Saint Mary's University Writing Centre

Halifax, NS

Professor Complaints in the Tutoring Center

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Kaplan University

Molly Wright Starkweather, Kaplan University Tutor

As a writing center tutor, I sometimes see students come in for help with a chip on their shoulder. They feel wronged, whether in the wording of an assignment or with an accusation of plagiarism. They might identify their tutoring need as “help me with my APA,” but what they are really in search of is a sounding board to air their grievances. They might not even realize this unconscious ulterior motive, which reveals itself early on in the tutoring session, giving tutors the opportunity to choose one (or more) of several tutor-tried-and-true ways to get the session back on track:

  1. Draw a firm line. Some tutors will hear a student stray into professor-bashing and will allow only two “characters” in setting the agenda for the tutoring session, and those are the student and the writing task at hand. If a student has…

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