Saturday, February 15, 2014

Everyday Thoughts From the Writing Center: We Learn As We Go

I would be lying if I said I knew absolutely everything about writing. I think many people have a misconception of writing tutors being fairy god mothers who will just wave a magic wand to correct the paper without any visible effort. This idea is completely false. Being a writing tutor takes a lot of effort, not only by trying to assist a student on his or her paper, but also by trying to learn new and different material on a regular basis. We do not know everything and we are often alongside the student learning WITH them, rather than just telling them how to correct it. I have seen this apparent in my own time in the Writing Center.

Last semester, I had the chance to work with a nontraditional student who was in the Nursing Program. She came in to get help with an assignment that was supposed to be in APA style. It was an assignment that had been returned with an incomplete grade because her professor was very strict on citation. I was really nervous at first, because I myself was not that comfortable working with APA and knew she would need a lot of help to get a full grade on the assignment. I told her I was not very familiar with APA, but she and I could work together to figure it out. The first session we did together lasted the full one hour, and we did not even get to cover three full sources. I was worried after the first session she would not return, because I did not feel like I helped her that much. However, she returned a few days later, not for a specific assignment but just to learn more about how do to APA citation. Over the next couple of weeks she probably came in a total of four times solely to work on learning APA style. I knew the sessions were not only benefiting her, but they were also extremely beneficial for me because I was learning a style that I was not comfortable with. After working with her, I felt much more comfortable working with an APA paper; I no longer cringe with I see “John Smith-APA style” on the schedule. I now feel comfortable addressing APA papers. Even if I still have to refer back to the book sometimes, it is still not as frequently as I did before
-Kaitlyn Daignault

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