First and foremost welcome to a very rewarding job, and congratulations on being hired. I am a writing tutor for Writing 2 and Writing Across the Disciplines. One of the most important aspects of the job is being aware that every student is different. After working with a couple of different students I have realized that they each have a different learning style, a different approach to their writing, and of course different ideas. I would recommend going into each session ready to find out what kind of learner they are, their strengths, and what they need to improve in their writing. I approach each session differently according to the student, however, I do introduce all the strategies I know and make sure to find out what strategies work for them and when I do not know a strategy that can help them I do my best to find one. Getting students in the habit of editing their own papers is very important because the purpose is to guide them so they can learn the strategies and not need me as the tutor anymore or not use me as someone who is just there to edit the papers for them. The first session is very important and that is the session that I would suggest to set goals, expectations, and the purpose of the session. It is very helpful to have a comfortable environment for students and allow them to grow as writers, and not just to help them create better papers.
The setup of my sessions mostly depend on what the students need help with, however, because not all students are always prepared I always make sure we use the hour we have help them as much as possible. After knowing what they need help with I set up an agenda and decide how many minutes will be spent on what. When students only have a draft I have them start brainstorming, choose their argument, or what prompt they will be focusing on. I also have students start outlines, but that does not always work for everyone. The majority of the students I have worked with say that outlines are helpful because sometimes they do not know how to organize their ideas. However, for those that do not benefit from outlines I ask them to write a free write to help them start thinking about their arguments. Most Writing 2 professors allow the students to keep editing their drafts, so I ask them to bring in their drafts when they do not have anything to work on. I aim to help them develop as writers, so I try to help them as much as possible with their construction of arguments, strategies of editing their drafts, and different forms of making sure the structure and organizations portrays the message the students want the reader to know.
Writing 2 is a very unique class as most students are in their first year, and they are trying to get away from the writing style they learned in high school. The majority of my sessions involve the explanation of a five paragraph compared to the writing style in their class. I emphasize the need of their thesis because of the focus of Writing 2. One of the most difficult encounters that I have had is helping students who faced educational inequalities in high school. If students do not have a proper understanding of grammar rules or were just not exposed to a rigorous curriculum, it shows in their writing. As a tutor I always make sure that I do not judge the student of their academic understanding, but I instead do my best to help them get to the level that they need to be at. I often need to use different strategies with students who are struggling with grammar by introducing different material, such as worksheet that I used in my Writing 2 class to help them understand English language rules or outside resources. I have also had difficulty with non-native English speakers. Although Spanish was my first language, I have grasped a very well understanding of English, and I constantly need to remind myself that some rules in English that make sense to me may not make sense to others. However, being a non-native English speaker has definitely helped me help students who are also non-native English speakers.
There are many ways to approach Writing tutoring sessions, and the more strategies tutors are aware of, the better the tutor can help the tutees. I hope this letter was helpful and gives an idea of the things I do as a tutor. I focused mostly on Writing 2 because that is the class I have the most experience in, however, the strategies I use in Writing 2, I also use in Writing Across the Disciplines. I have mostly worked with frosh so I also take some time from my first session to inform them about the different resources on campus so they can create a network and support system. Best of luck and remember to approach each session differently and that the purpose of writing tutoring is to create better writers.
Writing 2 and Writing Across the Disciplines Tutor