CAHSS Faculty Articles

Tutors Teaching Directors about Professionalism



Publication Title

Praxis: A Writing Center Journal



Publication Date

Fall 2009



Last spring, as a graduate student working as one of our writing center's assistant directors, I put together a panel for the East Central Writing Centers Association's annual conference. The panel included myself, another graduate student, and an undergraduate tutor. As I look back on that experience, I'm in awe of the undergraduate tutor who volunteered to present at the conference. She wasn't just an undergraduate. She was an undergraduate who had chosen to present alongside two graduate assistants (who had presented at conferences and had entered the professional conversation long before she had) to an audience that consisted of individuals who had been working and directing writing centers for many years. I'm humbled by the fact that she went to this conference not because she wanted to pursue graduate school or because she expressed an interest in pursuing a career in education or writing center administration. I am also humbled by the fact that she wasn't at all intimidated, nervous, or underprepared. Rather, she put together a successful presentation, one that, I'm a little embarrassed to admit, was more interesting and engaging than my own. Had it not been for her youthful appearance, she might have been mistaken for someone who had been presenting writing center scholarship for many years. Reflecting on this experience, I've come to realize that, while this undergraduate might have learned a thing or two about presenting at a conference, it was I who learned a thing of two about being professional. In fact, I learned just as much from watching her as I did putting together my own presentation.





Peer Reviewed