Kam Dunbar ’19 reflects on the applicability of cura personalis in being a Writing Associate.
“Care for the entire person” is a direct translation of the Latin phrase cura personalis. From seventh grade to high school, I had the privilege of learning under this Jesuit concept. While the idea is a hallmark of Ignatian spirituality, I argue that it should be the cornerstone of all educational philosophies—especially of a writing associate.
Chapter 8 of Tutoring Writing by Donald A McAndrew and Thomas J Reigstad embraces the fact that people are different; it goes as far as to list an array of possible individuals one might encounter throughout the process of tutoring. This includes students’ different educational backgrounds, abilities and disabilities, cultural specificities, and general distinctions. Where Tutoring Writing falls short is in its failure to connect these differences to a greater philosophy and a greater implied obligation.
Care for the whole person begins with meeting someone where they are mentally and physically. Although there is no definitive way to assess a person’s mood, attitude, and head space, common social cues can identify if someone is less than positive. This is where having an overall amicable persona improves imperative. If someone is not doing well emotionally, yet is still working to push academic achievement, it does not fare well for their spirit to be poorly greeted and received. Writing associates must be cognizant of the student’s total being.