Well, inspiration waited a while to strike me today. Everything started off normal; much better than yesterday! I had my classes and my presentations, and then I got to work at my university’s Writing Center.
As a tutor I have really began to understand the way writing works…the little nuances of language…the multitude of topics and ideas…literally, the hundreds of ways to say the exact same thing.
International students come in the majority of the time to work on their grammar and sentence structure. Not being a “proof reading center”, it can be difficult to redirect the student to some higher order issues such as paper organization or even transitions between ideas.
However, today I saw the writing process in action. An international student came in with an argumentative essay about a certain type of fishing. He originally stated he wanted to look at spelling and some sentence structure. After our initial read through I discovered he had awesome information about his topic, but it took more of an informational tone rather than persuasive. I told him my concern about that and right away he was so eager to work to fix it. We went through each main point and he turned them into arguments. He wrote about what seemed to be a negative thing about winter fishing and then refuted it with solid evidence to change our opinion about winter bass fishing.
It was so fun to watch him think in his native language and translate to English. Even when he said that something was too hard, he always came up with a way to explain himself.
I feel honored to be a part of this process. Not only are we helping students improve their current written piece, but teaching them strategies to implement in future writing.
Oh not every appointment goes that smoothly, that’s for sure. But when ones like this come along, and you can see the writing process happening, that is something pretty cool.
And that is my slice of life