The Farmington High School (FHS) Writer’s Block is a student-run writing center; where all students can receive help from tutors and fellows on writing assignments; however, the writing center allows students to guide their own learning through the process.
FHS first introduced the writing tutorial program to students at the beginning of the 2019 school year. Initially starting as a new tutorial program available to students last year, it has now grown to include 11 students participating as tutors and fellows currently.
Writer’s Block was designed to create a space where students could grow as writers through their own learning and create a safe environment for peers to learn from one another. Whether it’s a creative or academic type of writing, the writing center hopes to make a positive learning environment that can allow students to grow their confidence in their writing skills, helping sustain a culture that celebrates writing.
“I would describe the Writing Center as an incredibly welcoming and safe environment. Where students can feel comfortable sharing their writing and receiving feedback from a tutor who knows what it is like to be a student and can empathize with any struggles the writer may have.” Writer’s Block fellow Natalie Wong said.
Currently leading the program is Writing Center Facilitator Amethyst Hamby, who began working at FHS last year. Hamby oversees all tutoring sessions, team meetings and projects, and teaches the Fellowship course. She hopes to expand Writer’s Block reach by having current writing center fellows create tutorial videos on different writing techniques. Then proceed to upload them online to the Writer’s Block website.
Hamby led the writing center initially inside the FHS library. However, due to current safety precautions, all tutoring sessions are being conducted virtually through Google platforms. However, this has not prevented students from reaching out and getting assistance. Since the start of the 2020 school year, the tutorial program has had 42 sessions and counting.
To become a writing center tutor, tutors must first undergo a writing center fellowship for one semester. Students learn the writing center’s “hands-off approach” to tutoring and the skills required to guide students in the right direction to help them become more successful and independent writers during this half-year course. After completing the half-year course, students who participate in the fellowship are offered by the Writer’s Block participants the invitation to serve as tutors in the upcoming semester.
“My hope is that the writing center will continue to grow as a community of students learning from each other. Even though we have to keep our distance from one another right now, I not only hope that more students will come to the Writers’ Block, but that more students will want to become tutors themselves,” Hamby said.
Despite unknown circumstances with COVID-19, the Writer’s Block has adapted and will continue to be a helpful resource this school year.