No matter how much you love to tutor, the extent to which you enjoy the company of other UCWbL employees, or whether or not you are the biggest morning person ever…at one point or another, you have asked yourself: “What is the point of these all-staff retreats?” Well, here I am, to answer that for you.
In my opinion, the point is simply to share stories. That may seem simplified, but hear me out. We have all had interesting/complicated/infuriating/novel-worthy appointments which we handled like champs, that we wish we could tell someone about. And conversely, we have all encountered such appointments which have left us feeling lost. But how many of us actually exchange these tidbits with one another? Most of the time we are all too busy–with appointments, homework, Facebook, etc.–to mutter more than a “how’s it going?” to one another.
But the fact of the matter is these insights should be shared. And advice should be given. Because otherwise, why even experience them in the first place?
What I take away from our retreats (and granted, I have only been to two so far) is how to deal with each and every kind of tutoring session. This includes everything from how to treat people, to writing tips we should pass on, to how to improve our own editing skills. I have always learned best from personal narratives, and that is all we are surrounded with from 9:30 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon.
We may gawk at the “discussion questions” found in those pesky white envelopes, and pray it is not our own work when we are forced to look at tutor logs. But when it is all said and done, you know as well as I do, that you walk away learning something new; more importantly, something you can apply in your own tutoring later on. So the next time a retreat rolls around, try not to think about it as a “mandatory work thing”. Instead, look it as coffee or drinks with friends. Except instead of relationships, work and politics, the subject matter is simply the UCWbL.