Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Ask the Preceptor

How do I get students to come to see me?

  • Send around a sign up sheet in class. It sounds simple, but it really works.
  • Make clear your availability and interest in working with the class.
  • Talk to the professor about building meetings with the preceptor into assignments.
  • Communicate with students by way of email (remind them of office hours, reiterate benefits of meetings, suggest things they could come by to talk about).
  • Find ways to get to know students early in the semester.
  • Make clear your expectations about what they should have prepared for the meeting.
  • Remember that you are a resource. Don't take it personally if they don't use that resource.
  • Talk with the professor about a balance between fixed office hours and flexible appointments with students. Be sure to hold office hours where it will be productive for you when there are no students coming

How should I respond to student drafts and papers?

  • Talk to the professor about the goals of the assignment and specific concerns s/he may have.
  • Ask students for their ideas (What do you find interesting? What do you find problematic about this text?). Talk through (or have them describe) how they might focus and develop the idea. Offer guiding questions on drafts (e.g., how does this sentence or paragraph help develop your argument? What is the central point of this paragraph?).
  • Emphasize that writing is a process of thinking (writing is a process of clarification, of rethinking, reorganizing, etc.).
  • Emphasize that writing is a conversation with your audience. This is an opportunity to talk about something from the class. Keep your sentences and language simple.
  • Jot down notes as students are talking. This might be a good reference later for talking about organization, flow, etc.
  • Focus on a few issues. You don't have to fix or address everything.