One thing that I wish somebody would have told me before I started working as a tutor, is to not be afraid to start from the beginning. In the time that I worked as a writing tutor, I have found that some of my best sessions were the ones where the student and I worked together to plan and organized their paper. I feel that I saw the most improvement in student’s papers when we gradually went through the writing process. In my experience, some students who have trouble with developing and organizing arguments have benefited from sessions where we worked together to plan and organize their paper. This process was probably my favorite part about working with students in writing 20 and 21 because I think it helped them see the benefits of how preparing for and thinking through a paper can help them in the end.
One purpose of this gradual process is to help students develop the skills necessary for future papers. Something that I tent to stress is that their paper is an argument and each paragraph should build off one another. One way I hope that these students develop important writing skills is by remembering to treat each weekly session as a step up from the prior meeting. One way that I do this is by asking students to bringing up topics and suggestions from the week before. As weeks go by, I refer back to notes and papers that we have taken before to show them that they are relevant to the paper now. To make sure this works effectively, I encourage them to take detailed notes by avoiding short bullet points or phrases. Usually, I have noticed that if I am working with a student and they only write down a small phrase, it will go unnoticed or they might not remember what they wrote. That is why I encourage them to take specific notes by saying, “I think you should do yourself the favor of writing down full sentences, it could make things easier for you in the long run.” One example of how I direct students toward writing a well-organized paper is by asking them, “What is the next logical step of your argument?” and “Where do you see your argument going next?” I think that these questions are helpful because I think they are questions that they do not ask themselves. Furthermore, I make an effort to bring these questions back until eventually I say to them that after our numerous sessions what do they think I would ask them next, most of the time they answer with a variation of the questions that I frequently ask. This shows me that something I said stuck to them. I hope that this helps you in your future sessions.