Maintaining Control

Until last week, I had never formally been tutored in writing. The writing studio tutoring session began as I would imagine most do. I read my paper aloud while Zack, my tutor, followed along on his own copy, making slight notes here and there as we moved through the paper. When I finished reading, we addressed the issues I felt needed to be addressed. Zack didn’t bring up any concerns outside of ones I had already voiced. In fact, I don’t think I can actually pinpoint a specific instance in which he exhibited any sort of control over my text. Maybe it happened coincidentally that he and I both noticed the points of my paper that needed attention. Even so, I feel like Zack truly understood that “tutors need to be aware of the rhetorical complexity – both interpersonal and intertextual – that any given tutorial can entail” (153). He was very good about showing me how to fix my paper instead of fixing it for me. He asked me questions that made me think instead of just giving me the answer.

 For instance, in one paragraph of my paper, I tried to incorporate a metaphor. While I love reading and analyzing metaphors, I’m not great at writing them. Mine was weak and forced. It would’ve been so easy for Zack to tell me to scrap the metaphor, but he didn’t. Instead, he helped me see how the reader might be confused by the metaphor. We then worked together to brainstorm the different directions in which I could go: I could’ve omitted the metaphor entirely, or I could’ve shortened it. I could’ve reframed the metaphor, or I could’ve left it as was.

Never did Zack try to force me down one path or another. Throughout our session, I constantly felt like I was in charge of my paper and that any changes I made would be of my own accord. To answer the prompt more directly, I would say that authority and control were never an issue in my tutoring session. I was very lucky to have a tutor who so accurately understood how to give me the guidance I needed without imposing his opinions upon my text. 

I put together a short Prezi to help map the tutoring session I shared with Zack. In it, I’ve included a “before and after” look at the paragraph and metaphor referenced in my post.