I’m a Writing Consultant… Now what?

So I’ve been working at the Seton Hill University(SHU) writing center for almost a whole semester, and I’ve been learning so much about the way I write and the the way I help others with their writing. I’ve always been the kid who people asked to read their essays. The way I’ve been trained to help with writing is completely different from the way I used to do it.

First of all, I didn’t know writing centers were a thing. There are studies and books written about them. Apparently SHU has had one since the 50s. So tutors are taught a specific method of workshopping with students. We are taught to ask questions, to have students read aloud, and to encourage them to find their own mistakes. Students often would like us just to give them the answers, but I can see how the method I’ve learned is more beneficial.

Also, I didn’t realize how many justifications I would need to know. I understand grammatical rules, but explaining why they exist is a completely different factor. I’ve been reading grammar books intensively to work on my explanations. When I sit down with my English friends to check a paper all I have to do is point out the errors they’ve made. I suggest some stylistic things. We discuss. When a student is not as confident in writing or as comfortable with me, I have to consciously work harder on being friendly and clear.

As a writer, I won’t always be working with other writers. I will have to be able to justify and explain my choices. Collaboration is important in the writing world.  Not only that but, I’ve become much better at consciously writing better. I’ve used the techniques I learned to teach others, and they have been really helpful.

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