What I’ve Learned in my First Year as Writing Coach

Although it is hard to believe, I have been a writing coach for a little over 6 months now! It feels like just the other day that I was meeting the other new writing coaches at our week one orientation and feeling incredibly awkward while we played all sorts of strange icebreaker games together. Over the past 6 months, I have discovered more about what it means to be a writing coach in the MTMC; I’ve succeeded, I’ve failed, and I’ve grown as both a writer and as a person. Here is a small taste of some of the biggest lessons the MTMC has taught me this year:

  1. Coaching is not the same as editing. I originally walked in to this job thinking, “Okay, so I just read through a student’s paper and I suggest all the changes that need to be made and then their paper will be perfect and things will be great.” Evidently, there was a multitude of flaws in this thought process and I quickly realized it was harmful and unsustainable for both the coach and the student. Coaching is more than just pointing out missing commas or spelling mistakes: it is a comprehensive process that focuses on developing and honing each student’s inner voice. It involves a delicate dance between teaching and learning and requires just going with the flow and not having preconceived expectations for each session.
  2. Anyone can write. I absolutely adore the Disney movie Ratatouille. Not only is it an enchanting story, but it also contains an important theme: anyone can cook. Working in the MTMC has made me realize that in the same way that anyone can cook, anyone can write. There is this stereotype in the STEM world that engineers and scientists can’t be, at the same time, strong writers or artists. I have realized that this stereotype is completely unfounded. Anyone, can be a great orator or thinker or writer, regardless of their major or occupation.
  3. Coaching is unbelievably rewarding. There is something truly magical about being a writing coach. Each student I work with has such a unique voice and perspective on the world, that it is extremely difficult to not learn something new each day. Coaching has made me a better writer, but it has also made me a better human. I’m thankful for the lessons that my first year of coaching has taught me, and I am excited to learn and discover more as a coach in the years ahead.