Friday, September 06, 2013

On Nervousness

Preston Carter

When tutoring, I get especially nervous that a student’s instructor might not agree with the way that I am teaching their student to write.  It is somewhat unreasonable. Still, I worry that a professor might grade a student badly based on some advice I give them, whether I have actually given bad information or my own preferential advice. The fear aides my tutoring in that it makes me ask more experienced tutors for their advice more often and check my own information. But, it also makes me overly cautious for I fear that I might be responsible for misinforming a student or even for giving preferential guidance that a particular instructor is not happy with.

One thing that others seem to be nervous about is that they have forgotten much of their tutoring and English techniques and rules over the summer break. I was nervous about this, but I quickly remembered most of my previous training from my internship on my first days back working in the writing center. I was nervous at the start, but it all came back quickly. I’m sure that part of it was the classes that I was enrolled in over the summer which gave me some review of grammar and syntax concepts and introduction to new concepts in English.

Another post that resonated with me was the poster who talked about a writer’s overestimation of his/herself. I have always thought that I wrote pretty well. Well, let me be truthful, I always thought I wrote extremely well. I have always enjoyed writing; it is my favorite way to express any idea. I prefer writing over talking. And I have always been told that my writing is superb. But, when I started attending WSU, I quickly realized that my writing has problems, loads of problems. I learned that all of those high school teachers who told me that my writing was great were overlooking mistakes or ignoring them to build my self-esteem. Since I learned this, I have wanted to improve my own writing and understanding of writing. Overall, I think this is a fear that we all must have to improve any skill. There is always something that needs work, and it also makes a great place to relate to frustrated students experiencing the same shock and coming to the Writing Center for some help.

One last thing that I am fearful about, less so than everything else, is the brown slips which I always feel that I have not written enough on. This also relates to the instructor who I feel might not be satisfied with what I covered in the session. I worry that maybe I did not write enough on the brown slip or maybe that I really just did not cover enough of the paper during our session. Every time I hit that point, I have the urge to start searching for more things to talk about, but by then the session is over, and all I can do is think it over. Maybe this is because I don’t know exactly what I should write on the brown slip or maybe it is because I have an unreasoned fear of the professor’s scrutiny on students whom I feel partly responsible for.


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