Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tutoring Rant

I was recruited to enroll in a class called “Issues and Methods in Writing Consultancy”, and I decided to participate, mainly as an opportunity to hone my tutoring skills, earn a stipend and make an attractive grad school candidate. I was encouraged by my internship professor, and when they said, “It’ll help you improve your own writing,” my self-serving mechanism really kicked in. The whole idea grabbed me by my ego. Somehow I began doing well; I received an ‘A’ for midterm, but I’m not sure how. The assignments seem scattered, mostly our own personal thoughts of what we are learning so far. But, because this is my schools’ inaugural writing center, we’ve focused a lot on how to build this writing studio for students to come seeking guidance for their writing.

A writing center, mind you, is not a proofreading, “check-my-paper-for-errors-and-I’ll-be-back-to-pick-it-up-in-an-hour” kind of drop off place. It is a place where writers, campus wide, can get someone to sort of collaborate with them and help them organize their ideas, help them create a process for themselves; help them be more creative, no matter what kind of writer they are. But, after checking out a few writing centers at other schools, like Emory University, establishing a writing center takes more than an idealistic rhet and comp professor and a few green students hoping to comp an internship. And, with all the articles and essays that’s been thrown at me about the challenges of tutoring ESL students, and students-over- thirty, reluctant students, and students with papers about why men are simply better than women or why God don’t like gay people, we’ve not read one thing about how to open a writing center.

So, HELP! Help, I say! If anyone out there has any information, a book, an article about the challenges of establishing a writing center for a university, please, please hep’ a sistah out.



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