Sunday, December 01, 2013

Blog 13: PSA

For the students who decide to be tutors next year, I would advise them five things in order to make it.
1.       Do not be normal. If someone normal were to apply to be a tutor, they would run the other way. All of us have something unique to bring to the table. Whether it is our quirkiness, creative genius, or strange, philosophical way of looking at the world, it makes the Writing Center staff special. I remember a student commenting how she was grateful to meet me because I was another anime and Pokémon lover, and this made her open up and feel more comfortable being tutored because it is such a warm and relaxing environment.
2.       Let it go. I learned the hard way that my uptight, perfectionist nature would drive me crazy working here. Things never went my way or anywhere near the way I planned them, so I learned to roll with the punches. You learn to be flexible and a team player. There may be times where Claire is having a “moment,” a tutee maybe acting annoying, or a coworker may call out sick, and the slack needs to be made up. Having everyone’s back and being supportive of peers, colleagues, and higher ups is important here. Love the job. Yes, it sounds very cliché, but it is a necessity. If you hate tutoring, it is very obvious and reflective in your work. It is not necessary to be an Early Childhood major like me and love to teach, but it is important to love to help people, to be patient, and to be open and understanding to others’ individual and cultural differences.
3.       Also, be open to criticism. As a tutor, you are always being observed, assessed, and given feedback about your performance, and it will not just be by Claire. Students will have a chance to have a go at you. The other tutors will offer you advice, feedback, and words of encouragement or criticism. Other staff and faculty members will criticize you, as well. Their students report back to them about the help they receive from the Writing Center. Whether it is positive or negative, all criticism is a part of growth.
4.       Be prepared to learn about yourself as a student and staff member. The Strengths Quest, learning styles, and other forms of assessments will be given to take, so you learn to understand your behaviors, attitudes, and styles toward many different aspects of your life. It truly helped me become a better student, employee, and educator, so it is worth it.
5.       Lastly, be a hard worker and selfless. It is okay to take a break sometime; it is honestly needed after some sessions or personal life crisis. But, do not try and get out of taking a session or avoiding a certain student just because you are “not in the mood” or a certain student is “annoying” or “difficult.” All that may be true, but we have a job to do. We are paid to help other people improve their writing abilities and sometimes their lives. Learning to become better writers may be the difference between them getting the scholarship of their dreams or repeating a class over again. Be their advocate. Someone was once yours.


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