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One Step At A Time September 26, 2013


Good morning, UCWbLers and other writing-loving friends! Now that the autumn quarter is in full swing, we asked one of our new UCWbL writing tutors and graduate assistants, Marcela D., to write a little about her experience so far with the UCWbL!

First I was afraid, I was petrified, I thought I’d never understand what the UCWbL’s all about, the amount of things that it involves and how many people it helps through such different paths.

It was an overwhelming and full of excitement beginning indeed. I have never been a tutor, until now, except for teaching my daughter, which I never considered as a tutoring task but one of my maternal duties, so you can imagine how I felt as I began to dive into the UCWbL’s mission and believes.

Thankfully, now that I have been able to see below the surface and start to put into practice all the things we’ve been studying and reading, my fears are changing into joy, not only because I finally understood it, but also because it is an amazing experience to collaborate and work together with all kinds of writers in all kinds of writing projects.

One of the things I’m very happy about is the continued learning opportunity this represents, not only for writers, but also for tutors. Each meeting is a collaborative job between both of them, where an interchange of knowledge takes place.

The fact that the tutoring sessions are held in such a friendly environment helps the writers feel comfortable and open to suggestions, but at the same time invites them to come up with their own conclusions and, therefore, leads them to trust their writing process.

At the same time, the tutor learns that every writer is different, although most of their concerns might be the same, and this will improve its teaching skills as he would have to find the best way to reach out for each particular writer so they both find the path to improve not only the writing task in front of them, but the writer skills too.

Over these couple of weeks as a new UCWbLer I have found myself submerged in a lot of information and I can say that I’m very impressed about how well organized and practical everything is, but I’m even more impressed about all the good nature people I have found. It’s not easy to find people willing to guide you in every step of the road and even wait for you while you tie your shoes or need to make a pause to take some air.


Tutoring Strategies: Working With Writers With Learning Disabilities October 9, 2012

Filed under: things that help tutors,tutors on tutoring — allegrapusateri @ 13:01 pm

As tutors we can face all kinds of difficulties during appointments. These kinds of difficulties can vary from language barriers, to writers being resistent because they do not want to be there, to working with writers that have ADHD or a learning disability. Working with writers that struggle with these things can be a challenge and can easily end with the tutor feeling like they got nowhere during the appointment. There are, however, some strategies we can employ during appointments with writers with ADHD or learning disabilities that can cause the appointment to go more smoothly. (more…)


A Safe Space to Geek Out About Writing October 2, 2012

The Chicago Land Writing Center Conference! It was held this past weekend at North Park University and was filled with interactive discussions on tutoring people with learning disabilities or ADHD, round robin tables on topics ranging from community building to transitioning from working at one writing center to another, conversation cafes, and a discussion panel with Harold Washington’s all professional-tutoring staff.



The Only Idiom Database You’ll Ever Need September 26, 2012

After several conversation appointments where I was asked about the origin of common phrases, I had to ask: what does it mean to “scream bloody murder”? What is a “sight for sore eyes” and when did we start saying “sour grapes”? Thankfully, a quick Google search turned up the The Phrase Finder. This database is an invaluable resource for appointments and an enjoyable look at weird phrases’ origins for the interested reader. (more…)


Raising ELL Self Esteem September 25, 2012

Conversation appointments come with a host of issues that tutors who primarily tutor might not have even considered. I can confidently say that I’ve had more conversation appointments in the past two weeks than I’ve had over the course of the last year put together, and there was plenty that I hadn’t thought of. What to talk about, how to explain grammatical issues, etiquette, and tone are all essential when talking to a conversation partner, but one thing I never thought about before now was the role of confidence and self esteem. (more…)


There’s a Word for That: Lingo for the New Peer Writing Tutor September 18, 2012

Filed under: things that help tutors — Mark Jacobs @ 13:09 pm
Tags: , ,

Tutors are born problem solvers, but it’s hard to solve a problem when you can’t find a word for it.  How many of these writing tutor-related terms are new to you? (more…)


Writer to Tutor: Looking Back June 5, 2012

As a MA student applying to the Writing Center one year ago, I didn’t really think that being employed as a tutor would change how I write.  At 21, I was pretty sure that my writing style was set – and serviceable.  There was no need for a major overhaul, even if the UCWbL materials promised improvement in my own skills as well as the opportunity to help others with theirs.  Even during the WRD primer class in Fall Quarter, I didn’t really believe that learning about tutoring equated to learning about my own writing.  Something shifted over the course of the last two terms, however; I found myself writing differently (but not completely, of course), and I began to wonder: one year on – has being a tutor made me a better writer? (more…)