This month, we sat down with Alyssa Morris, one of our writing coaches, to learn more about her role at Options.
Tell us a little about yourself and your role at Options Solutions.
I grew up reading every book I could get my hands on, and when I was choosing what to study in university, I found the degree that would let me read as many books as I could handle for four years. Along the way, I realized I liked reading to other people and talking about literature with them too, especially young people. After my undergraduate degree, teaching felt like the right fit for me, so I moved across the country from Windsor, Ontario to Vancouver, BC to attend UBC’s Bachelors of Education program. When I found my place at Options Solutions, I got the best of worlds: the chance to read and discuss literature with students and the chance to connect with them on an individual basis. As a Writing Coach, my role has evolved into one where I get to teach regularly while having the opportunity to tailor my lessons to the strengths and challenges of my students whether in a workshop or one-on-one.
What do you enjoy most about working at Options?
Writing Workshops are probably one of my favourite things to do at Options. I love getting the chance to hear students’ stories and help them craft those tales into meaningful and authentic essays. It’s such a privilege for us to get to learn about our students as individuals and hear the stories and events that helped shape them. Plus, the environment of Writing Workshop is so fun; the buzz of activity and productivity makes me feel like we’ve all accomplished so much, even after just three short hours!
What would a “typical” session with a Writing Coach look like?
As writing coaches at Options, we try to approach sessions and our clients with a coaching mindset. We’re on the same team as our clients, and our goal is to meet them where they are and get them to where they want to be. A typical session is hard to come by with a Writing Coach because each session is tailored to the needs of our students. From essay writing to reading comprehension, time-management to managing stress, oral presentations to grammar reviews a Writing Coach will be there every step of the way.
What’s been your biggest learning opportunity at Options?
I’ve always loved learning, and last year, I had the chance to take a course about executive functioning as part of my professional development. I learned how to better support my clients who come to me with questions about study skills, focus, time-management, and organization. I now have a better understanding of how different challenges can affect a student’s ability to learn, and I feel so much better equipped to help clients find realistic, manageable, and attainable strategies to make their lives at school just a little bit easier.
What’s something people may not know about you?
I’ll give you three fun facts: I play the ukulele, harmonica, and glockenspiel (sometimes all at the same time and only mildly well), I once spent an entire school year reading a new Shakespeare play every two weeks (by choice), and my dog is named after my favourite spice (Paprika).