English Department - Composition
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Gail, Lead Writing Tutor
My name is Gail Stevenson, and became a writing tutor here at Lane Community College in the winter of 2000 when I was a student working on my direct transfer to the University of Oregon. I was lucky to be able to work here as a tutor all through my university education until I earned my master's degree in 2009. Now, as a writing instructor, I still value my position as a writing tutor. Working with students one-on-one always feels special to me. I enjoy guiding students into the conventions of college writing, often having to calm their anxieties, and giving them the tools and the freedom to express their own voices, voices many never knew they were allowed to use. I love empowering students. That is what tutoring is all about for me.
I have always had a drive to help, and tutoring is an extension of that drive. Even when I was a child, I was always excited to teach something I had just learned. This is why I want to be teacher. I am going to earn an English degree and then pursue a master's degree in education. My main goal as an English teacher is to bring literature to everyone, and as a writing tutor, I am gaining much needed knowledge and experience in my desired field.
When clients come to me needing help, the first thing I try to figure out is what they are trying to do. This is more obvious when it comes to grammar work sheets but not so easy when it comes to an essay or a speech. In this case, I ask the clients what they are trying to tell the readers. I work with a wide range of people, and the most commonly asked questions have to do with grammar, transitions, organization, and thesis statements. I also encourage clients to read because it is the best way to improve all aspects of writing. To help lead students to their own answers, I also ask questions. Some of their issues are resolved with a simple explanation of their assignment.
I am caring and patient person who works hard in the Writing Center and really enjoys the work. I would have to say the most satisfying moment in tutoring was something really simple. A client told me he always feels smarter after working with me. That, right there, is why I am doing this. I want people to feel smart and confident. If I can help them get there, then I am doing my part in the world. This does not only apply to writing. I can also tutor basic levels of many subjects including science or even math.
I have recently earned my CRLA master tutor certificate from Lane's tutoring services coordinator, Liz Coleman. I enjoyed this training because I learned so much I can apply to my career. I really enjoy my job and hope to keep it as long as possible. I feel it is a great fit for me, and I sincerely hope my clients are getting as much out of it as I am. Truly, I am doing this to help people because I feel that is what we should all do. If we all tried to make the people around us feel as secure and confident in their knowledge as we do, then the world would be a much better place.
Welcome to the Writing Center. Like many of you attending Lane, I am a non-traditional student and understand both the challenges and rewards of pursuing a higher education later in life. As a tutor, I have been trained to encourage the students I work with to learn the skills and techniques needed to make the next assignment easier. Every part of the writing process, from brainstorming to perfecting source citations, is important. Most students have stronger skills in some areas and weaker skills in others. One of my favorite activities as a tutor in the Writing Center is helping students to recognize their strengths and coaching them on ways to improve. I am amazed and inspired by the academic and personal growth that students experience over the course of a term. College is a place to discover new ways of seeing the world. When you come to the Writing Center, my goal is to help you develop effective writing skills so that you can give voice to your unique point of view.
This is the fourth term I have worked as a writing tutor at Lane Community College. In my previous life I was a social worker and counselor who spent thirty-two years working in Eugene, Oregon. Following my retirement, quite unexpectedly, the opportunity to work as a writing tutor fell into my lap. I soon realized that, although I lacked experience as a teacher, my background as a social worker had given me skills I could apply to tutoring. Most of my positions placed a high priority on providing one-on-one interactions and forming a working connection with those receiving my services. In particular, my work counseling first-generation college students at the University of Oregon Educational Opportunity Program most closely resembles my current work as a writing tutor at Lane and was my favorite position in my career. Being an advocate for my clients was a role I cherished, namely hearing what changes they thought were needed and then working with them to ensure their voices were heard.
In much the same way, I am hoping to hear the writing students' voices in their written communication and to make suggestions that will facilitate their growth as writers. As a tutor I have come to believe learning to write requires a healthy compromise between sweat and inspiration as well as discipline, practice, and when lucky, a highly focused absorption in the process of writing. Too much self-conscious focus on the final product can detract form the gestalt of students' work, and I believe readers can sense when this form of disconnection between writers and their work has occurred. Essentially, the writer's voice becomes distant and the writer's thoughts and message less urgent, less coherent, and less intimate.
So, my main objective is to ensure students' voices and messages are fully heard by their readers, and their essays meet the requirements of their writing teachers. Each tutoring session allows students an opportunity to find better ways to frame thoughts, explore feelings, and support thesis statements through essays written in a dynamic, organized, articulate, and convincing manner. In all likelihood, both students and tutors will take away from this brief but highly focused exchange a deeper understanding of the learning process as well as a sense of awe for the creative process of writing.
Ultimately, the connection between me, the student, and the student's writing, if successful, should contain practical, technical, as well as inspirational content that moves the student's work-in-progress to a new level of satisfaction. This is the spirit of tutoring I most enjoy, and I believe students appreciate and respond to.
I've loved reading ever since I learned how. Once it clicked, I started reading salad dressing labels at the dinner table, and then quickly moved on to books. I grew up reading Harry Potter and Encyclopedia Brown in grade school, and from there I've read every genre I can think of. It was only natural that I started writing as well. By middle school, I was hooked.
The first time I took a class at Lane, I was fourteen years old. At the ripe young age of sixteen, I left high school forever and finished my degree here. At that point I took some time off school and spent a month in California. When I came back to Eugene, I decided to volunteer at Ridgeline Montessori School, where I was subsequently hired as a substitute teacher. I split my time between teaching, writing, and socializing.
Since then I've come back to school, where I was hired as a writing tutor. Just one term later, I was brought on as a copy editor for The Torch. I love my jobs (yes, all of them) because I get personal satisfaction from helping people learn, whether they're six years old or sixty. I believe communication is very important in all aspects of life, and improving those skills is never a wasted effort.
Hello! I'm Jessica, a student here at Lane Community College, who has always loved writing. My grandma was an English teacher, and she sparked my interest in both writing and literature at an early age. In high school, that love of writing got me on to the school's newspaper staff as a feature writer. In my senior year I was promoted to editor and chief, which I found both challenging and fun. Now here at Lane, I have been given the amazing opportunity to be a tutor in the Writing Center. I absolutely love this job! Students come in with their own stories, writing styles, and problems. I have a great time helping them wade through their own writing processes. The question I receive most often is, "Does that make sense?" I find it immensely satisfying to help students make their opinions, stories, and beliefs clear and concise. I am helping people express themselves and what is important to them, and I am so thankful for that opportunity. I am a business major with plans to transfer to Portland State University and eventually own my own bookstore. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying taking as many literature and writing classes as possible.
I am preparing to graduate with my AAOT and complet my Bachelor Degree at the University of Oregon. In order to help others reach their own goals, I tutor writing in Tutor Central's Writing Center. I've only tutored through one term, but I immediately fell in love with it. The only thing more rewarding than accomplishing my goals is to help others reach theirs. And that's what I do every time I help a fellow student with a writing project, whether it's understanding grammar terms, polishing an essay, learning MLA formatting, or just giving them the encouragement they need to persevere. We all struggle sometimes, but there is always someone out there who loves those subjects with which we struggle, people who are willing to help.
My greatest strength is my willingness to search for resources that may be available to help. There are many resources available through LCC and, through the Tutor Training classes I'm taking, I'm learning about more every term. I share these with those I tutor to complement my many years of personal experience in writing. So stop by and ask what a tutor can do to help you.