Monday, December 10, 2012

Hindsight is always 20/20

Ok so here it goes, the last blog post of the semester!

What I wish I would have known- 1) You have resources! I went into this job thinking that I would need to know the answer to every question that students asked. I wish I would have known that I always could use the manuals and books, as well as ask fellow tutors if I didn't immediately know how to respond to the student. Knowing I had these resources so readily available to me would have really taken a lot of stress off of my first couple of sessions. 2) Some sessions are going to be less productive than others, and that is okay. I don't think I really understood until just recently that you can't always have a fantastic session. I used to think if my session felt weird it was solely because I wasn't doing a good job as a tutor, but now I understand that there are so many factors that can affect the productivity and success of a session. Sometimes the tutee is just not willing to make changes or participate in a session, and sometimes the pairing of tutee to tutor is just a little strange. I try not to feel bad anymore when I have one of these less productive sessions, because I know that all I can do is try my best and hope that the student perhaps learned something. 3) The 2 weeks right before Finals are ROUGH. I have now survived two round of the crazy right before finals rush, but if I would have known how busy we would be during these times I wouldn't have taken the job. Just kidding! I really would have just tried to stock up on good sleep, bring some tylenol with me to work, drink lots of water, and mentally prepare before coming in to work on those days.

My advice to new tutors- 1 ) You don't have to have a perfect knowledge of English to be a good tutor. It is okay if you are a little rusty on the comma rules, if you can't remember the differences between APA and MLA format, or if you have no clue when to use a semicolon. Tutoring isn't about "fixing" a student's paper, it is about helping the student to learn and progress as a writer. Don't think that it is your job to send the student away with a flawless or perfect paper because no such thing exists! As long as you are helping the student to improve upon what they have written then you are on the right track. 2) Don't be prideful about asking questions. If you don't know something, don't just guess so that the student thinks you are smart, look up the answer. Whether this means searching through the manual or having to ask one of the more experienced tutors your question, you need to let your pride go and focus on helping the student. 3) Do your part. There is always work to be done at the writing center. Be willing to jump up and take a session without being asked, join a committee, wipe down tables, fill whatever hole needs filling. I'm not saying that you have to be going 100 mph your whole shift, I am just saying that you should be aware of opportunities to help both students and the other tutors. 4) Last but not least, don't be scared! As long as you are trying your best and are willing to learn then you will have great success as a tutor.


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