something about school or their major, but usually this is the step I forget. I then ask if there are any questions they have, and if they feel comfortable reading their paper aloud, or if they would prefer that I read it. After this step is decided, the paper is read and issues are addressed. As we come to areas in the paper the student would like to change, I ask them to write the changes down themselves. After the paper is read, changes have been made and questions have been answered, I ask one more time if there is anything else they would like to cover. If everything is good, I tell them good luck on your assignment, and the session ends.

Flow Charts are my friend

I love flow charts. The logical portion of my brain enjoys the idea of a well-planned, perfectly executed tutoring session. But there are a few problems with flow charts. When people are concerned, flow charts are not specific enough to suit me, but they cannot be more specific because humans aren't like computers. Computers are logical and very predictable. Humans...not so much. However, there are still a few basic steps that can be followed to create a successful tutoring session.

1. Establish a rapport with the student. Don't just begin to talk. Introduce yourself. Say hi! Learn the student's name, and try to use that name 3-5 times within the first minute. That helps you remember their name, and makes the student more comfortable, as humans enjoy hearing their name spoken.

2. Ask the Student why they came to tutoring and what they hope to get from the session. The student came for a specific reason. Perhaps they wanted someone to proofread their paper. Maybe their teacher made it a requirement. Whatever the reason, the student has certain expectations and would be very disappointed if a tutor ignores what's important to them.

3. Ask what the assignment is. This can be the biggest question, because it decides how the rest of the session continues. If it's a grammar assignment, you'll probably end up working through examples and clarifying things. If it's an essay on the use of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos by President Obama in his recent health care speech, the process will be completely different. Let's assume that this is the essay that will be discussed in the session.

4. Look for a thesis. This is very important. Look for the thesis, and help the student refine it. If the paper would be better with a different thesis, help the student change it to match the rest of the assignment.

5. Explain anything the student is confused about. In the example of the our Obama paper, make sure that the student understands Ethos, Logos and Pathos. Make sure that the student is using factual examples.

6. Correct any last errors, and make sure that the student's expectations have been met. The student usually expects grammar, punctuation, and spelling to be addressed, at least partially. They want formatting help, as well as Citations 101.

7. Before parting ways, plan for the next session. Invite the student back to tutoring. Suggest scheduling a weekly appointment. Let the student know about other services available through the university.

8. Thank the student for Coming to tutoring. Thank taking advantage of the tutoring. Compliment them on their efforts already exerted. Remind them what they need to do to improve their assignment.

As for Bartholeme, I found he was very difficult to follow. It was interesting to talk about the way that students "invent" the vernacular that they have to use, but I'm not sure I agree completely. Professors cause a lot of the problem as well. My own English 1010 and 2010 professors asked the students to use professional language. I found myself stressing about sounding "academic" and I read essay after essay, trying to analyze the way he spoke. I wanted to get the different discourse feel. I hope that I've improved in that, but the way that he describes it, and the way we described it in class, it's almost impossible for students to achieve the correct style of discourse because there are no formally written rules. I can only try, and keep trying, until I get enough authority and/or experience to write my own rules.

So I'm just going to assume that the flowcharsts and grammar counts as one blog

Flowcharts and grammar huh? This should prove to be a rather enjoyable blog. Seeing as this is somewhat of a duel portion blog I will devote my comments to each subject in this blog. Let’s start with the blog that was posted at the beginning of the week, grammar.

There are many parts of grammar that I find particularly tricky to navigate through, and the hardest one would have to depend on the student. When going through a paper with a LEAP student I find just about everything tricky. Prepositions are a nightmare and trying to explain tense can be a sticky situation. I seem to always get tongue tied as I try to explain why certain words should be in different forms. But, each time it gets a little easier which is nice. As they say, the more you do something the better you get at it.

When it comes to a native speaker, I think that active and passive voice is rather tough. Incidentally, I have to give a presentation on that very subject on Monday so hopefully after then it won’t be a problem! But trying to spot what voice is being used in a sentence can just baffle me! Sometimes it’s pretty clear and easy to tell, but other times it is hidden so well I have to bring out all the books and enlist the help of my fellow tutors.

Now to move on to the subject of flowcharts; a list of steps if you will. I’ll probably just lump the whole thing together in this paragraph. First, I would greet the student with a friendly smile and tell them my name and find out theirs. Following that I would gain an understanding of why they came into the tutoring center. Was it for an assignment? Did the student just want some extra help? After figuring out their purpose, I would ask about the assignment or their paper.

What is it about? What do they have to say about it? What concerns to they have. During this time I would try to set the stage for what is going to happen throughout the session. The tutee and I would discuss how the session is going to proceed. Should he read or should I? What are we going to look for and pay attention to? By having an understanding of how the session is going to go everything should work out pretty well in the end.

Of course, every session is different and the “chart” may have to take new shape with each student. But the principles are generally the same and can be followed in most cases. Another down side I have noticed is that sometimes I can just be forgetful as whatever the opposite of an elephant is. Sometimes I just forget to give the student a pen, or to ask them to read something. Hopefully that will happen less frequently as time goes on. I hope that after my days of training are over I’ll be able to not mess up as much.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grammar concept? Hmmm… Let me see…/ a tutor’s guide to the Universe

There is a lot about grammar you could say I haven’t “mastered” yet, but I pretty much know my stuff. Besides the concepts I’m not familiar with, I could say capitalization sometimes seems tricky. I know because I was so confused in a session I had earlier today. But then again it shouldn’t be too hard to explain. You have proper nouns, months, days, titles, and etc… it’s kind of hard to explain because I don’t have it memorized in my head yet.

This is a tough one to answer because I really can t think of any. I have a concept… to me I think it would be hard explaining synonyms to an ESL/LEAP student. I know it would be easier to explain verb tenses to an English 2010 student than to an ESL/LEAP student. When learning a new language I always get stuck with verb tenses. So I could imagine them getting confused as well.

Another concept I thought about were gerunds and gerund phrases. What is a gerund? Let me look it up for second… ok here we go. “A gerund is a noun formed from a verb by adding a suffix.” how would you explain that? How would you explain it so an ESL/LEAP student can understand? I think that would be pretty hard.

This next section is answering the next prompt. I would organize a session with two pieces of paper. One being the writer’s paper the other would be something I would call a tutoring session guide. This slip of paper would have any question you might ask a student about their paper. Including important questions like “what class?”, “What’s the paper supposed to be about?”, “what’s the assignment?”, “how many pages does it have to be?”, and any other question that might propel you further into the session. You can make this slip with a word processing program, print and cut out a slip for every session you do. I hope this helps with the question.

Well it’s getting quite late and I’ve only had two lousy hours of sleep the past two days. I’m going to call it a day and get home.

The...Uh...thing...with the stuff?'s supposed to go there...

One word: Articles.
I’m alright with explaining why a word is an adjective or when you should use commas to surround a phrase or semi-colons to break up independent clauses, but I simply cannot explain why you need an article in front of one word but not another. Is it because it’s a noun? Or is it because it’s used in a sentence a certain way? And how does the issue of plural versus single come into play? After you figure all this out, how do you explain it using non-technical language, or how do you get the concept from your brain into coherent sentences?
I think not being able to explain articles may go back to my earlier grammar days. I have a distinct memory of my ninth grade English teacher saying, “Well, I don’t want to explain articles, and I’m pretty sure you all know how to use them, so we’re just going to do this assingment and move on.” She was right, I did know how to use them without a second thought, but I never thought that she might not have wanted to explain them because she didn’t know how either. Not that I want to completely blame my lack of articulation on her or put her on any special hit-lists, but I think having a clear explanation when I was younger of how to use them may have been extremely helpful later on…as in now. Oh well, at least I got an A on the assignment! Three cheers for busy work.
Perhaps they should give classes specifically on how to explain English and all of it’s grammar rules in a clear way, though I’m pretty sure “English Teaching for Dummies” is already in existence…I’ll put that on my list of things to look into before I die.
Though articles are hard to explain already, what makes it even harder for me is that, as with all English grammar rules, there seem to be exceptions to the rules in random places. These lovely exceptions all serve to show me how truly I live up to my hair color (for those of you who can’t remember who I am…I’m blonde. Very very blonde). I feel that there is nothing more humbling than when I put an article in front of a word, espeically when working with an ESL student, only to have them look up at me and ask why it’s supposed to be there.
That question is always followed by me giving a long, “Uuuuuuuuuh…” followed closely by, “I’m actually not sure why…I just know it goes there.” Even if the tutee simply nods and moves on, I still feel like a failure. I don’t think, though, that this is something that I’m the only one that has problems with. Even in the essay we read about tutoring ESL students, Ritter mentioned that she doesn’t explain articles either because they’re really difficult to explain to non-native English speakers. I guess that may present a paradox: you need to explain the words to ESL students, but not to English students, but the only ones who can attempt to understand my discombobulated explanations would be the English students…Whew, that almost makes me dizzy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


As promised, folks, we'd like to see you put together some kind of flowchart for how to run a tutoring session. How do you do it? Give us a list.

I can only pick one?

Personally, I think an entire class devoted soley to teaching "how to teach grammar" would be helpful. I keep going back to grade school and try understand how I came to understand these concepts. I vaguely remember a monster that would eat part of a word and leave an apostrophe...which is why we have contractions.
That's the extent of my memories.
I usually feel fairly confident in explaining things; I think I probably use too many analogies, but as long as the writer is understanding the rule, right?
I like what Brianna was saying about evesdropping in on sessions. I do this all the time! I think the best way for us to learn is just to keep observing others' teaching methods. Actually, this reminds me of a Murraylicious situation. A group of tutors still learning how to be tutors, learning through the observation of fellow tutors. Hmm....
The class has helped me a lot. Fellow tutors have helped me a lot. I feel spoiled by the endless techniques to explain grammatical prinicples, so I shouldn't be complaining! I guess I will say that the grammatical rule that I have the most difficult time explaining would be prepositions. I am never exactly sure why you use one over the other, you just do. But in Ritter's essay, she says that when working with ESL students you can just give them the correct preposition.
So...I don't really have to attempt to explain it anymore. How convenient.

Grammar concepts

Currently, I find all grammar concepts impossible to explain because my boss has been evaluating my tutoring. This for some reason turns me into the worst tutor ever. I'm better than I have been. I know that I should have explained apostrophe rules this morning, but when I was trying to think of examples I just blanked. It's not recess's it's recesses, but I couldn't think of what recess would be possesive of. Terrible. I feel like I'm failing my tutees. Having my boss there makes me super nervous.

I also could not think of how to explain a run-on sentence and why the sentence in the tutee's paper was run-on. Geez. Maybe it's because I'm super tired, or I have too much on my mind. I know that shouldn't interfere with my tutoring, but it does. It's awful. I feel like an almost total failure. Crap.

On a good day, however, the grammar concept that I have the hardest time explaining is misuses of prepositions. It's very hard to explain to a student why it's of and not for, or why it's on and not about or any other ones. How do you explain that? I still don't know.

The other one is the strange plurals. How do you explain it's syllabi and crises? I think sometimes you just have to tell the tutee. This is just the way it is. There is a reason, but explaining the historical context does not do anyone any favors. The tutee doesn't care that we use syllabi because that's the history of things. They just want to do it right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Exceptions

Grammar and I have always been on pretty good terms. We were fast friends early on, leaned on each other in rough times and kept our fights to a minimum. I spent a few weeks giving it the cold shoulder in middle school, but all relationships have rough patches; we forgave and forgot. So has been our love story.

Grammar and I aren't doing so well these days. I mean, I understand all the tics and tricks and weird little pitfalls; I know how it works, but not everyone does. I find myself trying to explain its behavior to outsiders and receiving blank stares in return. Some of it is just so asinine, so pointless and without precendent that I have no way to legitimately defend it.

"So.. this is the rule."


"But it doesn't work all the time."


"So what's the rule for the exceptions?"


A little consistency would be nice.

Exceptions to rules for things like adverbs and verb tense are a nightmare for me to explain. I can manage the grammatical basics like sentence construction, word choice and punctuation just fine, even with a LEAP student, but trying to convey something like present simple versus present continuous to someone that hasn't grown up speaking the language and lacks the intuition we take for granted is tremendously difficult. I honestly don't know where to start half the time.

Class helps. Learning to verbalize on independent and dependent clauses, comma splices and construction, semi-colons and the like has been really helpful. I understand all the little jokes and subtleties myself, but I've never had to explain them to another human being before - or at least not one I had to be nice to. (I have cousins.) Refreshing helps. I know the material, but it's been years since I've had to use the terminology or think about writing in a structured way. Reading through the textbooks makes it easier. Eavesdropping on other tutors helps. It seems like everyone else has a better grasp on vocalizing these concepts than I do, but I'm not above ganking other people's methods.

But yeah, it's hard. Explaining these abstract concepts is hard. I so often take for granted that grammatical proficiency is natural and shared by everyone as part of a uniform cultural experience; I forget that we don't all share intellectual traits. I have to remind myself to slow down, back up and be clear (but not condescending.) I feel like I do more to confuse than to clarify half the time I open my mouth. Is anyone else having issues with this?

As much for me as for them


Can I explain it? Well, it depends. Sometimes I'm more verbally eloquent than other times. Sometimes I just can't think of a good way to explain it that won't simultaneously confuse the tutee or the tutor (yes, I confuse myself on a daily basis). Sometimes I really just have no idea why a grammar principle must be what it must be. I just know that it must be. It just is.

Situations like that are not necessarily on a daily basis though. Rarely can I not figure out how to explain why this verb needs to have an "ing" tacked on it in order to agree with the rest of the sentence as a dependent clause rather than having two independent clauses squished together. Other times it's just an issue of subject-verb agreement or adding in a preposition to make a phrase rather than some random words hooked to the end of a complete sentence. Or maybe it's just simply the way that the sentence is structured.

Those are usually the ESL--or I guess it's LEAP--papers that I come across. Those papers still intimidate me even now--how can I explain to someone who's never spoken the language why this grammar or word isn't what they think it is without making myself sound like a condescending idiot--but at least those students have a good grasp of what I'm talking about when I say "prepositional phrase." For these students though, the hardest and most recurring grammar concept for me to explain is why an article has to go where I'm suggesting they put it. From my understanding and experience, languages don't need articles in the sentence. It can get along quite well without it. But English is just the way it is.

For English as a first language students in other classes who come by, I say something like that and I can see the way the tutees' faces twist slightly in concentration, trying to hide the fact that they can vaguely remember that term from somewhere in the crevices of their mind but they just can't get a good grasp on it and they're too scared or proud to ask. In those cases, it feels sort of difficult to explain grammar terms--I mean, most of the time I know that they've heard it all somewhere before. Some English teacher they had had somewhere down the line probably mentioned it once or twice in class. I'm just not sure how much they know or if what they know is completely wrong and I end up confusing them even more.

In short, it's not really the grammar concept I have the worst time with. It's more the person I'm trying to explain it to. Sure, I don't know everything--there's a ton of stuff I'm still trying to figure out how to put into words to answer the tutee's question of "Why?" and as such my explanations of said concepts will be fairly limited until I learn otherwise.

But that's all right. A tutoring session is as much a learning experience for the tutee as for the tutor.

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Taking Baby Steps

Hello class how are we doing? Today is the first day working in the writing center. Me, I’m just trying to get caught up and back on top of things. For me, this semester is a busy one. I got a lot of things going on, work, school, and lots more of other responsibilities that I’ve never had before this semester. I hope that all goes well for all. Let’s get back to the prompt.

What’s harder, an OK paper or a not so OK paper? Wow that’s a tough one. Well it all depends on what the problem is. It could be the grammar, tone, organization, or all of the above. The paper can be absolutely flawless besides that the paper was supposed to be an interpretation and it sounds more like a summary. What if the paper is completely illegible? Depending on what the problem is will determine the difficulty of the session. Or will it?

Back to what Wingate basically says in her essay. “The goal of the writing center is to improve the writer before the writing.” So as long as the student comes out a better writer it doesn’t matter what the problem is. I am going to treat every paper the same. I’m going to narrow it down to the biggest problem and start from there. I will try to guide the student through their paper making sure they learn from their mistakes. I know I can’t make a writer or their paper entirely better in just one session. I’m just going to take it one step at a time. I know this is all easier said than done but with practice and observation I’ll be able to achieve that goal.

So I just got done with my first session /observation it didn’t go too bad. I was a little nervous in the beginning. I started to overwhelm myself with all the thoughts in the world after I had asked her what her paper was about. I pulled myself together and I had her read over her paper. When we were through I was panicking, I did not see any problems so I asked for help. So Derek came over and read through the paper only to make one noun plural and to add an additional comma. Other than those two small errors this narrative was on the dot.

In the end I really don’t know what one would be more difficult because I only have one session under my belt. My first day with one paper tutored doesn’t give me much experience but I plan on gaining a lot more today. I'm kinda like a baby, I will learn a million things a day.

Monday, September 14, 2009


So. What's the grammar concept you find most difficult to explain to students?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Good or Evil?

I say it's equally tough. Perche? (Italian)....

Sure, we all like to see a good paper. Most would say that it gives us less work. But the thing that becomes obvious as you think about it is that a good paper becomes tougher to criticize. Do you just say it's all good? Sometimes, we try and look for even the most insignificant thing and use that to "help" our student. Why do we do this? Could it be that we as tutors feel that we need to bring something to the table when we are tutoring? I feel so. Since we are "the all-knowing tutor", we feel that we need to do something. I know I did this when I first started tutoring. This is wrong on so many levels. Not only are giving ourselves a false sense of pride b/c we correct a (non) mistake but we are also changing a student's work that is probably very acceptable as it is. Is there ever a case when there's a perfect paper? I doubt it. But I have seen papers which are close to being 100%. I feel the tutor needs to acknowledge the student when he or she has written a very good paper. Let the student know that he or she has written a paper that you don't see hardly any errors. We as tutors need to encourage our students. If we encourage them, their confidence will skyrocket and their writing will improve b/c they will be more dedicated to writing.

A bad paper is easier in the sense that there are so many errors that you have plenty to work with. While this does give you plenty to talk about with the student, sometimes the paper may be have an overwhelming amount of mistakes/errors that you may not have time to get to everything. A bad paper can be stressful obviously but it gives us a great chance to help teach a student who is need of writing help. A bad paper may require multiple visits from the student. From my experience, I say three visits from the student is quite the norm.

Personally, a good paper is nice to see. Not just b/c, for the most part, you may not have to work on it so much but b/c it's also nice to see your student write a paper. I have regular students that come in to see me, so each student and I have built trust as time has gone by. I feel very proud when I see their writing improve.

The Problem Paper

Pictures this, you are sitting in the writing lab and a student comes in with their paper. As you go through this work in progress you become encumbered with problem after problem after problem. What do you do? Either the paper is so out there you just want to tell them to scrap it or you are so offended you just want to wad it up and throw it in their face. Whatever the problem is there is a way to fix it. You just need to know exactly what the problem is first.

As a tutor in the writing center I will encounter many different types of papers from all parts of the university. One session I will be helping an ESL/LEAP student with punctuation errors and the next I will be helping John Doe find his thesis in his ten page History paper. Whatever the task is, I am going to keep in mind that the goal of the writing center and that is to better the writer before the paper.

So if I encounter a problematic paper what I would do would all depend on who is typing a paper and what problem the paper has. Because I know that just one thirty minute session could have a million possibilities. For example when I am tutoring an ESL/LEAP student of course I will give them more leeway than I would a grad student. If this particular paper that the ESL/LEAP student wrote is offensive I will not take any offense. I will not show any discrimination because my job isn’t to tell the student what to write, my job is to show the student how to write. And I will work to improve this writer one step at a time. I will help this student by all means necessary. I will work to guide this student to establish a thesis, fix grammar, organize, or anything else to improve this students writing.
So that pretty much says it all for me.

I can’t wait to start tutoring so I can put myself to the test.

Aw, I'm honored. And I'm late again

I really appreciate that these are read and considered :) that means a lot. Ha, well I guess I'll just have to expand on what I have previously written about.

One troublesome trait of the bad paper is the tediousness (word?) of its grammar issues. It is very difficult to read aloud and not be stopped every couple of words to correct a tense issue, a funky sentence, or a screaming spelling/grammar issue. Usually, I am thinking to myself: "How am I ever going to get to the end of this thing? I know I have big-picture tips to talk about." But it is SO DIFFICULT to keep going smoothly on their bumpy ride of a paper.
While reading, I am completely aware of the urgency in getting to the end of the paper before the time is up, but I feel so guilty skimming over errors. I feel like reading over them means I'm saying, "Yup, this sentence is correct and perfect, that's why we're not stopping to talk about it." Actually, I had someone misinterpret this once already. We were reading through a seven page narrative just soaked in grammar issues. I began the session moving much too slowly, explaining some grammar problems, figuring pointing them out early would help him catch the same issues by himself while we were reading. And it worked, he noticed So, while I was trying to get to the end of this thing, he kept stopping me, "Isn't that not right?" "Shouldn't this be this?" And he was absolutely right...and we stopped, and I congratulated him.
But I felt like I still had so much to say about the paper itself, and fixing these grammar issues got us nowhere if he was just going to be cutting huge sections or rewriting some in the end.
It wasn't a horrible paper. I think some of you had a chance to hear me read it aloud and it was actually very very descriptive, he had a talented way with words. The paper just needed some better direction and definitely needed some editing.
Friday's advice helped. I think personally asking, "What is your point?" and "Do you feel this paper clearly reflects this point?" would have helped me SO MUCH.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Who helps who? You can't really say.


Which type of papers are the hardest for me to tutor? The hardest papers to tutor are the papers that make me think HOLY CRAP, as I start reading them. Holy crap is the dumb-founded response I think or say in any situation. This reaction pertains to my tutoring experience because at this stage in the game, regardless of the paper’s quality, my response is ALWAYS the same… HOLY CRAP!

I guess this means I am not experienced enough to appreciate reading any paper, let alone a well written one. After just a week of tutoring I have had the opportunity to read some very good papers. These papers have been easy to read, the students have been easy to talk with, yet I still haven’t been able to shake off my dumb-founded internal response to tutoring. Likewise, while papers having a few more problems haven’t been as easy to read, these students have been just as easy to talk to. So why do I still feel this way? Why do I still have this initial response in every session? Could it be that no matter how the paper is written, tutoring is just plain challenging?

In a way, I am pretty sure this challenge will become my favorite part of tutoring. Someday soon, I hope to be excited by the anticipation of the unknown, which in this case will be reading several papers written on unimaginable topics. When at last the challenge of my task yields excitement, I hope to finally dump my dumb-founded “holy crap” response. For now, until I get a better bearing on tutoring, reading over routine, small and simple writing assignments sounds great to me!

I just really realized this week that a lot of people struggle with writing. Seriously. Why it took me so long to understand this, I may never know. I mean this very sincerely and I really feel bad because I was so unaware. My mom compared my epiphany to the feeling a rich person has after volunteering at a homeless shelter. I don’t know why I have never had a challenge putting words to paper, while some see writing as an impossible task. I do know, however, that I want to help the students who come to the writing center, regardless of the state of their paper. I want to be happy reading any type of paper that sits in front of me. I want to get past the shock or fear or whatever it is, and help students achieve their intended purpose through their writing.