Monday, October 14, 2013


Hello, blog!
Once again, I have no idea what to talk about. What’s on my mind is something that I do not think that this blog needs to know about, so I will talk about something else.
This week is evaluation week…dun, dun, dun (onomatopoeia for“Surprise! Something bad just happened.”) For one week out of the semester, every student that comes into the Writing Center gets to fill out an evaluation of the tutor that helped work on his or her paper. That is a little scary. I do not really like having someone else, especially a peer, “grading” me, maybe even judging me. I do not like that aspect of evaluation.
However, there are some very good parts of being evaluated as well. The best and, in my opinion, the most important, is the fact that we get to learn from other people about how we can improve ourselves professionally. The evaluation asks questions about our friendliness as well as questions about our style as tutors. Did the student feel like he or she was helped? Did the student feel greeted in a professional, yet pleasant, way? And on and on it goes.
I think that if I were a student coming into the Writing Center and the office assistant asked me to fill out this survey, I would probably respond, “Ok, whatever,” but in my mind I would be thinking, “Good God, another survey??!!”  How accurate are the evaluations that are filled out? Are they biased? Did the student even take the appropriate amount of time to fill out the evaluation and truly think about what was put down? If I were in their shoes, I do not think that I would take the time to really fill out the evaluations to the best of my ability. However, it’s one of our only ways to get an idea about what students really think about us tutors. Valid or not, at least it gives us a general direction to look to for improvement.
Based on the three sessions that I have taken so far today, is there anything specifically that I have noticed that I may need to work on for myself? After placing myself in the students’ shoes, perhaps I need to work on the overall focus of the paper a little more. I talk a lot about using what I know rather than paying close attention to content, but I am starting to change my opinion. If I do not pay attention to the content of the paper, how am I supposed to be able to effectively look at the overall theme and evaluate what needs to be modified regarding the thesis, introduction, and conclusion? Sometimes I like to go through the paper paragraph by paragraph and label each section, especially if the student specifically asks me about organization issues. However, I still find myself reading through a paper, getting to the conclusion, and realizing that I have not paid any attention to what the paper is about. This is a problem.
Evaluations can be good or bad, it just depends on how you look at it.


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