With the changes brought in the last year due to the pandemic, learning has become extremely challenging for many students. The SJC Writing Center has adapted to this new format, allowing them to continue to help students improve their writing without one-on-one support.
In the past, the Writing Center was a room in the school where students could sign up to meet with a teacher or older student at any time during the school day. The student would go to the center at their designated time and get help with either starting, drafting or editing any piece of writing. This year, the biggest challenge has been providing this same help without the distraction-free environment in the writing center. The director, Ms. Gelso said, “It’s a little bit harder because the writing center work is a social thing, so there is some sense of separation when you’re in a virtual space, but we’ve been able to carry on without needing to fully adjust that format.”
Although the pandemic has caused challenges, it has also provided opportunities for the writing center to reach more people. With keeping the same goal of helping students in mind, they have recently started doing writing workshops, where large groups of students are invited to help with large projects. So far, there have been four workshops. For example, there was a workshop for freshmen dedicated to helping them write their first essays of the school year. Ms. Gelso says that these writing workshops have allowed for “a broader variety of the students using it, as it used to be only junior and senior engagement.”
Ms. Gelso plans on continuing these workshops after the pandemic. She thinks they have been working very well to help students achieve their writing goals. Student volunteer Bailey Middleton ‘21 agrees: “We have seen a large amount of students attend writing workshops. I think holding the workshops in addition to one-on-one meetings has helped bring in more students to the writing center.”
In terms of helping students achieve their writing goals, the Writing Center has still been very successful. Ellie Langley ‘24 was overwhelmed about writing her first essay as a St. John’s student, so she decided to make an appointment with Ms. Gelso. In this meeting, They were able to revise her entire essay and add a lot of details to make it stronger. In the end, Langley said, “ I got out of it a great feel for my essay and high hopes for a better grade.”
To use the Writing Center’s resources, sign up with https://calendly.com/mgelso