In my scholarly experience at Wright State University, I have had the opportunity to gain an enormous level of appreciation and understanding relating to the teaching of college writing. As an English major with a concentration in TESOL, I have developed an awareness of the complexity and importance of sound pedagogy in the writing classroom. Furthermore, developing and refining an effective pedagogical approach to writing has been integral to my work as a Lead Writing Consultant in the University Writing Center, a position that I have proudly held for 3 years during my undergraduate studies. This experience at the Writing Center largely contributed to the success of my TEFL internship in the summer of 2014, which required me to create and administer original coursework, lessons, and authentic writing assessments for non-native English speakers at the high school and college levels. Additionally, in 2015, I was an Artist in Residence at Stivers School for the Arts in Dayton, where I lectured on the subjects of writing and linguistics. This residency at Stivers resulted in one of my proudest moments as an educator, in which I successfully engaged a large group of high school freshmen to critically dissect and enthusiastically discuss the complicated linguistic topic of phonosemantics in relation to poetry.
The knowledge that I have gained from these experiences as a Writing Consultant, an intern, a lecturer, and a TESOL major has also been supplemented by my experience as a student in the writing classroom as well. When I arrived for my first class at Wright State in 2012, I recall being nervous, confused, and intimidated by the advanced quality that I knew would be expected of my written work. My first English professor once explained that I would be asked to construct an argument in my paper, and I remember being perplexed. I asked her, “Why do I have to argue? Can't I just be polite?” Clearly, I was gravely unfamiliar with many facets of composition and rhetoric during that initial stage of my college education, and yet only a short time later, I would be considered a writing resource for hundreds of my fellow students, a leader among the university's most skilled writers working at the Writing Center, and a writer whose literary criticism would be worthy of publication in the university's literary review. I remind myself of this whenever I interact with students: that every student, regardless of their background or prior knowledge, possesses the ability to write with skill and eloquence. Doing so is only a matter of actively working to overcome one's own surmountable confusion and ultimately viewing composition as a formulaic system of direct human communication.
The importance of demystifying the writing process has been central to my approach when working with students. More often than not, students truly possess the necessary skills to comprehend the systematic nature of writing, but are confused and intimidated by rhetorical terms like counterargument or pedantic grammatical terms like past perfect progressive tense and the like. In my opinion, individually-targeted pedagogy is the key to successfully imparting concepts such as these. Certainly, a student interested in Mechanical Engineering, for example, is fully capable of tackling highly complex ideas; why then should this student ever be presented with information about writing that bypasses, accidentally or not, the very mechanisms that allow his or her brain to understand thermodynamics or the workings of a jet engine? In essence, the process by which the student comes to understand his or her favorite subject should be the foundation for the process by which we teach writing and language arts. This requires the educator to accurately assess the student's individual style of learning, then use this assessment data to create targeted strategies for delivering course content accordingly.
As a tutor at Varsity Tutors, my ultimate goal will be to surpass the typical expectations placed upon this position and to ensure that the students I work with will come away with more knowledge and confidence as a result of having me for their tutor. My students can expect a high degree of quality, structure, and attention, as well as a formidable challenge that will allow them to become better writers, better scholars, and better citizens. Drawing from my knowledge of pedagogy, assessment, linguistics, and English language acquisition, I intend to nurture the abilities of my students in order for them to be exceptionally prepared to meet the challenges of not only their academic coursework, but the ever-demanding and continually-evolving world that lies ahead of them.
Wright State University-Main Campus - Bachelors, English