October 9

Our Mission

At the Patriot Writing Center, we offer continuous encouragement and support to help students at any skill level improve their writing abilities. As Writing Tutors, we learn alongside our students, evolving with our experiences. We hope our efforts will lead to a positive change in attitude towards writing.

-PWC Tutors, 2015

Location: Lab 207

Time: 3rd Block, all lunches

Walk-in Policy

June 7

Year Conclusion

As the Indian filmaker Desakai once wrote “No man’s life can be summed up in its entirety in one telling”. Likewise, one year at the writing center cannot be adequately summarized by me in a few short paragrahs. Nevertheless, I shall make a brave attempt. The year began with instruction on what I now believe to be common sense. We began with “How to greet a tutor” and eventually reached tutoring advice. Nothing at this particular point interested me about the class, but what convinced me to stay was the practice tutoring sessions. These tutoring sesssions were great experiences, I was put into the role of both the tuttee and the tutor. During this session, while I was tutoring, I realized the types of useful skills that I could pick up from tutoring, and how useful it could be. Essentially, I realized that it was something that I could do, thus I stuck with it for an entire year.

The most rewarding experience that occurred for me happenned a while back, early in the school year.  I do not remember the particular date or the tutees face from the time, or even their name. I do remember the topics that we discussed on that day. At this time, I was a new tutor, still uncomfortable about what to do and unsure of myself. I was really worried about how successful I would be in this particular session, specifically, because I had never been much of a communicator. Anyhow, when the tutor walked in, sat next to me and told me that they needed help with prewriting, I breathed a sigh of relief. Of all of the skills that I have acquired, I can without a doubt, name prewriting as my greatest. Little by little I edged the tutee on, suggesting hints and tidbits, until eventually they had completed the prewriting job. Due to this tutoring session, I achieved a sense of confidence about my skills, the feeling of success that I felt after this session boosted me. Due to this session I gained the confidence that I had lacked and am all the better for it.

Tutoring has changed the way that I view writing assignments of any sort. A few years back, when I began writing, I would always prewrite. Even if I knew exactly what to do about the prompt, I would still prewrite. However, as time went on, my writing became more spontaneous. I would sit there and think, then out of the blue and idea would come and I would shoot off with it, reaching the conclusion before I knew it. Since I received good marks on these papers, that were generated spontaneously, my prewriting habits fell into disuse. I would hear teachers speak about how important it was to prewrite, but I felt that there advice wasn’t suited for me. After all, I was doing well without it. However, when I tutored at the patriot writing center I came to realize how essential it was for a person to prewrite. Numerous times, I witnessed the miracles that happened to a young tutee that was suffering under writers block. I came to realize how important prewriting was, and due to these experiences,  I have always prewritten before an essay.

Unfortunately, I will not be taking part as a tutor at the patriot writing center next year. I learned many skills in lab 207, communicating not being the least of them. Before I go, I wish to impart some words of wisdom to those that may follow in my footsteps.  That sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it. Anyhow, patience is ALWAYS a virtue. One of the most important things for a tutor to realize, is that the results of their efforts make take some time to appear. You will likely meet some tutees who will show up next year, with a bad attitude about them, be patient and hopefully you will succeed. Also, never give up. If the tutee is unresponsive to your efforts, try a different approach, eventually one will appear that will work. Finally, If all else fails, go and get help. This is something that proves to be tremendously useful in tutoring sessions, after all, two heads are better than one.

With that, I would like to say thank you to Ms.Gray and everybody at the patriot writing center, for the great school year. I wish good luck to the future tutors and hope that you all have a great summer.

June 4

Summer Break

The Patriot Writing Center is now closed for the 2015-2016 school year. We will return

If you have a “writing emergency,” you may email Ms. Gray directly at LGRAY@LCPS.ORG to schedule an appointment.

Thank you, Park View, for making this a great first year!

June 3

Looking Back

I would like to thank all of the people who made this year of writing center possible. Thank you to Ms. Gray, my fellow tutor colleagues, and last but not least, the wonderful students who have given me the opportunity to be apart of their writing journey.

One of the most rewarding experiences that I have gotten the pleasure of experiencing this year was helping one of my tutees unlock her writing potential. I remember when this one particular student came into the writing center with the greatest attitude. She was very intent on not only getting her paper done, but getting it done well. To who I shouldn’t name due to confidentiality reasons, I hope you know who you are, because it is you who has inspired me to take on a new perspective to life in general.

This student wasn’t the worst at writing, nor was she the best, and she knew that of herself. In knowing what she struggled with, she listened intently, smiled politely, and was humble in critiquing herself whenever I asked her, “What do you think you need to fix here?”. Due to her exemplary attitude, she quickly made progress and utilized her newly taught skills. Previously, I suggested ideas and ways to link them together, whereas now, my tutee was developing her own style at the speed of light. I realized that the writer who stepped in at the beginning of the session was not going to be the same writer who would later step out.

Would I take credit for what I had experienced? Yes, yes I would take partial credit. I don’t mean to brag in any way, but I will share with you what I did to encourage this specific tutee to break out of her shell, or at least what I think helped. I let her make her own decisions, and if there was something that I felt that she could do better, I’d ask why she chose to do what she did. I feel that that is one of my most effective tutoring strategies. Do not force, but ask. Do not criticize, but encourage. Lastly, do not rebuke, but suggest something new. I hope future tutors will heed my advice and understand that the most important thing about being a tutor is not to stick to your ideal way of completing something, but to entertain new possibilities so that your end result will be bigger and better than you could have ever imagined on your own.

A question I commonly get asked is, “How do you maintain your patience when dealing with weak or stubborn writers?”. I think of myself. Yes, that may seem narcissistic, but looking back at myself five years ago, I can recollect the feelings of frustration and embarassment that I felt as a poor writer. You see, I was never blessed with superior writing skills, and to this day, I realize that there are so many things that I want to improve upon my writing. It will take time, it will take effort, and it will take patience. However, I believe that there is a reason for everything, so I try my best to sympathize for those who are struggling.

I once tutored someone who was fairly weak at organizing their writing. They would do things like write the conclusion sentence at the  middle of the paragraph and introduce a new topic in the last sentence. I remember feeling over the edge and antsy. Worst off, they were stubborn and rude. I didn’t feel like I had a good handle on taking control of the situation. So, I took a deep breath, centered myself, and gave examples to relay the point that I was trying to get across. The tutee loosened up. She listened. She changed. This experience taught me that sometimes, it takes hearing mistakes in a different context to see the light. I would suggest to anyone in my shoes to not be too intent on targeting one flaw. Instead, try presenting your point of view in a different light, and perhaps you and those around you will see the light at the end of the tunnel too.

Best of luck on your writing journey. Have a wonderful, safe summer (and stay humble),

-Iris

 

 

 

May 31

A Final Entry (and Reflection)

 

Over the course of the school year I’ve learned numerous skills and a substantial amount of information. In the Patriot Writing Center I’ve learned many things about writing such as correct grammar, how to cite correctly, etc. Along with that I’ve learned important tactics to tackle writing assignments such as pre-writing. I apply all this when I tutor tutees which then strengthened my writing as well as that of the tutee. It’s nice to help people, and know that you have directly impacted their life (big or small). I think one of my favorite moments is when I helped a student who took AP Lang. I’m planning on taking the class next year and this gave mean insight on what the class was like. At the end of the session the tutee had said even though I don’t take the class I still helped quite a bit. I thought that this really goes to show that we all have different skills no matter our writing level. There truly is always room for improvement.

My perception of writing has changed as well. Before I saw writing as a task at hand and something that just “had to be done”, or something one might do for fun. I never realized how much complexity there really is when writing. Some people may see writing and panic and not know what to do. Published works aren’t the first drafts, they had to go through revision after revision. My job is to help people find their writing process. Everyone has their own style. Regardless of someone’s abilities there is something I can teach to the tutee to help better their writing process.

Most often tutees come to the Patriot Writing Center because they’re stuck. Typically because they’re having trouble coming up with ideas and brainstorming. Before the Patriot Writing Center launched I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to help students with ideas, as I’m not well with thinking on the spot. However I’ve learned how to help. Usually I ask to see a rubric or examples. It was best to see these as it made it easier to convey to do the student what points they needed to hit. Other times students are stuck in the middle of their essay unsure of what to do next. For these tutees I try to break down the assignment and help them organize it. Once the ideas are organized it helps them keep track on what to write next.

I believe the addition of tutors who could help with ELL students would have a great impact. As many of our students are ELL it would be substantial if we could help the vast group of students. Expanding our operating time to include 7th block would also be accommodating for students. This also could allow for more tutors to apply for the Patriot Writing Center. Making our own page for writing resources would allow for students to find solutions quickly when they’re not able to visit. The process of making these resources also would help improve our own skills.

Overall, I’m glad I joined the Patriot Writing Center and I’m excited to see what next year will bring.

May 31

Looking Back on the 2015-2016 School Year

As the school year comes to an end, it is a time for us all to reflect on all of the things that have happened this year. There were many good and bad things that took place this school year, but I like to believe that being a Patriot Writing Center tutor was one of the better things. It is really rewarding to know that I’ve helped quite a few people this school year. Although it was no walk in the park, it taught me a lot of valuable lessons that will do me good in the future.

At the beginning of the school year, I was very anxious to beging tutoring people. I was excited to be able to help people, but I was also scared because, quite frankly, I’m a writer, not a talker. I was scared that I would freeze and not be able to think of anything to say, and that did happen a few times in the beginning of the year. But, as the year progressed, I was able to get past my anxiety and help students mostly with revising their essays. Being a writing tutor taught me that, it’s not going to be easy at first, but if you don’t give up, then you’ll get the hang of it eventually.

Being a writing tutor also taught me a lot about writing (believe it or not). The most important thing about my writing that I learned was that the way I go about writing, which up until this school year was just writing it all in one go, wasn’t an efficient way to write an essay. I learned that there are steps you take one at a time to break it all down into a simple process. Before this school year, I would procrastinate and stress about writing, but now I will do pre-writing such as brainstorming, free-writing, and outlining, which has greatly improved my writing.

I also learned, as a writing tutor, how to work with others. Being a tutor requires a lot of patience and cooperation, which are key to surviving in the real world. You have to be able to communicate, and have an understanding between both the tutor and the tutee about what they need help with. This is probably one of the most important things that I’ve learned this school year.

It has been such an interesting school year, and I’m glad that I could spend it being a tutor at the Patriot Writing Center. I have learned many valuable things from tutoring that I will definitely make use of when I go to college next year.

January 5

How to Become a Better Writer #HalloweenDiction

Practice. The unprofound, and hated truth.

Well believe it or not, with every passing year as we complete essay after strenuous essay in our English classes, we are indeed getting better. Initially progress is slow, as we’re occupied by the technicalities-  learning that bare bones  structure of an essay, those infernal do’s and don’ts of grammar, and so on. But after these concepts have bled through our consciousness, as to have become second nature,  we’re able to find voice in our writing. We’re able to develop our own style, and moor away from the rules adding flesh to our works.

Maybe you’ll never love writing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be good at it. Read, learn new words be inspired by others, find you voice. And most of all, never be discouraged by a bad grade. Think of failure as an opportunity to get better- by coming to the writing center!!

December 14

PWC Closed on December 18

The Patriot Writing Center tutors want to wish the students and faculty of PVHS a very happy Winter Break. We will be OPEN this week on Monday and Wednesday during 3rd block, so make your appointment today. 

54301506

We will be closed on December 18th so that we can enjoy the school spirit festivities.

Visit the PVHS Library for details about the Winter Reading Challenge!

Visit the PVHS Library for details about the Winter Reading Challenge!

Please participate in the PVHS Winter Reading Challenge! Visit the library for details!

December 11

How to Defeat Writer’s Block!

Hypothetical (or, perhaps, actual) situation: You’re a student, and you have a paper to write.  You sit down at your desk and begin your assignment. However, a disaster occurs! You find yourself unable to come up with something to write about. Your mind draws blanks as to what should be discussed in your paper. You have, what they call, a terrible case of writer’s block. You start to panic. Whatever will you do? The answer: write.

I know, it sounds paradoxical. You don’t know what to write about, so you just start writing. It seems contradictory, but believe me, it’s the only solution to the problem. If you put off the writing until later, you will keep putting it off until the night before the paper is due without a clue of what to write about. There is no way around it. You can only get through by combating the issue head on. Thus, in order to defeat writer’s block, you write.

So you write. You write about anything. You write about trees, airplanes, turtles. You write about how your day went. You write about your thoughts on the assignment. You write about your writer’s block. You write whatever comes to your mind on a particular subject. The bottom line is: you write.

And don’t worry if what you write looks like a word vomit mess. There are two reasons why this solution works:

  1. You get the gears in your head moving
  2. You can find little bits of good information from your writing that you can put in your paper

You know what to do. You look at that word vomit mess. You look at it, and just like any painting by Jackson Pollock (an artist famous for his paintings that honestly look like a mess), you will find some sort of beauty there. In this case, beauty means something you can use for your paper. And you take that beauty, that information, and you work from there.

And that is how you defeat writer’s block.

December 8

Poetry about Writing

Writing poems is not hard, you don’t have to be a bard.

Sometimes when I’m writing, I get terribly afraid.

That all I’m doing is summing up, what others have to say.

I get worried that originality, is not my great forte.

So I go to my bed and lie there, until ideas come my way.

When they come, I think and say,

“Why could they not come yesterday?”

After that, goes by another day,

Before my work is done.

As I finish working on the grand sum,

I end up thinking,

“Oh boy, that was fun.”