Tutoring the tutors

I’ve been working with a dynamite group of tutors at Keene State.  They give so much to other writers.  But I’ve noticed they’re less familiar with professional writing genres than they are the academic ones that comprise their daily fodder.    That’s probably true for many college students.  And because good writing strategies don’t necessarily transfer from one situation to another without some coaxing and coaching, I’m starting to pay attention to this gap in the comfort levels.

Lack of familiarity with professional genres matters for the occasional sessions where students may seek help with resumes, cover letters, internship or graduate school applications, teaching portfolios, and so forth, but I’m equally concerned to help our staff become comfortable writing in these pragmatic ways for themselves.   I want these remarkable tutors to be able to use writing as a means to move on from their work for the center, to gain access to different professional and intellectual roles.

So I’ve been doing informal advising/tutorials with tutors, especially the seniors.   I might snag a tutor for a brainstorming session, asking, “So what do you want to do after graduation?”  Often, tutors initiate tutorials: “Take a look at my philosophy of education,” or “How do I explain about tutoring in my resume?”  Those sessions can be really fun and productive.  

Here are a couple of resources I developed to help tutors make the transition to new professional situations.

I’m interested, too, in learning about more resources for tutors as they leave or augment their writing center work.


One Response to “Tutoring the tutors”

  1. An interesting topic, Collie! I see that it’s more than two years old, but I’ll reply anyway!

    For 34 years, I’ve been a “real-world” writer. My Masters was in Science Journalism, but in nearly 3.5 decades, I’ve been a poet, PR writer, magazine writer/editor, and for the last 15 years, a technical documentation writer. I’ve even been an Editorial Advisor and author for Sesame Street!

    Due to a recent layoff, I’ve started to research ways that skills such as mine might be useful in a preparatory school or college Writing Center. After all, science journalists and technical writers are trained specifically to present any subject… no matter how complex… in clear, simple language, without theoretical jargon. We don’t write like geeks, and have spent years communicating with general audiences.

    Your concern about the “lack of familiarity with professional genres” might be addressed by people with training and experience like mine… people who can help students write about any subject with simple clarity. After all, that’s what Writing Center clients will be expected to do when they leave campus for the workforce.

    Just a thought.

    Dave Powell

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