From University of Maine Tutor Alumni

Sample Responses

Question # 1. What are the most significant abilities, values, or skills that you developed in your work as a peer writing tutor?

My time as a peer tutor honed my skills in being able to focus on the “heart” of a writing project, and to develop a writing strategy (mine and others’) of targeting a project to its intended audience–considering what information it is fair to consider as “common knowledge” and what arguments need to be made above and beyond that shared information. I developed methods of interviewing writers that led to discovering the purpose of the writing project. And I developed an internal value system that acknowledges the significance of all writing, and attributes all writing with recognition of its important status in the thought process.


Question # 3. Did those abilities, values or skills that you developed as a peer tutor seem to be a factor in your choice of job or graduate work? Would you elaborate?

As difficult as it is for me to conceive, almost 20 years have elapsed since my first stint as a peer tutor in the Writing Lab. What might be slightly less amazing is that, in many ways, the extraordinary experience that began in Neville Hall–of writing and talking about writing with other writers–never ended.

A few months after graduation, I landed a free-lance writing position at my hometown newspaper, and it wasn’t long before I was hired as a full-time copy editor. I found myself working with material of every imaginable level of quality, and with professional and amateur writers of varying degrees of talent. All the skills I had begun to hone with my peers at Orono would evolve into the tools I worked with every day in this ‘‘real world.’’

More than 18 years later, I can say that my professional life and my relationships to my peers have been shaped and, in large part, sustained by those same growing skills. I’m a better copy editor because I can talk to reporters (and photographers) about the ideas they’re trying to relate, and I can help them discover how to tell those stories more effectively. I’m a better headline writer because I can choose the words that convey the meaning of our shared knowledge and experience. I’m a better newspaper page designer because I can communicate the sum of that process–visually and literallyto readers.

No workday goes by, quite frankly, without some echo of what I learned as a peer tutor.