What Does it Mean to be a Writing Tutor?

By Laura McAndrew

Almost two months ago, my journey to being a Writing Lab tutor began. Before I started, I wasn’t exactly sure what being a tutor would entail. I was under the impression that I would be more of an editor than anything else. I was somewhat anxious to begin the job because I didn’t know if I was qualified to “edit” someone’s paper. I was afraid students would come to me expecting to automatically get an “A” after I helped them. I was terrified of the thought of letting students down.

Then the day came.

The day I had been anticipating for most of the summer.

Writing Lab Training day.

I came into the training day expecting to learn how to edit, but I came out realizing my real purpose in the Writing Lab. I was a tutor. What does that mean; to be a tutor? A tutor doesn’t make writing perfect. A tutor helps students learn to be better writers.

This new purpose encouraged me, and helped me to be at ease about my new job. I was no longer afraid that a student would be upset when they didn’t get an “A” on the paper we worked on together. If they came back upset about their grade, that just meant we would work on the next paper even harder.

That’s right! I said “work on together”. That’s the purpose of the Writing Lab. The Writing Lab is about working in collaboration with students to create better writers.

With this newfound confidence, I began the first day of tutoring. I was still a little nervous  about certain things, but I knew that there were plenty of coworkers to help me if I needed them.

I have enjoyed being able to help students at MBU. I have learned so much during these first couple of months and there is still more I will continue to learn. This experience has helped me to build relationships with students and to improve my own writing skills.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the rest of the year!

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From Anxiety to Confidence: Changing Your Perspective on Writing

By Allison Wallis

Writing is a deeply personal action—it requires that we bare our hearts and minds to others, making our thoughts a readable text that others can actually see. As such, writing can be an emotional outlet to people who need to comprehend or untangle their emotions and feelings. Other times, however, it can be a deeply distressing task to some, especially when that work must be presented to others like teachers, classmates, or tutors.

I tend to relate to that latter perspective on writing; that is, it’s something to be feared. As a socially awkward introvert, I dread the judgement of others on my writing, especially since it is often a personal reflection of myself. Probably the most horrifying moments of my college career were those spent in one-on-one meetings with professors who silently read over a paper, all the while making notes and never once acknowledging that I was sitting right next to them. I could only think of how they must find my papers to be awful, lacking evidence, boring, and full of errors.

I’m sure that many students can relate to that feeling of dread every time a professor assigns a new paper, or requires others to peer-review work. In light of this, I’d like to encourage those who feel this way to try to find a different perspective. Sharing our thoughts, ideas, and writings, though difficult, will only make us better writers. By allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and collaborate with others, we tend to gain new insights into both our writing and our writing processes. If the thought of a professor reviewing your work frightens you, bring it to a friend or someone you trust. There are several tutors in the Writing Lab, myself included, who know how it feels to be discouraged or afraid to share their writing and can empathize with you.

Over the last year, I’ve learned how important it is for my own success to share my writing with others. I’ve gotten to be more excited about writing rather than to dread it. And I’ve seen my writing improve with this perspective shift. I’ve learned when writing is seen less as a chore or something to be feared and more as a tool for success and sharing knowledge, it becomes easier to tackle that process and to collaborate with others in order to craft those ideas.

If you ever decided to change your perspective on writing and to reach out for someone to share your work with, come to the Writing Lab! Myself and many others will be happy to help you towards success and becoming a better writer.