Student Voice


June 12, 2024


Tutor’s credibility ruined by embarrasing occurence

October 10, 2013

For some time, the urge to write an article about being a Writing Center tutor has haunted me. There are loads of stories that I could use to further embarrass myself, but at what cost?

More than likely I would be putting myself in danger by doing so because my boss is from down South, and it is a pretty good bet that she knows how to hunt wild animals.
What chance would a guy in a wheelchair have against her?

Needless to say, my boss would not do any such thing, but she might say, “So, yeah. We are going to have to let you go. You know, like the way of the T. rex.”
And because my veins are running with a few bad genes from the gene-pool, it would take me at least 10 minutes to figure out what she meant by this comment, but eventually it would hit. “You are gone. You are extinct. No one will know you ever existed, except if they dig you up.”

Potentially I would take offense over this comment because I would resent being compared to a T. rex. Sure, we probably have the same mental capacities, each of us weighs five to seven tons, and we both come running when we smell food.
I do not take any issues with these similarities because ultimately they are, more or less, true.

However, I would resent being compared to a T. rex because I do not have flailing baby arms that are basically useless appendages. My arms are fairly strong. I am pretty confident that I could beat a T. rex in an arm-wrestling contest, if I was not eaten and digested before the match-up.

The point that needs to be made is about credibility. Credibility, in the professional world, is difficult to measure. There are hardly any criteria to judge it upon. Does time spent crafting your skill, knowledge, and specialization of a topic make you credible?
In short, yes, but there are plenty more defining elements that can be ascribed to credibility.

Not breaching a confidentiality agreement after signing it would be considered credible; something that has to be done in order to become a tutor because a tutor cannot share his or her experiences having to deal with persons helped in the Writing Center.
Pursuing your life’s passion could also be considered credible because people do not always follow their hearts. Sometimes it is daunting to follow a road that has never been taken before.

The point is that credibility takes time to build up. One could spend the better portion of their life educating them self in the ways of the world, going to secondary school, then attending university to obtain a degree, and perhaps even do the impossible and aim for a graduate degree.

A person could literally spend their lifetime gaining credibility amongst their friends, family and coworkers; with one false swoop, all that credibility could be bashed against the rocks. Such was the case for me just a few weeks ago.
As hinted at before, I am a tutor in the Writing Center. I help individuals that want to better their understanding of writing academic papers. The job has its perks; I get to help people and make a difference in their lives, get to learn about new topics everyday and learn how to better my own writing.

When I first started out in the practicum class, I was more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Every session that I had felt like one of those rocking chairs had leaned back and crushed my tail.

By and by I did manage to get some confidence and credibility throughout the class, and even managed to secure a job as a tutor. Doing so was hard knocks. Every day I tried to better myself while in there and tried to gain some credibility.

When the new practicum class this semester started showing up in the writing center, I wanted to part with them some of my advice so that they could get along better than I had.

That’s when my credibility as a tutor went the way of the T. rex.
As I was trying to give advice to a new practicum student, a loud noise echoed throughout the room. At first I thought a gunshot had sounded off, but soon I realized that it was not.

Soon I realized that the sound that I had thought had been a gunshot was actually an air-biscuit, which is also referred to as an old-fashioned toot, fart or foghorn.

All my credibility as a tutor went extinct; I’d farted in front of someone while on the job. No chance of it ever being recovered.

Perhaps the old saying applies here as it does anywhere else. “When one door closes, another opens.” Perhaps my credibility as a tutor died, but perhaps by credibility as a toot-or lives.

Do not live your life aiming to increase your credibility just to increase your credibility, because ultimately there is the chance that a fart could ruin everything.

Tyler Smith is a student at UW-River Falls.