Semester in Review: Reflections, Tributes, and Goodbyes

With the semester wrapping up, I gave my awesome team a few questions to inspire a bit of reflection. See what they have to say about working in the center, collaborating with our great students, and tutoring alongside one another.


How do you think you will use the skills you learned or developed this semester in the future?

Peer Tutor Ronnie (a.k.a. Ron Solo)

This semester, I noticed many parallels between my program of study and my job as a peer tutor, both giving me the experience and knowledge I need to move forward in helping others. I am in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program, and there is an emphasis on building trust, as well as teaching and working alongside others so they may eventually become self-reliant to the best of their abilities. We approach helping others as tutors much the same way, because our job is to guide students: we work through their written problems together, educating them further so that they may become more confident in their own skills.

During this semester, I also learned so many amazing, new ways of approaching problems from these two programs. As both share the common goal of bettering the lives of others through service, I developed a new understanding and new strategies that I can apply in my life now to achieve this goal as well. Working with a multitude of personalities and varying degrees of need (be it in class or in tutoring sessions)  I have been able to build upon my experiences, figuring out what works best not only for myself but also for the people I am working with.

I am excited continue to build upon these skills to better give others the tools they need to succeed!


Describe your experience working in the center this semester in a single word. 

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Professional Tutor Caitlyn

I would describe my experience working in the writing center as eye-opening. Before joining the stormtutor squad, I had never tutored anyone. I had years of experience as a professional writer, but I had never applied that experience to helping someone else write. I had worked in communication since graduating college, but I had never worked in academia.

Working at The Writing Center has been like no other job I have ever worked because I had never before used my skill set to improve someone else’s. Working at the center has opened my eyes to all different types of students and how different tutoring modalities are needed to reach each student in a way that best suits his or her learning needs.

The center has taught me a much-needed lesson in patience, and I have learned that everyone writes in a different way and learns at a different pace. I never foresaw myself as a writing tutor, but once I started this job, I quickly realized The Writing Center is not just a job — it’s a family. I feel like the only way to truly know that you understand something is to teach it to someone else, and the center has taught me that I know writing. I am honored and humbled to be a part of such a talented, savvy group of tutors. The center has opened my eyes to new interests, new talents, and a new purpose. And for that, I will always be thankful.


Write a tribute to a fellow tutor - what do you admire about his or her tutoring style?

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Professional Tutor Mandy

I am fortunate because I work among some of the most talented, intelligent, and creative people I have ever met. Each and every one of the Writing Center tutors has taught me so much, but perhaps because I tend to tutor with Phillip most often, I have really come to admire his tutoring style. Phillip is the calm in the storm. He never seems to get rattled and never seems to encounter a problem he does not know how to respond to, and respond in a way that moves the student forward. I find myself trying to emulate him because he always seems to achieve so much in his sessions.

Phillip has this friendly, authoritative persona about him. He is kind and empathetic, but he does not let his students get away with anything. He has taught me to persevere because he keeps pushing, pulling, and coming at a problem from different angles until his students begin to master the concept they are working on. Despite this propensity to make students work, and work hard, (a thing that usually sends them scurrying in another direction), Phillip’s students keep coming back for more. They love him!  They feel comfortable with him, and after plenty of covert observation, I have decided it is because they trust him.

All of The Writing Center’s tutors truly want to help students, but for some reason I have yet to lay my finger upon, Phillip is able to communicate this to his students better than the rest of us. I think this is one of the many reasons students gravitate toward him. Perhaps it is because he peppers his tutoring sessions with conversation, during which he actually learns meaningful things about his students while at the same time pulling out information they can use in their writing – a skill I aspire to. Perhaps it is because students sense his confidence. Phillip knows his stuff. Students instinctively feel this and respond. Ultimately, he is approachable, yet still maintains an air of authority. This balance is a difficult line to walk, but Phillip does it effectively, managing to throw in a triple back twist along the way. He is just so subtle about it that students do not realize he has done it until he lands it, and they are wrapping up the session. This approach is what brings them back again and again.

We, his co-workers, turn to him too. When anyone has a question about a tricky bit of grammar, Phillip is usually the one we ask first. He offers great tips at our weekly staff meetings, and he is definitely everyone’s first choice when it comes to a program glitch, printer issues, or when some fun-loving soul flips the screen savers upside-down on all the lab computers. Phillip consistently and good-humoredly provides us with examples of positive tutoring sessions every single day, and I have learned so much from him. 


Write a tribute to a fellow tutor - what do you admire about his or her tutoring style?

Professional Tutor Mike

I have had the good fortune of working with many fine people and great tutors during my three years at the Writing Center at Wallace Community College. They have all informed my tutoring style, both in my knowledge of how to help students (many of whom are uncomfortable expressing themselves via the written word) and how to relate to those clients who might be unsure of where to even start. I cannot think of anyone I have worked with, past or present, who does not consider the students who visit us for help to be our paramount concern.

However, since I have to pick one tutor to pen a tribute to, I will. She is one who I have come to consider a friend and a trusted colleague. Unfortunately, her time with us is coming to an end, as she will be moving with her husband to Florida so that he can begin his career as a doctor. No matter the gaping hole left in our Center by Colleen's departure, we can feel confident that her influence will remain with us in ways both large and small.

Colleen has helped to make this place one that is filled with knowledge. Whether it is by her expertise in what makes an essay click or by her seemingly inexhaustible familiarity with the inherent mysteries of MLA style (or APA, or Chicago, or whatever else our erudite instructors wish to throw our way), she helps make us a fount of knowledge for our students.

In closing, I would like to address Colleen directly: You know all of those times that I came in fifteen or twenty minutes early to work on timesheets or grab a bite to eat, I was really just eavesdropping, hoping that some of what you bring to us will transfer itself to me. We will miss you not only for your intelligence in collaborating with students but your warmth toward them. And, in the end, I think all educators would do well to remember that sometimes those qualities are one and the same. I can truly say that you have both qualities in spades.


Stay tuned for responses from the rest of The Writing Center team next week!