Tuesday, March 3, 2009
This morning, while driving to campus in my usual state of rage and impatience, and I began to reflect on my tutoring experiences (random, I know). Being already unhappy because I was in the car driving through Oakland County (worst place to drive, I swear), I began thinking of difficult tutoring sessions. I found that usually, when students resist, there are ways to get them to "give in" or in some cases, just try as hard as possible to get them help, whether they want it or not. But, and this hasn't happened in a while, there are times when it's not merely a matter of getting the student to "give in" but also saving the face of the Writing Center itself. Gasp! Whatever could I mean? Well it has to do with tutoring styles. I found that sometimes the hardest students to work with are those who have worked with previous tutors at the Writing Center and expect me to work the exact same way as the previous tutor did. When I politely refuse and attempt to handle the session how I usually do, the student sometimes begins to resist me and my tutoring style. I know that we are supposed to be flexible, depending on the student, but in this situation, it is hard to give in. Mostly, this happened to me last summer. Students would come in and expect me to take complete control of their paper, writing on it and reading it. Sometimes, and we've all had this happen, they would use the Internet, text, or, and this only happened once, try to get up and go do something else while I "checked" their paper. So, while each tutor handles each session differently, I think the real issue here is saving the face of the Writing Center. A situation like this may cause the student to not return, or even tell others that the Writing Center is not "worth it." Students may see us as inconsistent in our help, which is something we are trying to remedy through great sessions like Genevieve's APA session a few weeks ago. But I wonder, is there anything we can do to keep students from feeling this way, in this regard? I know that many of us took the RHT320 (is it still RHT?), but we all still work in different ways. One idea that might work is to have more sessions from individual tutors, on tutoring styles. I think that each of our styles is unique and that no one style is wrong, but instead if we had individual sessions, maybe with lunch again (hint hint), then we can learn new tips, brush up on our own methods, and continue to improve the Writing Center so that we have less instances of students feeling that the Writing Center is inconsistent with it's help.
Posted by Renée at 10:21 AM