September 26, 2005

Jason's lecture

So Jason sure knows his shit...good points, and he didn't stick to the articles...gee, I hope my lecture/teaching day goes over as well as his...and he had candy, too! I like candy.
Seriously, though, the points he brought up were too, too true...and they relieved some of the tension or uncertainty that I've been feeling lately. Like when a nns refuses to do anything but nod at me, even when I know that they're not following me...so I was glad to hear that it's not just me, not just my rude, overbearing personality that was intimidating these kids into fearful agreement...and when the articles say something, well, I don't always buy it: I mean most of the articles have a feel as if they're written with real-world experience and future teaching in mind...but some of them are so wishy-washy, like they're being writeen with a purely hypothetical mindset...I guess what I'm trying to say is that a few of these authors seem utterly removed from the real world...and dealing with these issues on Thursday, discussing them with everyone, made me much more comfortable and confident...

Posted by at 2:32 PM

September 19, 2005

letting the student do the work

Another day, another super-awesome session...this kid came in with a personal essay for his freshman comp class...his instructor specifically wanted a lot of detail, description, etc....we read through the paper together, and he had one good example of what it seemed like his prof. wanted: something about an old library smelling like mold or whatnot...but far and away, he was just telling the reader how big his classes were, or whatever...not what anyone would call descriptive.
But then we got to talking...and the change was incredible....a ‘big swamp’ became a monster that ate baseballs and kickballs, a teacher who taught him how to read better turned into a description of the feelings of trepidation and inadequacy when she made him get up in front of the class to read aloud...when all was said and done, he had a solid paper...and it was all his work, his stories, he wrote down his own ideas in his own words...all did was prod him a little bit, then sit back and listen...
which isn’t to say that the paper was perfect...but it was so much better...there were still some grammar mistakes, etc., but the flow of the paper, it’s feel was so drastically improved...and more importantly, the student was really, really pleased with the work that HE did...when he first came in, he had the attitude that the paper was a chore...by the time he left, he was excited to get home and get more of his ideas down no paper...
goddamn, I love this job...

Posted by at 2:51 PM

September 14, 2005

first session

well, I've got to say that my first session went much better than I ever could have imagined...I felt all set to go before I came into the center, but when I walked in I was much more nervous than I thought I would be...might have had something to do with getting about three hours of sleep the night before, up at five a.m....
but I'm not sure if it would have mattered if I was fully awake or not; the student that came in needed encouragement more than anything else...her ideas were solid, she just wasn't used to writing the sort of paper that her prof. was asking for...and as an ESL student, she was uncomfotable with some of her grammer...however, most of that grammar was fine, just minor mistakes, the kinds of mistakes we all make, so I stayed away from that, focused on the positive....we ended up reworking and reorganizing her ideas to make the paper a little more solid, following the form that she was expected to use for this essay...
I think the most effective thing we did was work on the strength of the language she was using...like I said, she had a lot of great ideas, but she was introducing them with phrases such as 'I think,' 'I would guess,' etc....when we changed a few choice words to give her argument a more athoritative tone, the tone her paper and her ideas deserved, it seemed like she felt a lot more confident in her writing, her ideas, and this essay...
I've got to say, it was a lot easier than I thought...she's going to come back in when she gets the essay back and starts working on the next one (she has like five more of the same assigment the rest of the semester) so maybe it'll turn out that her prof. wasn't as happy with the essay as she and I were...regardless, I think this was a great place to start, this building confidence in a writer...it was her work, and it was good work; she just needed a little nudge to see how good it was, how close she really is to writing a damn good essay...

Posted by at 12:49 PM

September 7, 2005

day one's readings

After reading the first set of articles for the class, I'm excited for the year ahead. The suggestions and tools outlined there gave me a good idea of what to expect, and then how to deal a variety of potential consultancy issues. Still, I have some apprehension.
I've been trained as a newspaper editor, and I'd like to think that I'm proficient in that capacity. But will those editorial tendencies leak into my tutoring? I would hope not, and I can say now that they won't. Still, though, no matter how hard I try I'm afraid that I'll never be able to completely shake my editorial tendencies.
Conversely, I'm sure that my experience and training with the Center for Writing will enhance my work as an editor. I still work in that capacity as the managing editor for a small publication. Journalistic writing is in many ways much different from other types of writing, and many of the writers that work under me have little experience writing in the journalistic style. My training as a tutor will help me, as well as the publication, in working with these journalists to become better writers, rather than marking the living hell out of their stories with red ink. That's how I was taught to write at the Star Tribune: when I made a mistake, I was chewed out for it and ordered never, EVER to make the same mistake again. That method of learning worked fine for me, but I realize that I'm in the minority in this regard.

Posted by at 2:32 PM

September 6, 2005

kittens

If a cat's meowing, it's for you! Adult cats don't meow to communicate with each other, they meow to talk to their humans. And this usually means they want your attention.

Posted by at 5:00 PM