Meet the “Woof”-ers

Have you ever wondered what dog breed has the most to teach you about collegiate academic writing? Well then look no further than the McDaniel College Writing Center and our “paws-itively” talented crew.

You might not know this, but the tutors of the McDaniel College Writing Center each learned their craft from a common household pet. They have since combined their fluffy-soft wisdoms in tutoring styles specifically for you. Scroll through our list of tutoring styles from the top to the bottom and the “ruff” to the gentle.

A gathering of dogs in party hats and other funky outfits. They are a squad.

Pug-Style Tutoring” taught by Vanessa and Natalie

The Pug was not bred to be a fighter or a hunter or a bomb-sniffer. The pug exists solely as a companion and many owners describe their Pugs as “little shadows” following them around. The Pug is an easy-going breed that only wants to make their families happy. They love constant attention and thrive in households with the elderly, children, or multiple generations. A pug is happy as can be when resting in their human’s lap and bringing comfort to their little family. This means that your Pug-style tutor is a well-rounded emotional supporter and one-stop motivation shop.

They understand that sometimes it is more than the assignment itself that weighs upon their student. They will be the first to admit that other sources of stress can make starting an assignment seem impossible—no matter how important it is. This tutor always tries to remember that their student is their own person, and someone who is going through their own issues. They might encourage the student to center themselves before the session or guide them into a headspace that is best for learning. This tutor knows that sometimes a student will need to be continuously motivated during a session—especially if they struggle to motivate themselves. Their ideal session would end with a student finding newfound confidence in themselves or their abilities—and hopefully by bringing a smile to their faces.

Come and meet the Writing Center Pugs today. They’re sure to be your new best friends.

A running, smiling pug licking at its jowls. So photogenic.

The Bloodhound Method” taught by Becca

The Bloodhound is a sweet, docile, and fiercely independent dog. It is not uncommon for a bloodhound to follow orders one minute and do whatever it pleases the next. Their biggest skill is their heightened sense of smell, which can pinpoint a target from miles away. Their owners have to get used to chasing after them when they bound away, intent on finding the sweet-smelling source. No matter how loving the house, humans must always remember that their bloodhound has a mind of their own. A Bloodhound-tutor is an opportunistic one that might seek to “shock” or “trick” a student into realizing something about their writing.

This tutor might even seem to be working against the goal of the session or taking a backwards approach—but there is always a method to the madness. They want to show their students the benefit of a fresh set of eyes or a new approach in an old assignment. Sometimes they must convince their students to trust them—and they have probably been accused of wasting someone’s time before. When successful, however, students can see the through lines between concepts that they may have never thought of before. This tutor uses their “trickster” style for the good of your assignments. The threshold for their ideal session is rather low: just a student willing to trust their tutor.

Come and shake hands with the famous McDaniel College Bloodhound today. See if you can withstand her might.

A sleeping, lazy, slightly spilled-out bloodhound. So vicious. So scary.

The Way of the Retriever” taught by Molly, Evie, Jyoti, and Nicole-Antoinette

Retrievers are well-trained and versatile dogs that love to please. They have been popular family dogs for years due to their caring and playful nature. They are well-known for their intelligence and ability to learn complex tricks, but all of that is in service of bringing a smile to their human’s face (and maybe a treat to their own). This dog truly drives home why they are Man’s Best Friend. If your tutor follows the Way of the Retriever, they are most like a friend to their students–one who offers support when they are working on a difficult task.

This tutor is sympathetic, empathetic, and encouraging. They explain things in terms that the student can understand or personally relate to. This tutor is the epitome of the equal—they know they aren’t an authority figure of a professor. They are a student and a peer. They might as well be taking this class with their student, as everything is seen as relatable and understandable for them. This tutor’s ideal session is one that begins with immediate rapport—and they would love to have an inside joke with their student.

Visit your nearest Retriever-Tutor today! They get quite lonely by themselves.

Golden Retriever looking to the distance. No thoughts, head empty.

“Kitty-Cat Thought” taught by Raquel, Dylan, Micaela, Ciara, Brooke, and Danielle

The Cat is a silent and non-judgmental companion. They are fiercely independent creatures, but still love their packs deeply and reward their attachments with attention and affection. They appreciate their alone-time and the ability to develop as an individual. A cat’s respect is earned through gentle hands and gentle tones. They are quick to reward the patient. Your Cat-style tutor is most likely a quiet tutor who considers your words before sounding them back to you to evaluate yourself.

As such, this tutor tries to allow a student to “hear” themselves and consider their work from an outsider’s perspective. They tend not to contribute much advice, as this tutor believes the answers are already within the student’s mind or work. This means that students who are insecure about or overwhelmed by their work tend to appreciate this tutor, as they allow a student to evaluate their own thoughts less self-critically. Gentle is the name of the game. It is incredibly important to this tutor to understand the specific goals and concerns of the student. “Is this what you mean?” or “Could you explain more?” are among their most frequently asked questions. This tutor’s ideal session involves a lot of parroting and a little lightbulb above their student’s head.

Come and meet the McDaniel Kitty Cats today. They might not get lonely, but they sure do love company!

A cat in mid-meow or hiss, exposing its teeth and tongue. One of its eyes is squinted.

“The School of Corgi” taught by Ella

The Corgi is a dog with a subtle intensity. Fluffy and sweet, they are also notorious little tricksters with big opinions and attitudes. The Corgi does not let their humans off the hook—and for good reason. This little helper is outgoing and energetic, keeping the pack motivated and moving. Their noses can sniff out danger and their barks are little, but powerful. The Corgi is not afraid to tug at the cuff of your jeans to drag you where you need to go. This means that your Corgi-tutor is a well-skilled tutor in the minutia of writing.

This tutor knows exactly where your commas are supposed to go—and why. They are quick to explain difficult concepts and always, always remember to check for subject-verb agreement, tense consistency, or possessive apostrophes. However, this tutor is not a “know-it-all,” as there are many concepts which they themselves do not understand. This is when they turn to a fellow tutor or another resource to find an answer for a student. For this tutor, no question is ever too small. They have many skills, but their trademark is their eagle eyes, which can always see the forest, no matter the trees. In fact, this tutor has probably already noticed all the unnecessary commas in the previous sentence. This tutor’s ideal session would be with someone looking to practice a writing skill for its own sake. They love working on “not-assignments.”

Visit the Writing Center Corgi-tutors today and make their whole week!

A grown Corgi and a puppy Corgi walking through the woods. Both have one paw lifted and their mouths open. I love them.

“Pitbull-ology” taught by Maddy

Pitbulls are friendly and outgoing dogs with a deep nurturing side. For a time, the pitbull was a “nanny dog,” tasked with protecting small children and the house. This means that a pitbull knows what is important and is not easily distracted. In many cases, the pitbull is misunderstood. Some people are wrongfully judge pitbulls because their powerful loyalty can be mistaken as aggression or “coming on strong.” Your pitbull-style tutor is most likely an observer who seeks to take each session to the “next level.”

This tutor loves explaining the connections between writing concepts. Creative writing or journaling is probably a personal hobby of theirs. No matter what happens in a session, this tutor always remembers that writing is a skill greater than the sum of its parts. They want the student to believe in what they could do with time and practice—and to provide perspective on writing as a discipline. Their style can intimidate some students, but most know they mean well. This tutor wants to inspire a love of writing for writing’s sake and tends to always think beyond the limitations of the assignment before them. For this tutor, an ideal session would end with a student seeking out more writing opportunities on campus to practice their new skills.

Come and meet the nearest Pitbull-Tutor today! They get a bad rap. For all you know, your new best friend is waiting.

Pitbull open mouth panting at the camera. Handsome man.

The McDaniel College Writing Center is open Sunday through Friday. Come and meet your new best friend today!