I became a tutor at the Marian E. Wright Writing Center in the Winter 2022 semester. I had taken the prerequisite course (ENG 363) the semester before. In this course, I learned a lot about the theory behind why we tutor in the way we do. I also went to practicums in the Writing Center every week where I learned first hand from tutors. Other than this I had no prior training and the idea of becoming a tutor felt pretty daunting. Nevertheless, I was up for the challenge of this new experience.
Even though I had a whole semester of training previously, I still felt as though I had been pushed off the deep end. I was pretty nervous when I first started out as a tutor. I am a pretty awkward and anxious person. I knew I would be meeting new people every day which was overwhelming for me. This also ties into one of the tasks that was now expected of me: answering the phone. Thankfully, we have a flexible script for answering the phone and if there are any questions, I can always ask someone for help.
I was also insecure about my writing abilities. I don’t think I am the best writer out there and I was worried that, if I am not a wonderful writer, can I be an effective tutor? Along with some experience as a tutor and a lot of reassurance on my writing, I have come to realize that some writing knowledge and skills are necessary to do the job. However, a tutor does not have to be a writing expert to be able to help others improve their own writing.
There was a lot on the technical side of things that had been glossed over during the practicums that I suddenly had to know how to do. These things included navigating our files as well as the writing center website. Thankfully, I am now a part of a great team who are understanding and knowledgeable about these things.
Now that I have been a tutor for a few semesters, I have grown tremendously. The writing center has been a very supportive place where I have learned so much. I have slowly become a more personable tutor but I am still not perfect, no one is. I am still learning and improving myself every day. I recommend becoming a tutor for anyone who wants to grow their interpersonal skills as well as grow as a writer.