My goodness but I have found myself to be quite busy! Who knew the effect of added an extra 8 hours to the week would have!
So far I am loving the writing center. It’s extremely inspirational being around people that are not just passionate about the written word, but are passionate about spreading that excitement.
Just after I was hired, a group of them went to a Writing Center conference down in Seattle – a conference just for writing centers in colleges – who knew! They each attended lectures from different points of consideration – lectures on accidental plagiarism that all of us do (whether we are aware of it or not), how to work with the ESL (English as a Second Language) students when they approach us with a paper (especially here in Washington, we have quite a few students from Hong Kong, China, Japan, etc), using multimodal formatting (something extremely new to me), the value of using other languages to enhance english – and so on. We have been discussing how we can apply these things that were brought back from the conference all week.
Yesterday was my first day working one on one with a student (opposed to shadowing another reader while they work with the student), and I think I did fairly well. It’s difficult to remember that we are not making their paper to the T basic essay formatting, but rather, helping the student overcome mental obstacles, develop ideas and concepts, and helping them get those ideas to paper in an understandable way. The harsh editor in me wants to add and subtract commas, take out all the I- and you-statements, and so on. But at the end of th day, the goal is to help the student feel comfortable writing, not intimidate them with grammatical rules,, and thus is the philosophy of the English department at Whatcom.
Of course, should a student come in and ask specifically for help with grammar and the like, then we’ll do so.
It’s really a great, supportive, and amazing environment to be in. I’m hoping that I can keep this sort of job through the rest of my school. This is where my passion is, and it feels amazing being able to do this.