Writing Woes? Don’t Struggle alone.


David Gibson, Staffer

Looking for the support you need in your writing for class? Well, come on down to the Writing Center! It’s an excellent way to improve both your writing and the grade you will get for it! Mariner teachers Brad Tonahill and Jeffery Ferderer are the heads of this after school support group, and its located at E-272 after school, Monday through Thursday, 2:10-3:30. But what is the difference between the writing center and just getting help from a friend?

Tonahill states, “When you talk to your friends about your writing sometimes, you don’t always get the best feedback. We have trained staff to give good feedback in a positive and casual manner, and I think that it definitely helps you as a writer just to have a conversation about your writing in general, and you’ll get better and better the more you come in. We have already seen some of that happening.”

Many problems with creating a support group, especially for writing, is the building of a kind community and staff. At first, the writing center was struggling with getting students coming in, but with patience, they continued.

Last year, returning staff from the year prior and students who had gone to the center before came back to use the service until this year rolled around, and the writing center has since become very popular. Time and advertisement played in this popularity, helping its reputation. They have had 644 tutoring sessions with a rating of 4.8/5; if they were a restaurant in Seattle with this rating, they would be ranked up to 2nd place!

Tonahill really appreciates and values his staff, saying, “The writing center is busier than most universities. It’s a tribute to the staff members for making it more comfortable. And providing helpful feedback.”

Tonahill says that it’s the staff’s time and effort in the Writing Center that has made it successful. These staff members are put through 8 training days for an hour and a half. One is at the beginning of the year and in January for the next set of staff. This is to make sure that they would be giving all of their time and effort into helping you make a better paper.

There are writing centers on many of campus’ ( usually at universities), but it’s always difficult sharing your writing with others, let alone be critiqued on it. This is where Mariner’s writing center is different because of its feeling it’s comfortable and loose in the environment. Once the student sits and works with one of the 30 staff members their age, or with Ferderer or Tonahill, they begin to feel comfortable and loose in the environment. It also takes away the anxiety the student has with writing.

Tonahill comments, “I’ve seen from a good amount of my students too you can see the results of writing that’s more focused and clear. Students understand the writing center better. I have had students come in at the beginning of the year, and by the end of the year, they have it down, and that’s what we are going for. I think it provides an authentic, growing experience which unfortunately can be increasingly rare when students are more pressured to get good grades instead of growing.”