Tutors' Corner is for our tutors to discuss achievements, challenges, and pedagogical methods in tutoring writing. Students are also welcome to make contributions to this section in the form of testimonies, comments, or suggestions. Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linnea Barton – Writing Center Coordinator:
It is my privilege to welcome you to the Writing Center. Teaching and learning is my passion and it is a joy to work with people from all over the world to help them achieve their writing goals every day. I grew up in Montana riding horses and came to the University of North Dakota to study aerospace engineering. Half way through my degree I did an about-face and ended up graduating with a B.A. in English and Honors. I went on to get an ESL certificate and teach ESL and TESOL in China, Thailand and the US. I am currently finishing my thesis for an M.A. in Linguistics. When I’m not in the Writing Center I work as the Assistive Technology Specialist for the Office for Students with Disabilities. Besides ESL, I have also taught Composition on campus. I would love to help you brainstorm or plan out your project. I have a specialist interest in poetry, foreign languages and creativity. Many students bring me their personal statements and cover letters to discuss ideas for improvement. Please feel free to stop by any time with questions or send me an email at email@example.com. See you soon!
Eryn Killough - Professional Tutor:
Being a tutor in the Writing Center has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Each session is not only enjoyable, but most times, I learn something as well because of the various subjects that the students choose. Recently, I worked with a Chinese student who said, early in the session, “That’s why we like coming to you. Instead of just checking grammar, you find out what we’re trying to say”. I think that captures my intent with each session. I go beyond the mechanics of writing and search for the meaning and ideas behind the paper, from the student’s point of view. I work hard to challenge the student to make his/her own paper better, and find out how to strengthen their words to more easily or more sophisticatedly convey their ideas.
With this particular session, as is typical with all of my sessions, I unpacked each sentence and discussed how they related to the theme as a whole. Whenever a sentence or paragraph is a struggle to understand I stop and say, “Tell me what you intended to say.” International students, especially, are able to articulate their ideas better by speaking than what had been written. I offer feedback immediately by complimenting the better choice of words and help them write a smoother sentence. I also try to ask intriguing questions to get the student to ponder his/her own work. I find ways to ask questions that the average or uninformed reader might ask when reading the paper. Additionally, I recommend the ‘Thesaurus’ in Microsoft Word to every student I see. I tell them “it’s my best friend” when writing. I find it extremely helpful in so many ways. For American students, they can use this to add variety to the language in their papers, stretching their comfort level of diction. For International students, it also adds to their vocabulary, and in addition to that, they can determine word forms, parts of speech, and they can even switch to the dictionary to find definitions. What’s more, when the schedule permits, I spend as much time with them as they need to get a grasp on how they can improve their paper.
I think my sense of accomplishment derives from my desire to help students grow in their writing ability, no matter how poorly or how well they write. I love what I do, and I think it shows.
I was born in Nigeria, but moved to Crookston, MN a few years ago. I am majoring in Pre Med and I hope to become a physician someday. It is my first semester tutoring at the Writing Center. I have a passion for writing and consider it to be a learning process where students discover where their academic strengths and weaknesses lie.
As a tutor in the Writing center, I get to work with students at different stages in the writing process. Most of the students I work with usually have problems with organization, sentence structure, and even brainstorming. I believe that the first step to a successful tutoring session is to make the student feel comfortable and open to new ideas. My style of tutoring involves the student reading a paragraph or more out loud, then we find possible mistakes, correct them, and by the end of the session, the student can solely detect and correct his or her own mistakes. I always encourage students to make some corrections outside of tutoring so they can have something specific in mind when they come for help.
Being an ESL tutor has helped me develop different methods of tutoring ESL students. In my experience, ESL students might have a great topic and concept, but have problems in grammar. I am always impressed by ESL students who go the extra mile of coming to the Writing Center for help, because they end up making corrections to their paper when they feel confident about their paper and are encouraged.
I am privileged to work with students who want to improve their writing. I like being a tutor because I am able to help students with different aspects of writing and also learn about their interests. By working with students on their writing, I am inspired to become a better writer.
My name is Tiffany Chin and I was born in Washington DC. I have been to school in Maryland, England, Taiwan, and Guam. At school, my teachers say that writing is my best subject, and on the TOFL and SAT, writing were also my highest scores. So I decided to take a part time job at the writing center. This is my second year at UMC as well as my second semester working at the writing center. I look forward to helping others in writing.
I am excited to join the UMC Writing Center. As a tutor, I want to share my knowledge and assist other students in moving toward a level where writing is less of a struggle. Good skills in composition will help each student in many areas in life; knowing that, I like to help others expand their writing skills. While I attended another college, I tutored English composition and public speaking for three semesters. I learned many new subjects from the other students who came in for assistance, and enjoyed sharing ideas with each one. One component of my tutoring gave me the opportunity to work with ESL students. My work with these students was a great experience because it taught me to explain myself in a variety of ways.
The tutoring sessions which stand out in my memory involve students who grasped concepts that previously were confusing to them; I love to see students conquer their difficulties in composition. One such student had trouble understanding the use of semicolons. After I gave her a few examples of their proper usage, she was correcting her semicolon mistakes before I even saw them. It is thrilling to be a part of the Writing Center and I hope I can give students input to help them write more easily. I look forward to sharing my skills with my peers and learning from them along the way.
Hello! My name is Mikala Guidinger, and I am a sophomore here at UMC. My major is Business Management with a minor in Equine Science. This is my second year tutoring at the writing center and so far I have loved every minute of it. I really enjoy working with students and helping them enhance their writing skills and understanding of the writing process, as well as answering any questions that they may have along the way. Working with students is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience.
The moments that stand out the most to me while working in the Writing Center are watching the improvement of students. Nothing is greater than learning and developing new skills and being able to demonstrate those successfully. Watching a student learn and evolve throughout the year (or year after year) is both rewarding and exciting. It is also great when a student works very hard on an assignment and visits the center many times and feels great satisfaction and pride in their work and end product.
My name is Steph O’Connell and I am very excited to start my first year of tutoring at the Writing Center. I am currently a sophomore at UMC and I have always had a love for writing. From personal experience with friends and other students, I know writing is not for everyone and because of this I love to share my excitement. For me personally, gratification is achieved when a student is able to take what I have taught them, and apply it to their writings with little to no assistance. No matter the type of writing assignment or type of class the writing help is needed in, I take pride in being able to assist in all areas, and hopefully even learn some from those that I tutor.
Within the subject of writing, there are so many different variables that play a significant role; I know it can get frustrating for students to even know where to begin. I try to make things just a little simpler when it comes to grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, or formulating concepts and ideas by explaining thoroughly. No aspect of writing is too small to conquer and any student is able to achieve it if they put their mind to it. When I’m tutoring, I like to make sure the student understands how I arrive to my conclusions within writing, so they too can better themselves as we go. I may not be able to provide the exact answer in every situation, but I’m willing to provide all the help I can to make the writing process just a little smoother overall.
The Writing Center is an excellent tutoring source for all students. I am personally looking forward to the opportunity of assisting other students as well as expanding my own knowledge. I have always enjoyed expressing ideas in words. My favorite tool to use in writing is imagery. I believe every individual has a distinctive writing voice. Through practice, practice, practice each voice can be perfected to create a strong and confident writer. The power of the pen only stops at the imagination of each individual. The first step begins with a pen and paper.
One of my favorite but simple sayings pertaining to education captures the frustration I’m sure all people feel at one time or another: “You have to look stupid before you can look smart.” With that being said the next time frustration surfaces, relax, it is part of learning. Come to the Writing Center if help is needed.