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Become One of the Write People!

Just a Test!

If you can find the 13 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 writing, and help me get a editing, or teaching position at a college or University.

Why become a "labbie"?

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 fields as diverse as creative writing, literature, communication arts, history, philosophy, interdisciplinary humanities, business, cybersecurity, physics, mathematics, and biology. Our staff of graduates and undergraduates ranges across the academic spectrum.

Many 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. Other students, however, are 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.

Inexperienced lab assistants survive because the Writing Lab has people resources (trained and experienced lab assistants), computer resources, 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.

What are the duties of a labbie?

As a Writing Lab assistant, you'll be 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.

Lab assistants 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, advanced proofreading and editing skills, and a basic knowledge of MLA, APA, and/or Turabian documentation styles (you can learn more about these skills on the job, as well).

Lab assistants must be willing to work in a structured environment of processes and procedures. As a labbie, you're a student-employee, not just a student.

How do new labbies become tutors?

New tutors participate in weekly training workshops in which one-on-one tutoring sessions are simulated with new labbies as the tutors and the Lab Director or an experienced labbie as the student. With their focus on tutoring strategies, these sessions will prepare you for almost any tutoring session you might encounter. After one semester of intensive training, you will know grammar well enough to make it simple for someone else to grasp.

What do paper readers do?

Writers Helping Writers

Labbies don't help students write their papers; they help them write their papers better. The Lab trains new labbies to read papers either for an overall impression or for its correctness of expression or both.

Once you come to work in the Writing Lab, your 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 peer reading strategies that will help you and the student raise the paper closer to the level of the instructor's expectations. You will help students understand not only what's wrong with their papers but also what's right with their papers.

What do Grammar Hotline operators do?

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 an impressive array 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 will respond to questions from university students and faculty members; CEOs, CFOs, and office managers; editors and writers; educators and Scrabble players; medical professionals and medical students; legal professionals and law students. They ask the questions. We do the research and give them the answers.

What are the qualifications of a 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 maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher with a grade of C or better in every course attempted;
  • 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 the first semester from 8 to 10 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/or the Writing Lab Coordinator or attend a group interview session;
  • Applicant must present a 20-minute lesson on a designated grammatical skill;
  • Applicant must interact well with individuals and groups;
  • Applicant must present a professional appearance and a positive attitude. 

Bottom line -- How much will I get paid?

The starting hourly wage for new lab assistants is $8.46 an hour.

The hourly wage for graduate students is $10.25 an hour, and those graduate students who work at least 10 hours a week in the Writing Lab are eligible for a matriculation waiver. The waiver covers up to 50% of graduate tuition, but talk with the English Department chair to find out how much your waiver will be. Graduate students are limited to 20 hours per week of on-campus employment. If you have another campus job, the total hours for both jobs must not exceed 20 hours.

Lab assistants do not get paid when the lab is closed, nor do they receive paid sick leave or vacation. 

What is a labbie's workload like?

A student may work in the Writing Lab as a tutor, a paper reader, a Grammar Hotline operator, and/or an office administrator (called Managers of the Day), depending on his or her availability and course load.

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 might have to spend an hour or two each week outside of work preparing to lead the weekly grammar sessions.  After your first semester, you might not need to spend time outside the lab to prepare.

Will the Writing Lab work with me on my schedule?

Although scheduling is flexible, lab assistants do have to be on duty at least three consecutive hours each day you work. Labbies' schedules are 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 fall and spring semesters. Summer employment is usually limited to four or five people, and lab hours are often reduced. The first two weeks of each semester are "skeleton weeks": staffing is limited because of light traffic. Lab assistants should be prepared to work 40 hours the week before fall semester begins. The Lab is closed during federal holidays, spring break, finals week, and intersessions.