Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Session

My first tutoring session went well. The student brought in a personal narrative paper for his English 1010 class. The narrative was about a recent trip he took to visit his father in Virginia, but got stuck in Vegas after missing his connecting flight.

When the student came into the writing center, and I took the session, I felt a bit of a "jumping in" feeling. Prepared or not (luckily I was), I was ready and eager to take the session. Fortunately, the student's paper made for a great first session. His writing skills were very "middle of the road," and I was glad for this. There was enough in the paper to talk about, but not so much that I felt overwhelmed.

The student's primary struggle was with "clunky" sentences. Often times, he tried to pack too much information into already long, wordy sentences. To address this, I advised him to try to "slow" his writing down; he had many great ideas but did not take the time (or space) to properly express them. We split up many of these over-packed sentences into two or three. Splitting up the sentences worked to resolve the problem in nearly every instance.

The student was very receptive to the input I provided. I could tell he was at the Writing Center with the intention of improving his writing, and not just by his teacher's. We had a very open dialogue about the areas we worked on, and we were able to make some very positive changes to his paper. I was glad that I avoided simply giving him any of the answers. It was fairly easy to guide him to the answers and let him discover them on his own.

I would say my first session went just how I would have hoped. The student was very receptive and encouraging of my input. His involvement made it easy for me to not talk too much. What I would like to take from the session is the idea that many students truly want to improve their writing. Certainly, I do not expect every student to fulfill this ideal mold, but I would like to think that many will.


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