I would consider my English 004 teacher to be my cultural informant. She wasn’t anything like the high school English teachers I was used to. Instead of taking our hands and guiding us to a perfect paper, she had us work by ourselves and ask our peers for help.
Signing up for my first semester of college, I wasn’t sure how challenging the work was going to be. I assumed the worst, and scheduled myself for English 004 to be on the safe side. Although it didn’t count for anything towards my major the teacher helped immensely with preparing me for all the writing that college would entail. Entering the college life in the Professional Writing major, I considered myself an expert. The grade on my first paper was quick to inform me that I was wrong. I wasn’t a fan of rewriting or of someone marking up my paper. However, that was what we did majority of the class. If we had any questions about grammar, format, spelling, whatever, we could not rely on the teacher. We were forced to ask our fellow students or use the references available. She showed us the beauty that was Purdue Owl. The site has everything a writer could ever need. Having us rely more on ourselves and to have as many people as we can find to read our drafts made me the writer I am today. Her motto was, “Never fall in love at first draft.” I used to hand in my first drafts as my final drafts, now I even edit the school paper and I’m striving for an editing job after graduation.
As a tutor, I want to help people in a similar manner. I want them to feel like they’ve done majority of the work on their own, with just a little shove from me. I won’t be as strict with how much I help them, but I don’t want to hold their hand through it all either. They have what it takes to become a great writer, they just need someone to point them in the right direction. Letting go of my first draft and being able to accept criticism was a major step for me. Some may just need a boost of confidence about their writing, others may need just the opposite. I want to help these students reach their personal goals in writing. I always start them off with Purdue Owl as a guide, just as my teacher did.