So your tutor shreds your essay......

As a retired English professor, I graded literally thousands of essays.  I know what I am doing.  So, you send me your essay for corrections.  You get it back with the equivalent of arterial blood spray on it.  What do you do next?
First, be delighted that someone had the courage to give you an honest opinion.  Do you really want someone to tell you "oh, this is wonderful!" and later get a bad grade?  I hope not.  While it sounds harsh, the best thing your tutor can do is tell you that you have messed up - badly.
Second, go slam a door, kick the couch, or do something really physically tiring.  Chances are, you are furious with your tutor.  You need to work out the frustration that comes with being told that you are not the next great American writer.  Under no circumstances should you call your tutor and yell or send a nasty email.  You are paying for the truth - and you got what you paid for.
Third, look at the paper again.  Many times, you will see obvious errors that you overlooked.  These could be sentence fragments, misplaced commas, word usage errors or any number of things.  There might also be big corrections - like reorganizing the essay, rewriting sections, etc.  You need to realize that every correction made was necessary.  See the corrections as a positive.  Someone cared enough to write those comments.  Someone wants your work to improve.
Forth, start your corrections.  Every piece of writing starts off less than perfect.  Ask any writer.  First drafts are often thrown away or marked up so much that the original concept changes entirely.  Every piece of writing has to start somewhere.  That "somewhere" is often incredibly flawed.  Once you have that first draft on paper, you have someplace to start.  When you start correcting, take one error at a time.  You might start with all of the grammar/syntax errors and then go to the structural/content corrections.  Have a plan and work through it.
Fifth, talk to your tutor. If you do not understand comments or are unsure where to go next, that is why we are here.
Sixth, learn from your mistakes.  When you write your next essay, go to the one before and see what you did right and what needed improvement. 
Last, realize that we are hard on you because we want you to succeed.  It is much easier to say an essay is wonderful than to make heavy corrections.  It is hard on us when we have to be hard on you.  However, that is our job.  You have hired us to help you.  We are not helping if we don't correct, and, in some cases, shred what you have written.  Is it hard for you when we are tough?  Sure it is.  No one likes to get an essay back covered in red ink.  So, kick the couch, scream, run around the block as fast as you can and then get to work.  The next essay will be better.


Victoria M.

High School/College English Tutor, Retired Professor

100+ hours
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