In the past month, I have attended two training sessions for us writing tutors. The first session I attended was lead by Elin, a Liaison Librarian in the Library here on campus. Elin explained when we as writing tutors can help students with research assignments, and when it is outside of our experitse. As tutors, we want to do everything that we can to help our tutees. That is our job, and what we enjoy doing, as well as what the tutee is seeing us for. I always feel badly when I have to tell a tutee that I can’t help them with something. I don’t want to disappoint them, or push them away from the Learning Center services accidentally. It is so important to recognize your own limits, though, because we can’t help someone if we don’t know something ourselves.
So, when do we help our tutees with their research assignments? We are very limited in this situation. Personally, it takes one minute for me to show my tutee where they can find the research tools on the Feinberg Library Page on the Plattsburgh website. After that, I focus on other aspects on their paper since they need to research themselves and can do that in their free time, as I’m there to help them with the rest of their paper. I have had students start researching right there in the appointment, and it has been awkward to wait for them to find one they like, but at least they are still doing the work themselves, some just need a small push in the right direction.
We cannot help them do the actual research, though, and we should not spend excessive amount of time focused on how to research. This is when we should direct them to the Librarians, who are trained to help students with this very thing. Again, it is hard to tell a student that you can’t help them, but the Librarians will be able to help them much more than we can when it comes to researching itself.
It was really awesome to learn these things. I have never been in a situation where I have had to help a student research, but I know that others have, and it is a weird situation when figuring out what to do. The training session also taught me a lot more about the extent of the research tools that the library has to offer, and I think this is important to share with you all!
Just the other night I attended the other training session involving how to help students with their Cover Letters or Resumes for Job applications. I took a business class in high school that gave me all these skills, of how to create cover letters and resumes, but I have realized a lot of people have not had that opportunity. I still learned a lot about formatting especially during the meeting, and what to expect from students who are making these for the first time. I have not had any tutees looking for help on these particular things, but again, I know some tutors who have. These are really useful things to know, and to be honest, I didn’t even think of cover letters and resumes being pieces that I could possibly see from a tutee during an appointment until the training session. Now, these things are on my radar, whereas they weren’t before and I believe that I would have been caught very offguard if I hadn’t been informed of the possibility.
These are really important things to keep in mind while tutoring, especially because a lot of times, students do not give a description of the assignment they want to work on during the appointment in Cardinal star, and that leaves us tutors not knowing what to expect or how to prepare properly. Being prepared in this way with this new knowlege is wonderful, and something I was always keep in mind during any of my sessions.