Saturday, December 08, 2012

What I Wish I'd Known and Advice for New Tutors

What do I know now that I wish I'd known at the beginning of the semester?  I'm not sure, exactly.  I think most of what I know must be obtained through experience.  I guess what I think new tutors should know is that they'll come to know a lot by working in the Writing Center.

There are several bits of advice that I'd like to give out:

1) Be compassionate toward the students you tutor.  Many of them are keenly aware of the fact that they need help.  Seeking help can be an act of bravery.  Students deserve not only your assistance but also your respect.

2) Tutoring ESL students can be extremely draining, so be sure to pace yourself, take an extra breath when necessary, and be aware of your limitations.

3) Study the workshops.  Memorize the material.  Practice it.  Understanding and being able to communicate this material will not only help you when you're managing a workshop but also in most ENGL 955 and ESL tutoring sessions (and many more).

4) Keep your ears and eyes open while you tutor--not just to catch grammar mistakes in papers and problematic thinking patterns in students you tutor, but also to catch the precious gems of knowledge and insight that each of them has.  You can learn a lot from what they have to say and share.

Working in the Writing Center is a learning opportunity for tutors at least as much as for the students we tutor.


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