Meet Allana. 23 years old. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Completely terrified, yet totally excited about becoming a tutor here at DePaul University’s Center for Writing-based Learning.
Having graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2010 (with a Bachelor of Arts in English), its been a while since I’ve been in school; much less never having set foot on DePaul’s campus. But here I am, working towards my Master of Arts in New Media Studies, and of course, joining the team at the Writing Center.
Although I already have some sort of tutoring background, there’s a lot to be done before I can actually sit down with a writer, pen in hand, ready to discuss their assignment. Going back in time a few weeks, the first step to this process was attending an all-staff orientation. Jeans on, hair in a braid, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I gathered with the other tutors in the new Arts & Letters building at 9:30am. And after hours of introductions, group activities, lectures, and how-to tutorials, at 3:3opm, we were done. In my cab ride over, Blackberry in hand, I was dreading it. Why would it be necessary to spend a whole day talking about how to tutor? 6 hours? Really? But I have to be honest, it was worth it. I could never have imagined a Writing Center having so many different components…from various locations, to numerous teams, to everything in-between.
Along with orientation comes a class: WRD 582. Strictly for new tutors in graduate school, this class works as an elective, aimed to help us understand Writing Center pedagogy and explore specifically what aspects of the ever-growing world of tutoring most interests us. It meets once a week, on Wednesday evenings for me, and so far has been a mix of overwhelming (Writing Center theory is its own disciplinary field?!) and informative.
This is my second week at work (10am-3pm at the Loop), and all I’ve been blocked off for is shadowing other tutors. For this, I am grateful beyond words, because I cannot begin to express how helpful watching other tutors at work has been. And the same can be said for conducting short tutor interviews. It’s amazing how much someone can experience in only a year at a place like this. I’ve heard stories, gotten advice, and most importantly, grown to know a handful of really inspiring people. Week two, day two, but already so much has been accomplished!