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Life 101: The Standardized and Manufactured Version

So, let me just say that I know today is Tuesday and not Monday, but this other class I have is really kicking me around. So what I do is read the materials when I can before Monday, but since I have do critical analysis of like I lost count of the number of books, I try to blog on Monday, but sometimes it just works to do it now and even make my comments as I go. So, forgive me for the “late? response, but here it is.

Okay, so here’s what it do, I’m just gonna spit it like this: I feel that true learning comes from experience. While I’d like to believe the in inspirational stories, especially about the student with so much newfound ambition and emotion for writing after have visited a writing center, I can’t help but think that there is more to this story. Thinking about my past consultations, I have to say that I truly am lucky to have this job in order to support people and their writing. I know how it is, one brings in a paper, don’t know really know what to do with it, but just know it needs to be done.

This feeling is not going to automatically yield feels of self-confidence or a new sense of glory for the art of writing, rather for 45 minutes, I, as the consultant have the ability to make or break this student’s day. I choose to make it by listening to them, sin rodeos, sin mentiras (without loopholes or lies). I let them talk for awhile to see how they are and what they want, but I never allude to playing the role of the “counselor? like many of articles almost seem to suggest. Mira, te voy a decirlo asi, (look, I’m going to tell it like it is), these students have no expectancy of what “should? happen during a consultation, so I try to make each one as individual as it can be and only hope for the outcome to be useful and meaningful to both the student and myself.

It seems as if some of the articles or even the style guides are on this quest to find the “best? way to consult, when it really has to be up to the person(s) involved. It also seems that everything ends in a lovely flowing manner, when in reality, where are the stories about the students who come in frustrated, those who leave still frustrated, or those who simply find themselves at a loss when it comes to writing. My heart goes out to these students. I just know that the article about the students with Dyslexia really made me feel like there has to be a way to consult that does not over praise when it’s not necessary or a way not to degrade the student. All I know that is that when the consultant starts asking “active? questions like, okay, what would you put here, or how would you say this? Totally makes the student go crazy with nervios (nerves) and not know what to say. Great, gracias (thanks) for the embarrassment, I’ll be sure to come back now, is what I hope they don’t say… but what does a consultant do if this is their style of consulting… AHHHA! I say it like this, because I know I can just imagine walking into a math center, already the biggest second-guesser on multiple choice questions as they come, I, would feel intimidated by both the behavior of a consultant to constantly be complimenting me or to be totally destroying me and my work.

Therefore, I come to the conclusion that consulting is definitely just like dancing. Whether is fast or slow, one can only hope that the other hears the same rhythm. I’m really into “trying? to read people. I always use the step up, step back rule when it comes to getting vibes from other people. I’m not afraid to slow down or speed up or change styles depending on the person. It seems like articles kind of focus on “one? go get ‘em attitude that may or may not always work. Anyway, all this just leads me to thinking about how to begin to structure some the thoughts about writing centers. It’s clear that they can’t all be the same, but I just like to be the person to help, but more so to support.

As a critique, I wish the authors communicated a more simple fashion by stating that all the students before coming to the center have gone through the struggle of learning to read, write, and speak, which reminds of our literary papers to be due soon, but anyway, it’s just something to keep in mind when working with people. We are there to support and help, but to over praise or destroy, because I believe that our role is just too critical waist time coping styles when we could just do what we do best, be original and truly have the students in mind and not the idea of creating a inspirational session to go down in history.

Hope this all makes sense, I really prefer verbal conversation as opposed to blogs… I’m not really good and typing what I’m thinking in my head, hence that’s why there are phrases in Spanish. I’m blogging my thought process…scary! :D

Comments

Isn't that sort of the whole idea in the "Idea of the Writing Center" essay? I mean, I'm with you when you say that there isn't One True Way, and I think that's sort of what. . .was it North? I think so. . .was saying. That we aren't supposed to have any sort of dogmatic approach, aside from the dogma of "don't be dogmatic." (What a fun word. . .)

I think what you say about the Active Questions is interesting; so far, I've had close to the opposite experience. While the writer may seem a bit tentative, they don't necessarily seem nervous to answer. One thing I've done a few times is to just start throwing out every possible thing I can think of: "you could put this part over here, or start with this, or try this as a conclusion, or try telling that story instead of this one," and a lot of times it suddenly seems to click and the writer will say something like "yeah, that's exactly it." I don't feel like I did much there; for every "good" idea I probably mention ten "bad" ones. But writers seem to be very good at deciding what they like and what they don't.