During Autumn Quarter, on Monday and Wednesday mornings, I took extra care to make it from my apartment to nearest El stop before 11:06. This was the last train I could catch in order to be on time to my first class of the day: WRD 395: Writing Theory & Pedagogy.
This class was part of my training as a new Peer Writing Tutor at the University Center for Writing Based Learning and, besides the fact that it would be incredibly embarrassing to be late to a meeting with my coworkers and a director of the Center, I also didn’t want to miss any of the discussions we had in class. Admittedly, I also wanted a good array of options of where to sit that day. The way WRD 395 was run gave me plenty of opportunities to collaborate with my fellow new UCWbLers through discussions of writing center and tutoring theory, in addition to letting me get to know everyone a little better.
And here’s a spoiler alert: everyone is really friendly and fun to be around (and also really smart) – something that I soon realized to be a reoccurring theme to all of my interactions with people associated with the Writing Center. This welcoming disposition of UCWbLers has been an even greater benefit to my training than I would have expected.
Along with feeling more at ease in my very first few shifts in the Center, I was able to observe people at work (as part of my training) in an environment that encouraged learning from others and asking questions. I never felt put on the spot or shamed for not knowing exactly what I should be doing right off the bat. This helped me feel more confident in my capabilities as a Writing Tutor while I am still in the process of finding my footing and figuring out what that identity means to me.
As I rode the train home after my Thursday evening shifts in the Loop, although thoughts of making myself into a burrito with my comforter in my ever-loving bed (and perhaps fixing myself an actual burrito for dinner) occupied my mind, I always looked forward to my next week of shifts and entering back into the community of intelligent and friendly UCWbL peers on Monday morning. And now I’m equally excited for the beginning of a new quarter at the UCWbL.