Why Become a Labbie?


Just a Test!

If you can find the 14 errors in the sentence below, then you should apply for a Writing Lab position.

The principle reason I want to really study grammar is, because, as a writer, it will hopefully have a real positive affect on my writeing, and help me get a editing, or teaching position at a college or University.

Become One of the Write People!

Once you become a "labbie" (Writing Lab assistant), you become part of a professional family of writers, editors, grammarians, grammarian wannabes, and budding linguists from English, communication arts, history, and interdisciplinary humanities majors to physics, mathematics, and biology majors. Our staff of graduates and undergraduates ranges the academic spectrum.

University students enjoy working in the Writing Lab and being on the "other side of the desk" as the tutor or the paper reader or the Grammar Hotline operator. Some students, however, are very apprehensive about working in a Writing Lab because they assume they must know everything about grammar and writing. Quite the contrary--- your job as a labbie is a continuous on-the-job learning and on-the-job training experience. Each of us learns something new every day--about one-on-one tutoring techniques, about interactive paper reading, about a grammatical concept or nuance, about a documentation format, about a rhetorical style, or about a word that is or is not in the dictionary.

You survive as an inexperienced lab assistant because the Writing Lab has people resources (trained and experienced lab assistants) and book resources, all there in the Lab.

Talk to former lab assistants, and they'll all tell you the same things: how much they learned about grammar and other writing skills, how many lifelong friends they made, how much they learned about professionalism and work ethics, and how helpful the Lab experience has been in their careers.

Duties of a Labbie

Writing Lab assistants' duties include tutoring students; reading students' papers for content, documentation, and correctness of expression; giving presentations of English language skills, writing, and Writing Lab services; grading tests, exercises, and grammar mini-lessons; answering Grammar Hotline questions; keeping records; developing and administering worksheets, lessons, and tests; and performing other Lab-related functions, especially those related to your specific "working title" and description.

Since your working title would be Writing Lab Paper Reader and Tutor and/or Grammar Hotline operator, you must have an intuitive knowledge of grammar and other English language skills (you can learn the rules-of-thumb on the job), excellent writing and speaking skills as well as proofreading and editing skills, and a basic knowledge of MLA, APA, and/or Turabian documentation styles (you'll more about these on the job as well).

You must be willing to work in a structured environment of processes and procedures, where you are a student-employee and not just a student.

Tutors

As a new tutor, you participate in weekly Grammar Sessions, in which one-on-one tutoring sessions are simulated with you as the tutor and the Lab Director or an experienced labbie as the student. These sessions with their focus on tutoring strategies prepare you for almost any tutoring session you might encounter. After one semester of intensive grammar sessions, you, like the other experienced labbies, will know grammar well enough to make it simple enough for someone else to grasp.

Paper Readers--Writers Helping Writers

You won't help students write their papers; you'll help them write their papers better. The Lab trains you to read papers either for a paper's overall impression or for its correctness of expression or both.

Your invaluable paper reading experiences will prepare you to proofread, to do copy editing and technical editing, to read master's theses and doctoral dissertations, and to assess students' writing holistically and quantitatively,

As a paper reader, you'll learn to suppress the urge to write students' papers for them. You'll learn particular peer reading strategies that will help you and the student raise the paper to a closer level of the instructor's expectations. You will help students understand not only what's wrong with their papers but what's right with their papers as well.

Grammar Hotline Operators

Our callers have the grammar questions; we've got the answers. Actually, we don't know all the answers, but we have online resources as well as a myriad of books, including but not limited to specialized dictionaries, usage and style manuals, ESL books, grammar handbooks, and business manuals.

As a hotline operator, you respond to questions from university students to faculty members; from CEOs and CFOs to office managers; from the office of the Florida Lottery to the office of university presidents; from concerned citizens to editors and writers; from educators to Scrabble players; from medical and legal professionals to medical and law students. They ask the questions. We research and give the answers.

Qualifications for UWF Writing Lab Assistant

  • Applicant must be a graduate or undergraduate student enrolled during the semester(s) in which he or she plans to work.
  • Applicant must be available for mandatory training during the week before fall semester begins.
  • Applicant must be available for follow-up training (grammar sessions and tutoring techniques) every Monday morning of each fall semester from 8 to 9 a.m.
  • Applicant must be proficient in the use of standard written and spoken English.
  • Applicant must be able to make oral presentations using visual aids.
  • Applicant must take a writing skills diagnostic test and score 80% or better.
  • Applicant must provide a writing sample.
  • Applicant must have good computer skills, especially proficiency in the use of MS Word.
  • Applicant must complete a grammatical knowledge survey.
  • Applicant must perform a simulation of an interactive paper reading session.
  • Applicant must be interviewed by the Writing Lab Director and the Writing Lab Coordinator or attend a group interview session.
  • Applicant must present a 20-minute lesson on a grammatical skill.
  • Applicant must be able to interact well with individuals and groups.

Hourly Wage

Starting hourly wage for new lab assistants is $7.79 an hour.

Hourly wage for graduate students is $10.25 and hour, and those graduate students who work at least 10 hours a week in the Lab are eligible for a matriculation waiver. 

Workload

Students may work in the Writing Lab as a tutor, paper reader, Grammar Hotline operator, and/or office administrator (called Managers of the Day), depending on their availability and their course loads.

Undergraduates must work 10 to 40 hours a week, and graduates must work 10 to 20 hours a week.

Please keep in mind that you may have to spend an hour or two each week preparing to lead the weekly grammar sessions.  After your first semester here, you may not have to spend time outside the lab to prepare.

Schedules

Although scheduling is flexible, your shifts have to be at least three consecutive hours. Lab assistants' schedules are determined based on student traffic and Lab assistant availability. Preference is given to lab assistants who are available on days with the heaviest traffic.

The Lab's normal hours of operation are from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the semester.  Lab assistants should also be prepared to work the week before Fall semester, and the week before Spring semester.  The Lab is closed during finals week and intermissions.