Friday, December 14, 2012

Quotes, Notes, and Change; Dec 2 Prompt

Quotes, Notes, and Change
The one thing I wish I had known at the beginning of the semester that I know now is I should have brought a separate notebook to write down all the amazing quotes that Dr. Rogers speaks in class. While I did write them down in my classroom notes, some still escaped from my pen. The two be quotes that I wrote down, after realizing that Dr Rogers is a fount of metaphors and similes, would have to be, “English is the language that roughs up other languages in the alley, then searches their pockets for loose grammar principles,” and, this is a paraphrase since I forgot to write it down, “It was like a grammatical Escher drawing.” I could only hope to take another class from Dr. Rogers so I can rectify my failure to write down his random, hilarious quotes.

The advice I would give to all new tutors coming in next year is simply: Be open minded and be willing to change. There have been several times this semester that my own paradigms and schemas have been challenged and changed for the better. The tutors, instructors, office assistants, and professors with which we tutors interact are an infinite source of knowledge and perspectives. They all offer unique perspectives that will be crucial to your experience as a tutor.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda; Nov 25 Prompt

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Tutoring in the Writing Center has definitely affected my other schoolwork. A plethora of examples comes to my mind, the first example being the use of contractions in papers. Before this semester, I used contractions all the time in my essays. No one had ever told me that I should not use them. Actually, I take that back. No one ever explicitly told, as much as I can remember, not to use contractions, but most of the time I tried to stay away from them.

Another example I can think of is ending a sentence in a preposition. Unlike contractions, I was told never to end a sentence with a preposition. I had a hard time accepting that principle, but I soon worked to adopt it. While it is not an emphatic rule not to end a sentence with a preposition, it has helped me be more aware of my writing and my use of prepositions. In one of my English classes, we watched a video Revising Prose, which really helped me understand the need to limit prepositions, or at least use prepositions effectively instead of throwing them all over the paper, hiding my meaning.

Along with prepositions and contractions, the use of commas was reemphasized to me this semester from tutoring. While I had a pretty firm grasp of comma rules, there were a few that I was unsure of. However, this semester, teaching the workshops and tutoring students, has really solidified the comma rules in my mind. I will admit this much, there are some that I do not follow all the time, but usually that is for semantic issues or I am trying to force my audience to read a particular sentence the way I want it read instead of how they would read it. Perhaps I just enjoy pushing people around. 

Turkey and Birthday...Pie?; Nov 12 Prompt

Turkey and Birthday…Pie?
Since Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I am writing this blog at the end of the semester, being the wonderful procrastinator that I am, I will simply write what I did for Thanksgiving this year.

My mother’s brother and father came out from Colorado to spend the holiday with her and my family. I had not seen my uncle in several years, and I had not seen my grandpa since Christmas 2010, so it was really nice to have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.

The Thanksgiving holiday holds a little more for me personally because my birthday usually falls on the same week. This year, my birthday happened to fall on Black Friday, the 23rd, and it was not just any birthday, but it was my thirtieth birthday. I was really grateful for the chance I had to celebrate Thanksgiving and my thirtieth birthday with my uncle and grandpa in addition to my family. 

Cultural Exposure; Nov. 3 Prompt

Cultural Exposure
While I think it is important to keep another student’s personal background in mind, part of being in a different culture is absorbing that culture’s beliefs. Sometimes, that’s not always possible or even encouraged because that student will return to their native culture after a certain period of time.

Each culture has its own particular quirks that foreigners might not understand or even agree with. The example given in the prompt of sexism is a common problem among other cultures. American culture, in particular, is the least sexist culture in the world. That is not to say Americans are not sexist; there are a great deal of sexists and bigots in this country. However, in other countries, women are not even considered first class citizens.

With regards to the questions about racism of a Sourtherner being tutored by a black student, they have every right to ask to be tutored by a white student. Do I agree with their decision to be tutored by a white student than a black student? No, and I am sure that the student understands that the people who surround him here at WSU do not share his racist beliefs.

Perhaps it is the personal I am, but I try not to judge others for their opinions, even if their views are sexist or racist because, as far as they are probably concerned, I am the one with the lack of judgment or incorrect belief.

Each person has their own unique culture that has shaped who they are. Even in the US, there are countless milieus that often conflict with others. If we all believed and supported the same ideals, then we would not be able to fully develop. Without the bad, we would not know the good.

Comp Stomp Oct 21 Prompt

Comp Stomp
While I did not attend WSU for my undergrad, I did attend a composition course at a different university. What I find mostly disheartening about my compositional class is that I really have to strain to remember the class. Luckily, I do still have my papers that I wrote for that class.

From the papers that I do have, I can see what the professor of my class was trying to do. The coursework was very similar to English 955 and 1010. We wrote a personal narrative/memoir for ourselves, a memoir of someone else, responses to assigned articles, and several summaries.

In class, we would talk about some small grammar mistakes common to freshman college students. Sometimes we would do in-class writing exercises. While I do not have any particular knowledge regarding the purposes of the assignments given in the course, I speculate that the intention of the professor was to teach his students some common, every day, writing skills.

Since not all students taking a freshman English class are English majors, I would imagine that the assignments were geared more toward teaching students how to function on a college level for writing letters, stories, or other typical formats that anyone will use throughout their life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Different Kinds of Writing

Prompt 9/30/2012 (Week 6):

How did you learn how to write the kinds of essays/papers expected of you at the
university (argumentative, researched, analytical, etc.)? Did you come here more or less
knowing how to do it? Was there a learning curve?

The only way that I have learned to write different types of essays is by reading different types of essays. Growing up, I have noticed that my mom has always been a big fan of magazines. Particularly, National Geographic. When you’re a kid, you look at National Geographic for the tiger pictures and not so much for the walls of text in between the tiger pictures. But when you get to be a bit older, those walls of text turn into fascinating stories about people from India, the millions of breeds of orchids, the dust bowl, and vaccines. I think that I’ve learned more about how to write a good essay from National Geographic than from any other source.

National Geographic isn’t the only literature we had in the house. Even from a young age, it was easy to pick up on the different tones from all the different sources of text. I could tell that the books that were written for my age group sounded different than the local newspaper. I think that this is where I first started to differentiate, for example, between an analytical text and an argumentative text. But I certainly did not come to the university knowing how to write this way. I have had to try my hand at the different types and fail before I felt confident in knowing how to write that way.

The learning curve wasn’t too bad because I’ve always enjoyed writing for the sake of writing. I love putting words on paper or putting ideas on the screen. I love learning how to write something new. I expect that my college career will involve learning how to become a well-rounded writer and I look forward to it.

I Had an Electronic Dictionary in 5th Grade

Prompt 10/15/2012 (Week 8):

So what kind of wacky grammar rules were you taught?

It wasn’t so much that I was taught wacky grammar rules, it’s that I feel I was undertaught. When you’re a kid, you soak up information at a ridiculous rate. I wish that the rules and guidelines i had been taught were adequately explained. I realize, now that I am a writing tutor, how insane this is. The rules in English are more difficult to navigate than a labyrinth. However, I feel that there were serious gaps in my knowledge. Why did it take 20 years for someone to finally explain how to use a semicolon? And who decided to put the semicolon key on the home row of the keyboard? Someone has some explaining to do..

I wish that someone would explain why the letter Y is only sometimes a vowel, and why I should care that it is only sometimes a vowel. Or how the prepositions in English work at all. I think it would be useful to give some explanation as to what an “article” is in English or how they work. I remember being a kid in elementary school who was known for having an impressive vocabulary for a fifth grader. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I also possessed an electronic dictionary, a trend that I maintain today by keeping the dictionary app on my phone. I was always asked by my fellow nine year olds to define tricky words using this handheld device. The only time my pocket dictionary actually gained me popularity was during vocabulary assignments where our only alternative was to manually look them up in the pages of the big dictionaries.

I don’t think that I was necessarily taught wacky grammar rules. I was just given a poorly defined list of them and not told how they properly worked. You know, education.

ENGL 2010

Prompt 10/21/2012 (Week 9):

If you took a Composition course (ENGL 1010 or 2010 or whatever), what was it like?
What kinds of papers did you write? What was the day-to-day classroom experience
like? If you didn't take Composition, what have you heard about the course?

More importantly, why do you think the course was taught the way it was?

I was able to test out of taking ENGL 1010, so I jumped right to ENGL 2010. It was my second semester at WSU, and I took the class from Steven Shurtleff. This professor, for the majority of you that have never heard of him, is sort of an odd person in general. He’s incredibly smart, with a degree in Ancient Language or something, and only teaches ENGL 2010 at Weber State. He teaches through lecture, and we covered a lot of difficult to broach subjects in that class.

We had three essays to turn in. They were required to be our best work, and so I spent more time on those essays than I had for any essay up to that point. It didn’t occur to me to go to the writing center for help as a freshman, though I wish that I had. I remember feeling proud of the A that I earned in that class. He never returned my final essay and I’ve always wanted to know what his comments were on it. The skills that I learned while writing those essays have remained useful for every other essay that I’ve written since then.

I think that the course was taught the way it was because he was trying to foster critical thinking and discussion. Unfortunately, we had a real lack of discussion in that class. I felt many times like I was the only one who had questions. The course was effective in that I felt that my views and thoughts were actually being challenged and expanded.  It was a nice change from high school. Some of the lectures were really depressing, others gave me hope. And at the end of the class, I felt like I left a better and more considerate person.

I can’t remember specific lectures, but I can remember times where I wished I could teach and inspire with the same intensity, and that has stayed with me.

Fake Your Way to Happy

Prompt 10/28/2012 (Week 10):

Have you had any experience with students who were reluctant or resistant to being
tutored? How did you deal with it?

As fascinating as this subject is, I found a much more difficult problem just the other day. What do you do when you find that both you and the student are reluctant in the session? Do you throw your hands up in the air in mild irritation, sign their brown slip, and send them out the door? I doubt that I would get a promotion at work with an attitude like that. I think that the answer resides in the wonderful method of faking it.

Seriously, being able to fake excitement comes in handy. Some situations, like spending several hours with my anxious sister and her incredibly anxious husband, make me feel like I would rather read an entire lecture about the finer points of existential presupposition in linguistics than grit my teeth through another round of questioning about my dating and educational status. Especially since the aforementioned incredibly anxious husband has a low opinion on English degrees in general. I find that in situations like these, it’s better to fake my excitement. By perfecting the art of acting interested, I have been able to trick my brain into thinking that things are more pleasant than they really are.

How does this apply to tutoring? Well, there are going to be times where you and the student across from you would rather be anywhere but exactly where you both currently are. This is when you deploy the mask of fake enthusiasm. Find any little reason to enjoy the session. Pretend to be interested in going over essay structure for the fifth time that day. Laugh over how ridiculous the rules of English are. Smile at them and make eye contact. By going through the motions of acting happy, your brain will actually become more happy. Time will seem to pass more rapidly, and before you know it, you are done with the session and it wasn’t too painful.

Teach Respect by Showing Respect

Prompt 11/03/2012 (Week 11):

I would really like to continue the discussion that we grappled with a bit on
Wednesday. Two of you pointed out that there is an inconsistency in the way we treat
international students' expectations of women and the way we might treat sexism or

I keep thinking about this in terms of the South. Would a Southerner from the
segregated South studying abroad in, say, England, have had his discomfort being
tutored by a black student accommodated? Respected? Is respecting a foreign student's
discomfort being tutored by a woman any different? Where do we draw the line in
respecting cultural values and morals?

I think that the best way to approach this is to remember to treat everyone with love and respect, no matter what. It’s not in our control to force others to see things our way. We are going to meet sexist or racist people who are going to say sexist and racist things. We don’t have to laugh or encourage that behavior. We don’t have to tolerate the behavior or promote it in any way. But we still need to love and respect the individual.

When I think about the times where I have experienced the most growth, it was with people who I felt I could trust and look up to. I feel that it is our duty to provide an environment where students can grow in a positive direction. If a foreign student with sexist opinions sees how we treat the women in our workplace with respect and honor, then we set a good example for them to follow. They will be watching, paying attention, looking at the way our society is different than the one back home. It’s our job to be good role models.

It’s not our job to make sure that each racist, bigot, and sexist has a healthy dose of perspective by the time they leave the writing center. Chances are that they are too embarrassed about their grievous misuse of the innocent comma to talk about their views on women’s rights. Bringing up sensitive subjects with someone who already feels defensive is a bad idea. Again, the best strategy is to lead by example. You can show respect to any individual without endangering your own self respect. I feel that any other strategy is going to result in a less inviting and professional environment at Weber State.

8 Steps to Thanksgiving

Prompt 11/12/2012 (Week 12):

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Here are my plans for Thanksgiving in an easy to follow 8-step program.

Step 1: Find yourself a family to mooch off of. No one wants to actually cook Thanksgiving (except for those weird culinary people) so what you need to do is find a home that is already planning on cooking it. Preferably your parents. It’s the holidays and they won’t be able to resist letting you stay with them for a few days, right? Perfect.

Step 2: Be needlessly enthusiastic about whatever new twist your parents have come up with for this season. Are you watching America’s Next Top Model instead of football? Sounds great! When’s dinner?

Step 3: Play with the family dog. Chances are that Seymour is going to be a little neglected with all the comings and goings of the rest of the family. Make sure that the family dog is happy and you’ll be happy. Also, if Aunt Rosie is asking, for the third time, about that cute friend that you went bowling with that one weekend and posted pictures to Facebook, Seymour will be there to distract everyone with his lovable antics. Good boy, Seymour!


Step 5: If you paid attention to Step 5, great! It’s dinner time! Chow down on all the delicious food and beverage. This may be the last time you eat this semester, so make it a good one.

Step 6: While everyone else is in a tryptophan induced stupor, quickly bag and freeze leftovers for later. You won’t be cooking during finals week, that’s for sure.

Step 7: Either actually have a good time being with your siblings or pretend to have a good time being with your siblings. The pictures will look the same in five years.

Step 8: Get into an entirely too competitive Wii Sports contest with your 4-year old nephew. Try not to actually cry when he beats you in that cow racing game five times in a row. At least you can always beat the crap out of your brother-in-law at fencing. But try not to actually jab him with the remote in the ribs again. No one wants to relive the Easter of ‘11.

There you go! An easy to follow 8 step program, designed to aid anyone (or just me) through the holidays!

Climb the Steep Learning Curve

Prompt 12/02/2012 (Week 15):

So. Here we are at the end of the term. I have two related questions for you.

First: what do you wish you'd known now that you didn't know at the beginning of the

This semester has been full of things that I wish I had known at the beginning of the semester that I know now. For example, ESL sessions are some of the most rewarding and awesome sessions and you build close relationships with the repeat ESL students. Having a student greet me with a big smile when we pass in the halls is one of the coolest feelings that I’ve felt in a long time. It would have been useful if I had been able to run through a mock session with one of my co-workers before taking my first session with a student. I wish I had brushed up on my MLA and APA knowledge a little earlier in the semester. I still feel like formatting is something that I struggle with a little bit.

It was surprising how much I learned about English in such a short time. This job provided excellent on-the-job training for me and the atmosphere was finely tuned to help facilitate growth and learning. I was able to learn along with the rest of the new tutors. I didn’t feel like I was left behind at any point. I wish that I had learned all of the comma rules a bit earlier than I did.

Second: what advice do you have for the incoming tutors next year?

As far as giving general advice goes, I think that the most useful tip I have would be to just jump in head first. Learn as much as you can as fast as you can. Talking to the senior tutors about any concerns that I had was the best way for me to get over any fears I had. The senior tutors have seen almost everything at least once and were very good about giving me good advice. If you have any problems, go talk to Claire right away. She’s the best boss anyone could hope for and she has your best interests at heart. Trust Claire and things will work out.

For the class, don’t get left behind. Keep up to speed on the discussions and the assignments. Also, keep a short journal of your sessions. This will be an immense resource for you in the class. Knowing a few details about sessions that taught you something will make the rest of your assignments in class a lot easier. It will also show you how much you improve over the first semester.

Being a good tutor won't automatically make you a great student, but it helps

Prompt 11/25/2012 (Week 13):

How has your experience tutoring affected your other schoolwork? 

I think that this job has already changed the way my brain works. Over this semester, I’ve noticed a  definite change to the way I read essays. For example, I have developed the startling new skill of being able to read out loud the first half of an essay and realize that I have no idea what I’m saying or reading. I have to actively stop after each paragraph and summarize what that paragraph is doing before my I start to put it together. I mistakenly did a few sessions where I concentrated on fixing surface errors because it was the easy way out and now that is what my brain thinks that I am supposed to do in sessions from now on. I’m just going to have to play more attention to structure until I get back into the habit of multitasking.

This reminds me of my time on the swim team when I was in high school. As a swimmer, one of the hardest things to get into the habit of doing is flip turns. They are exhausting and tricky, but if you can learn them, you become a much better swimmer. Unfortunately, the only way to get good at flip turns is to do them every lap. If you get out of the habit of doing them, they become harder to do. You build poor muscle memory and then regret it at the swim meets. Paying too much attention to the surface errors in sessions is like skipping your turns in swim practice. If you keep doing it wrong, it becomes much harder to do it right.

As far as affecting my other school work goes, I think it’s been a good for me. For one of my generals, the professor was asking for very basic writing assignments. I would take the basic essay structure and turn in these mini essays, which were always longer than what she expected. This was amusing only because it would cause my fellow classmates to panic, thinking that they had left out some crucial part of the assignment. They hadn’t. It was just my incapability to write without structure, resulting in longer assignments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

20/20, As They Say

Hindsight is a funny thing. Its so easy to look back and say "I would have done that differently". When I was in debate in High School, the moment I sat down after a round I would look at the speech I gave and say: "Oh man! I should have changed X, or talked about Y longer," and etc. Despite the feelings of a job well done, I always look back and feel like I should have changed things, and this experience is no different.

I wish that I could change a lot of the things I did at the beginning, mostly. I should have helped students get involved more, should have handed them a pen to make their own marks, I should have handled that personal essay differently, should have explained better to that ESL student, and so on.

However, overall I feel satisfied. I feel like I helped people, that they learned. I feel proud of my accomplishments. I have seen students laugh, cry, avoid engaging, refuse to take my advice, and more. Each experience taught me something, and helped me to grow as both a person and a tutor. Working with so many different people has taught me how to ask questions, to be even more patient, how the learning process works, and what I can do to help others.

Also, it helps me look to the future, and know that I can do things differently. I cannot change what has already happened, but I can keep myself from making the same mistakes, and make new ones instead.

Where Do We Draw the Line?

The discussion we were having about accommodating students is a good one, but unfortunately I am feeling just as unsure about it as ever. We say its okay to accommodate Muslim students who are uncomfortable with being taught by a female tutor, but I don't think we would be nearly as accommodating if a white student came in and said that they didn't want to be tutored by someone of color. Both are discriminatory to me. One is denying someone because of their skin color, and another is denying someone due to their gender. Initially, it is as simple as that.

However, what about their culture. Do we really consider ourselves to be so evolved and "better" that we can look at other cultures and attempt to "smooth them over" and make them more like our own? We have little true understanding of other cultures, and do we really have any right to look at the things they practice and say that what their culture believes is wrong? Furthermore, is that something we have any right to say working in the Writing Center?

On the one hand, this is the United States. Employing the rights that we have down in our constitution is hardly wrong. It is a far cry from going to other countries and imposing our way of thinking on them (which, yes, we're still doing, but that's not relevant to what we're talking about). The students are living in this country while they are going to school, and it is ultimately not too much to ask that they abide by our laws.

Still, we don't want to seem like we are steamrolling over their culture. In the end, even though I have given this a lot of thought, I don't know where the line is, or what to truly feel about the subject.

Reluctant Tutors

Through my time as a tutor I have come across some students who are not only reluctant to be involved in the session, but sometimes downright resistant to it. Admittedly, most of my experience is mild, but it still does not make them any less frustrating, or less of an experience to learn from.

One of my first experiences was with a woman who came in looking to go over her one-page paper. She was coming here only because of her professor, and from the get-go was not happy about it. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted to go over, or anything she was worried about, she said: "No. My paper is fine. My professor's just giving extra credit for this. So,  just give it a quick once-over." I blinked at her and replied that I would do my best to help her out. I read the paper out loud, the woman drumming her fingers impatiently on the table the whole time. In the end, her paper truly didn't need much; overall there were just some punctuation errors. I pointed out that she had a few too many commas in one sentence, and she didn't say anything. "So, uh, do you want to mark that in?" I asked her, and she shook her head. Okay, I thought, if she can remember it its no big deal. However, in another sentence she needed a comma, and I explained why. This time, she was more verbal in her response. "I'm not adding that in." I was surprised and tried to explain why the comma was needed, grammatically speaking, but she still refused to change anything. After more attempts to get her to adjust some punctuation, I resigned myself to the fact that she wouldn't listen, and grabbed her the brown paper like she requested. On the paper, I wrote: Mostly we worked on punctuation. There are a few places where commas and the like could be added. She left in a huff, and didn't even thank me.

After that, the students I worked with, even the ones that were reluctant, were still at least generally more polite. It was a good lesson for me. Sometimes, no matter what you do, some students will just refuse to listen. However, I also knew that next time there would be things I would do differently, such as what I wrote on the brown paper, and the way I approached her about fixing mistakes in her paper.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

11/25- 12/2 Prompt: Cross-Pollination?

My experience as a tutor has significantly affected my other school work. Although I felt like the amount of writing for this class at times was excessive, my writing skills only improve through practice. While a year ago a five page paper seemed daunting and overwhelming, now I can sit down and write a ten page paper in a day or two plus editing time. I know this has come from writing so much and so frequently because having to spit a three page response out sometimes two times in one week makes a five page paper feel like nothing and a ten page paper seem very manageable.

When editing my own papers, I find myself missing some of the things I am telling students: transitions, “So What?,” connections to the thesis. I get frustrated that I miss the same things that I am using authority to tell students to do. However, I accept that I don’t spit out perfect papers any more than any other writer does, and I am taking the time to edit and catch these things. What I am improving on is realizing that I’m making these oversights. I (mostly) know when I have not made my point and when I have rocky transitions.

What I have been applying to my writing process are steps that we discuss in class. Although I did not realize it or purposely start doing so, I have started free writing to brainstorm and making outlines. I did not realize it because my outlines aren't numbered or lettered, but I am making outlines my writing down my main ideas and sub-points. My writing has vastly improved since then because I know where I’m starting and the points that I want to make. This is much easier than throwing all my ideas down in paragraphs that follow one another but lack any real organization. Although I do have to tear apart my essays and move parts around, it is much easier to start with structure than organize ideas that are haphazardly thrown together.

My thinking about myself as a student has changed because some of the mysteries of college have been cleared up. Before tutoring, I probably felt the same way as a lot of students—what’s the point of writing a paper. The answer I have is that a well constructed essay proves that you understand the material. That’s the simple answer. The deeper reason is that I’ve learned to think critically. The “So What” question is so simple and yet not at all. Taking my thinking a step further is not only going to benefit me in the class for which I am writing, but also in other classes and in real life. I may never write an essay after I graduate, but I have learned how to organize my thoughts, really question what I am thinking and information I am taking in, and pay attention to details. Plus, being an English major, a lot of my essays involve close readings of literature, which I hope to always do.

Response to "Hindsight and Advice"

I'm not entirely sure what I would have liked to know at the beginning of the semester that I now know. I think this is a good thing, though. I feel like the orientation and first few classes more than sufficiently prepared me to tutor.

I give incoming tutors a few pieces of advice. First, do not be intimidated by the workshops. The workshops really scared me at first, and I wasn't able to do a good job of teaching them until I overcame that fear and became comfortable teaching them. I would also advice new tutors to not be intimidated by the tutoring process or by students. I would tell new tutors to be confident in their abilities; there's a reason you got this job. Finally, I would advise new tutors to have fun with the job. I found helping students to be extremely rewarding, and it is really fun to see the variety of papers and thoughts. Sure, a lot of papers are pretty dull, but many are really interesting. I learned quite a bit about subjects unfamiliar to me just by reading through students' papers. In this way, both the student and the tutor are bettered through the tutoring experience.

Response to "Cross-Pollination"

Tutoring has absolutely changed the way I approach my other classes and schoolwork. It has also changed the way I perceive my teachers. Having had some minimal teaching experience in the form of the workshops, I now understand some of the "tricks" that teachers use to pry answers from their students. I now recognize some of my professors using these methods in my other classes. I think tutoring has helped me analyze how learning happens, and this has helped me identify how I learn. Furthermore, it has certainly improved my writing. I now know grammar rules and writing conventions better than I ever have. Overall, tutoring has had a significant impact on the way I approach my other classes and schoolwork, how I view my teachers, and it has improved my learning techniques and my writing skills.

Response to "Slacker Prompt"

For Thanksgiving, I ate dinner with my family at my grandparents' house. This is somewhat of a yearly tradition for my family. It is nice to have a day where everyone gets together. Some of my family I don't get to see very frequently, so it was nice to see them.

Prompt 10/29-11/4 Reluctant Students?

During this semester, I had a student come into the writing center with a lit review. He told me that his professor had already looked at the paper and told him that the only thing that he needed was a tutor to look the grammar. However, the student’s paper was not what it needed to be. It did not have an introduction or a conclusion, complete lacked transitions, and the clarity was way off. I knew, despite what he had told me, that there was no way his professor, who was a writing tutor, would give his stamp of approval to the “lit review” minus the grammar. When I started addressing some of the issues, the student started pushing back and arguing with me.
Although not the biggest issue, the grammar did need to be addressed along with the clarity because both were so off. I actually was having trouble understanding what he was trying to say at times. When I asked him if he could make a point clearer, he would say, “Well it makes sense to me.” When I tried to explain that it also needs to make sense to his audience because that is who the paper is for, he just looked at me, waiting for me to move on. Unless there were actual grammatical issues like a missing noun or verb, which happened frequently, he completely disregarded every suggestion.
Because he was not listening to me, I decided to stop tutoring and be straightforward with him. I essentially told him that I was not his professor, but I was a peer tutor there to help him. He could take my advice or he could completely ignore everything I said, but I was giving him honest suggestions I felt would improve his paper. Take it or leave it, I just wanted to help him. After that, he started taking more of my suggestions, especially when we discussed organization and the normal format of a lit review.
We discussed the structure of his lit review because the paper completely lacked an introduction, and the first paragraph felt like it was jumping right into the middle of a summary. The student then went into making connections with the readings. However, the connections relied on the analysis, but the analysis part of his paper came after the connections. I tried to explain to him that the connections generally go after the discussion, and when they come first in the paper, I, as a reader, am confused about the points he was making because I am missing information. He seemed to understand this after we talked about it (which was technically the second time because he wasn’t listening the first time) and actually sounded like he was going to take some of my advice.
This may have been the most difficult session I have ever had because of the student’s reluctance to put any value into the advice I was giving him. I’ve never been treated so disrespectfully in a session even when I’ve tutored students who are pissed off about something. His smug attitude was almost condescending when all I was trying to do was help him. However, instead of letting my frustration show, I collected my thoughts and explained to him why I was trying to help him. I also tried to remove any sense of authority I might have so that he could relax and respond to my advice as just that: advice, not telling him what to door demanding that he do what I tell him to do and destroy the paper his professor had already okayed. I wouldn’t handle every reluctant student this way, but I believe how I handled it was very effective, especially after hearing other tutor’s experiences with the same student. The fact that he at least acted like he cared what I said was an improvement.

11/11-11/18 Slacker Prompt! Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, I went to St. George with my parents. We had our Thanksgiving dinner with my dad’s mom and his six sisters and their families. I also snuck away from my dad’s side of the family to see a couple of cousins on my mom’s side who also live in St. George because they're much cooler than my dad's side.