A blog for tutors to share their ideas, experiences, and insights.

Author Archives: thoughtsoftheundefined

I liked this form of blogging. I had started my own blog on wordpress over the summer so I was used to the format and felt more comfortable writing in this atmosphere. I feel like I express more of what is on my mind through a blog. In a class full of people I know, I might be a little more quiet or more careful of what I say. On a blog I don’t fully know who my audience is other than that they’re college students, I feel like there’s more freedom on here. Although I know our professors will be looking at this, it doesn’t feel like big brother is watching. Therefore, my tone for blogging is just how I think. However, I still feel the need to write slightly formal.

I liked that this gave us an opportunity to talk to students from other campuses in a similar class. We were able to hear different opinions and have discussions through the comments. It was like Peer Tutors 2.0 being able to connect with other writing centers. It would be neat if we could actually see the other classes through something like Skype and have a class discussion that way. However, this could be better because then everyone would get a chance to talk.


Over this semester about 90 percent of my tutees were ESL students. I wanted to my research paper on something related to them. One of my biggest challenges was trying to understand their language to help them understand how it’s different from English. For example, I took five years of French. Let’s say a French speaking student came into the writing center and it became evident in their paper that she was trying to conjugate the verbs like they do in the French language. To make words plural it’s not as easy as adding an “s” to the end of a word. With my experience I would be able to understand where she got the idea to write like that and it would be easier for me to explain how it’s different in English.

So I could do my project on being open to the many languages and forms of writing in other countries.

My other idea would be to about explaining the rules of grammar effectively. As native English speakers, we don’t think too much about the odd rules of English. English is one of the hardest languages to learn because of all of the exceptions to different rules. For example, the plural of goose is geese, but the plural to moose is not meese. David and Matt want to go to London. However Jack wants to go to Italy.

I’m still brainstorming ideas, but I definitely want to write about ESL students because that is who I’ve had most of my experience with. I’m open to any suggestions.


I feel like I already separate myself from my own opinion to tutor. It doesn’t matter what I believe. It’s the same as a professor. If they have their students write about who they’re going to vote for the election and why, they can’t fail all the students with a different opinion than the professor’s. They need to be open-minded.

I will admit, it would be very hard for me to read a paper that completely disproves something dear to me like Christianity. If someone were to write a paper about the disbelief in God creating the heavens and the Earth, I actually might want to read it to hear what they have to say. However, I would have to hold back my opinions on the matter and my urge to persuade them otherwise. Instead of focusing on what I believe is wrong, I would try to keep in mind what the student wants to focus on. If they want to focus on grammar or structure, that’s where my focus will be. Not whether they’re right or wrong. If he or she wants to focus on content then I have to separate myself from my beliefs and try to look at it from his point of view.

On the other hand, being from the opposite side of the the matter, I might be of more assistance in helping them create a better argument. For example, if I can easily prove a fact wrong based on my knowledge I can tell him he needs a stronger argument. Instead of saying, “based on my belief you’re wrong,” I could just have him look at that particular argument in his paper. That way I can help him brainstorm a better argument or make his opinion stronger.

So depending on what the student wants to focus on, I could look at it from their point of view. If they need help on the content I can help them make sure they have strong arguments. Either way, the paper belongs to the student. It’s their thoughts and their words. I’m only there to guide them in the right direction. It doesn’t matter if we have the same opinion, I’m there to help.



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.



Hello everyone, I’m Elizabeth. I’m part of the Peer Tutoring in writing at the Penn State Berks campus. I’m looking forward to learning how to interact and become a part of the writing center on campus. I have never tutored professionally, but I do enjoy helping my friends in any way I can with writing. Professional writing is my major so I am ready to use all that I have learned and the skills I have developed over the years to help my fellow peers. I will try my best to remain open and willing to learn the criteria to become a successful and helpful tutor. I look forward to the blogs to come and the people we’ll interact with.