Half a term under my belt, and what I can say for the experience so far? I had a chance to reflect on this last wewek when the man from the university press office came to interview me for a press release.
My first thought is that on the whole it's been easier than I expected. I'd imagined myself getting bogged down in technical stuff - the Harvard Referencing System, for example, or the difference between report writing and essay writing. But it hasn't been like that, for the most part: the advice I've been asked for has been much more basic. To begin with it was how to structure an essay, which I translate as "how to put together a coherent argument". Now, as the first years are starting to produce work for submission, the focus is more on how to edit or how to proofread. In some ways that's more difficult: it's easy to point to a spelling mistake or a puncutation error and say "That's not right!"; harder to take a step back from the detail and try to show the student how the error impairs his work as a whole, and what he can do about it.
There's been less diversity in terms of disciplines than I expected. I haven't counted them up yet but the vast majority of my customers have been social science, business studies or law students. I suppose that reflects the way my work is promoted: presumably the tutors in those departments are recommending me, although I don't know that for sure. It would be nice to see a scientist or a drama student for a change.
It's nearly all been essays. Otherwise I think I've had one academic appeal, a placement application and a presentation.
The one thing nobody, but nobody, asks me about is creative writing - far less my own work. I'm not sure what I think of that. I'm not here to promote myself, of course, but it surprises me a little that nobody is at all curious about why I'm here at all. Perhaps it shows how focused the students are on their work. Or how far they take what's around them for granted.