Q & A with Mr. Whitman, Write Place Coordinator
Q: How long have you been in charge of the Write Place?
A: It is the 4th year of the Write Place’s existence. I can’t wait to tell you how great it is!
Q: For those who might be unfamiliar, care to sum up what the Write Place is about?
A: Certainly. I’ll quote from our mission statement, written by our first staff of tutors back in 2017: “To promote collaborative student writing through all curriculums. We aid students throughout the writing process and help them reach their writing goals. We’re student-centered, and offer questions instead of corrections, support instead of criticism, and understanding rather than evaluation.” To put it in more normal speech, we are a center for any student to drop in for help with any writing assignment, any time. We used to be open just during lunch periods, but now we are fully remote.
Q: How are students chosen to tutor at the Write Place?
A: We would ask the junior year teachers to identify students who they think would be really great because of their writing skills or noticeable cooperation with their peers. It’s usually through teacher recommendations, but I ask a lot of the teachers of AP classes junior year to make a full announcement to the entire class. Anyone who’s interested in applying can apply, but we usually recruit from those junior AP or honors classes.
Q: How has the Write Place changed with COVID?
A: Unfortunately we can’t do the face-to-face meetings, and that means we’re not open for drop-in visits. Now students are required to fill out a Google form that they can get from their English teacher, which I check daily. I then post that request to the Schoology group with all our tutors. The first to reply to that request will email the student a zoom link inviting them to a session.
Q: How has turnout been with all the different schedules compared to pre-COVID?
A: Unfortunately, it’s decreased. We’ve had fewer sessions. Which is sad, because there are just as many students who need help and can use the support, but don’t because of that absence of the convenience of a physical space we can’t occupy. We have to deal with the decrease in numbers, but keep spreading the word that the Write Place is still open. We have fantastic tutors who are willing to devote their time and energy to help students with any writing assignment.
Q: What would you say to students that are interested in joining the Write Place or writing in general?
A: We always need tutors who are willing to support their peers with their own writing goals. So, we’re looking for tutors who are willing to work alongside students who need help. Not necessarily to teach them, but just to use their experience to help out their peers. Most of our tutors came in as clients, we’ve been long enough now that every Glenbard West student has had the Write Place available to them. They have an opportunity to pay it forward, to share that experience, and help out students that way. We’re hoping that students who are willing to be helpful and supportive are the ones that apply to be tutors for the next year. All they need to do is ask their English teacher for the link to apply.