The Everyday Writing Center is designed to be informational and helpful for tutors and directors of writing centers. There are some really good points within the pages. There are also some things that fall flat (at least for me).
I’ll start off with the main attempt that fell flat for me so I can end my thoughts more positively. While chapter two, titled, “Trickster at Your Table” has some really good points such as crossing boundaries to reach and tutor students, the whole idea of a trickster seemed forced. This trickster idea keeps getting referred to throughout the book. So while I could see where the authors wanted to go with this idea, I felt like I was being dragged along rather than buying into it.This is not to say that the chapter did not have some great advice. On the contrary, there was an ingenious idea a tutor used to help a non-native English speaker with their vocabulary by playing Scrabble. Playing Scrabble is not exactly what you think would go on during a writing session, but the tutor took the time to get to know the students like, and Scrabble was on of them as was expanding their vocabulary.
Chapter three dealt with how time is viewed and used in the writing center. The authors broke time into two sections: mechanical and body. Ultimately, this chapter is about how “tutors live time differently…” and how “[t]hings take as long as they take.” This sounds oversimplified, and it is, so I encourage you to read the chapter for yourself. Personally, I think some of the advice and insight the authors give would be good for anyone, not just tutors and students.
While chapter five focuses on writers as tutors and tutors as writers, the biggest takeaway I got from this chapter was a short sentence, “Identity is not static.” This stood out to me because much of what we discuss in class is how to keep a student from losing part (or all) of their identity, particularly those from other cultures and backgrounds that are quite different from the American Standard English and collegiate form of writing. This idea of identity being more fluid caused me to try to think of ways to teach that both, exposed a student to a new way of writing yet did not annihilate what and whom they brought to the table. Which brought me back to a quote at the beginning of the chapter and the best way I could think to close this blog post:
“The writers who come to our centers and the tutors who work in them bring us everyday gifts of themselves and of their communities of practice, communities where they live outside of “normal” school time (and where they experience that “eternal ‘now,'” places where writing occurs in epochal time).”