Monday, December 02, 2013

The Last Blog (Blog 13)

My advice would have to be twofold: what advice could I give to next year’s tutors and next year’s teaching assistants.

            Tutors: Don’t be discouraged! I had little to no tutoring experience in composition when I first started at the writing center. While I had experience content tutoring for upper division English courses at my undergraduate school, I was unfamiliar with how to educate students on basic essay composition. As an English student, I felt that my ability write essays started at the high school level and gave me the necessary foundation to adapt it throughout my college experience. The class is helpful; the observations are more helpful. While learning about tutoring pedagogy and crisis management can give you a nice toolbox, there is nothing more helpful than watching the master tutors in action and adopting their techniques for yourself. Please do the reading! There isn’t that much in course and all of it is helpful in one way or another. Even if it doesn’t seem helpful on the surface, it is helpful when discussed in class with Dr. Rogers and Claire. Ask them questions! Don’t be afraid to send them an email or visit Claire in her office. They are full of knowledge and experience – use them!

            TAs: This semester will not be what you expect. When I first started at the Writing Center, I felt that it was a waste of my time. How is tutoring going to help me in the classroom? It helps, oh my goodness does it help. No matter what kind of institution you are coming from, working in the writing center gives you invaluable insight into the kinds of students and writing you are going to face in the English 1010 classroom. When I first came from CLU, I assumed that Weber State students were going to be almost exactly the same as those I had worked with before. This is not true. Weber State is a different animal; you need to prepare yourself for it. Consider working in the writing center and taking 5840 as boot camp. You gain the necessary skill set to go into the classroom with confidence. The extra reading you will do is also worth it. The pedagogical tools are great insight for those who, like me, had no prior teaching experience. Yes, there is a lot of writing. Yes, there are a lot of personal responses. Yes, you will tire of the blog posts at times. Do them anyways. Not only are you graded on them, you will realize about ¾ of the way through the semester that they taught you things that have enhanced your ability to tutor, teach, and connect with students. In any case, embrace this opportunity. While it may seem frustrating at the beginning, it will all be worth it when you leap into the classroom for the first time. Weber State knows that their TAs need training. And, while many schools barely even allow their TA to speak in the classroom, they give you an opportunity to gain real world experience that you can use in your future career. Just get through this semester and you’ll see what I mean. 


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