This week was my first official consultation, considering that the other one was a walk-in. It was with our very own Zach! While this should have been calming, it was actually somehow more intimidating because I knew he'd know my "methods." These methods though felt completely natural. Things such as eye contact, shaking hands, offering the writer to make themselves at home, sitting on the edge of my chair, holding the paper between us, and repeating what the writer has just said for clarification, did not feel at all forced. It felt like a very good, comfortable consultation.
Zach though, was a little bit flustered and pressed for time on his 393 paper (also, first actual consultation as an upper-division lit paper! yay! fun). It was on Death of a Salesman, which I was familiar with, so we were able to bounce ideas back and forth a bit. Zach and I are also each a bit zany, so brainstorming definitely took a fun direction.
I held the paper between Zach and I and read it aloud with his permission. Initially and instinctively, I began to grammatical mistakes as I went along, but Zach told me not to, as he had not yet proofread and he knew that he would have to tidy it up grammatically anyhow. When a writer really knows what they want, I think I'll generally feel pretty comfortable stepping back and not offering the insight where they say they don't need it. Also, I trust that Zach is at least fairly comfortable with grammar, because I know him, but if there were something he didn't know, that he'd always know where to look. I don't think I have to worry about him turning in a paper with heavy grammatical mistakes, but then that got me to wondering: is it right to judge a writer's abilities and their own methods as needing help or not? I don't feel like I'm posing this question properly, but it's something along those lines. At least as consultants, we can tell them what we know and they can take it or leave it (consultant vs. tutor type stuff).
Zach did not want a global revision, but I felt that might be what we should aim for. Instead, we settled on a sort of happy medium of re-arranging paragraphs, and adding the translations for some German quotes. Zach and his German...
The session was one hour long, and it was a really comfortable amount of time for what we had at hand. I felt like we could have stopped at 30 minutes, but that the real progress was made in the second half of the session. Kinda scary to see it like that! The extra brainstorming and time cushion really brought us to some new solutions for his paper without having to completely revise it on a global scale.
While I found the grammar activity on Thursday to be a lot (Alot) of fun, it was also extremely intense! I was the scribe and was really struggling to keep up to pace with the sentence requirements on the board. I think I was actually sweating, and I'm usually freezing. This showed me though how speedy we need to be at times! How sharp we must be, and also made me really understand why it isn't wise for a consultant to work too many hours in a row - this kind of thing really is draining when your brain is so constantly and heavily engaged. Really fun though!
(I had difficulty posting this on blogger yesterday on campus for some reason >_<)