I, Patrick Garrett, am tutoring for the first time ever. I must say that after only working in the Writing Center for two weeks, I have learned a great deal. So far, I have had the great honor of getting to help more than a few people with their various writing tasks. I was nervous at first, but I was able to use some of the suggestions that were given in the new tutor orientation readings. The readings were quite helpful, I must say. Jerica, another of our brilliant tutors, coached me through a mock tutoring session before I was assigned my first tutee. This practice session allowed me to get a feel for the back and forth that the conversational art of tutoring requires.
Recently, I had a ESL student. This session was quite an eye-opening experience. Reading the student's paper, I realized that I could understand what she was trying to communicate, but that there were just some of the common errors which occur when someone is trying to learn a foreign language. Many of these error related, understandably, to grammar. However, I noticed right away that the essay was organized well and was very engaging and interesting in terms of content. I told the student that her writing reminded me of when I was taking French and had to try to write essays in that language(my writing in French had more errors than this student's writing did, I might add). Then, I directed her to a writer's reference manual, pointing out the different areas of grammar that she was encountering problems with. What an interesting session!