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As someone currently studying for the GRE and preparing to go to graduate school, I can relate to the challenges of being an independent learner. I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology and Communication Studies. I also studied Medicine, Health and Society. I am extremely passionate about healthcare and social marketing, or marketing for positive health behavior change.

I’m a dedicated life-long learner, and even while helping a child with a specific subject, that’s an attitude I strive to instill in my students. I love seeing others reach their academic goals and love helping them get there. I began tutoring when I was in high school, working with middle school students, and have since worked with elementary students through adults in subjects such as reading and writing, mathematics, test preparation and social students. Recently, I even had the opportunity to teach English as a second language at a local refugee center.

I believe that everyone learns differently, and a great tutor knows how to meet a student where they are in their work and find the best way to help them achieve their goals. In fact, one of the reasons that enjoy tutoring so much is the outcome of finding that best path— the student grasps a concept and becomes excited about what they’re doing, driving them to want to learn more.

Additionally, I thoroughly enjoy working with children and have an excellent track record doing so. For example, as a camp counselor for two years, I cared for a cabin of twelve girls and was also responsible for the campers’ horseback riding program, serving as the Head. I’ve interacted with children of all ages and personalities, and find that each brings something unique and interesting to the table. Every child has the potential to achieve, whether it is in the horseback riding arena or in the classroom—I consider it my responsibility to help them maximize that potential.

Paula’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Vanderbilt University - Bachelor in Arts, Psychology; Communication Studies

Test Scores

ACT English: 34

ACT Reading: 33

ACT Science: 33

SAT Verbal: 800

SAT Writing: 740


Piano, French, Spanish, Horseback Riding, and Ultimate Frisbee

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade

1st Grade Reading

1st Grade Writing

2nd Grade

2nd Grade Math

2nd Grade Reading

2nd Grade Writing

3rd Grade

3rd Grade Math

3rd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Science

3rd Grade Writing

4th Grade

4th Grade Math

4th Grade Reading

4th Grade Science

4th Grade Writing

5th Grade

5th Grade Math

5th Grade Reading

5th Grade Science

5th Grade Writing

6th Grade

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Reading

6th Grade Science

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Science

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade

8th Grade Math

8th Grade Reading

8th Grade Science

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

ACT English

ACT Reading

ACT Science

ACT with Writing Prep

ACT Writing

Adult Literacy




American Literature

Anatomy & Physiology

AP English Literature and Composition

AP United States History

AP US History

AP World History



College Application Essays

College Business

College English

College Essays

College Geography

College Level American History

College Level American Literature

College World History

Elementary Math

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing

French 1

French 2

French 3



High School Business

High School Chemistry

High School English

High School Geography

High School Level American History

High School Level American Literature

High School World History

High School Writing

Homework Support




Latin 1

Latin 2

Latin 3

Latin 4


Middle School

Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Science

Middle School Writing




PSAT Writing Skills


SAT Reading

SAT Writing and Language


Social Sciences

Social studies

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Test Prep

US History


World History

World Literature

World Religions


Q & A

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I like to start by building a relationship with the student. I'm there as an ally, someone to help them achieve, and they need to feel that I'm there to help with that. I also use the first session to gauge their needs. I like to see their materials from the subjects in which they require tutoring, including the textbook and any assignments. This gives me the best understanding of both the student and their needs.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Staying motivated is tricky, no doubt about it. Did you know that if you actually offer a reward for reading to a child who likes reading, they may be less likely to continue reading at their own pace? Tricky, indeed. One of the best ways to keep children motivated is to find out what excites them academically...do they love history? Offer to tell them a fun history story after they finish their math. And use that information! If they love history, then perhaps try explaining math concepts in a historical context, i.e., the apple and Isaac Newton.

What is your teaching philosophy?

Every person learns differently, and teaching strategies have to be sensitive to this. Some people work best with physical or active representations of science concepts, while others respond best to simply reading the material. So, my teaching philosophy is to find how best the student learns and help them implement those strategies.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Independent learners are curious, self-motivated, organized, and critical thinkers. Not all students naturally fall into this category--for these students, helping them find what motivates them to become self-sufficient makes them an independent learner. Whether it be instilling better study skills so that they feel empowered or better relating the material to their lives so that they find it relevant, creating an independent learner requires finding what motivates the student.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

First, if a student has difficulty, I would try to understand where the difficulty came from. Is there a breakdown in the chain of understanding? If so, where? Once you know what the difficulty is, you are better prepared to find a solution that the student can comprehend. Oftentimes, it is a small piece of understanding, that when explained, unlocks the problem.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

At the outset, I seek to understand what subjects they are struggling with and where their difficulties lie. I also make sure that good study habits are instilled at the beginning of our work together, as these can help any student. Finally, I like to know what the student hopes to gain from being tutored!

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I think that the reason most of us become excited and engaged in a subject is because we find it to be of interest to us. Thus, the best way to help a student engage in a difficult subject is to find how it relates to them, make it pertinent to their lives, and they'll naturally want to know more. I also like to give little pieces of "insider information," or the background behind something that's not discussed in the materials, to help them feel that they have context and special knowledge.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I'm a firm believer in understanding, not just memorization. In testing understanding, it can be difficult for tutors because we know the correct answer and can fall into the trap of leading the student to it. Instead, I like to see what they can explain on their own and help them fill in the gaps.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

One way is to start by relating it to what they already know and by using simple examples that they can understand. This tells them they can both comprehend and complete the material at the outset. Goal setting is also important; people feel confident when they achieve. So set reasonable goals and achieve them with your student!

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

My tutoring style is very fluid--I like to understand the child's needs before we come up with a plan of action. Children struggle with different things in different ways, but as long as the tutor is aware of this and makes sure the student is comprehending, the partnership should be successful.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I would have them read me a few paragraphs, and then I would ask comprehension questions. They may have an issue because they read too quickly through the passage, or they may not understand what the comprehension questions are asking of them, etc. All of these can be corrected with hard work!

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Typically, I use the materials that the student uses. However, as in the case of Test Prep, additional material may be required. I actually have most of my textbooks from high school, as well as all the Test Prep books. Additionally, I use several websites to generate tutoring content.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

In short, a number of ways. For example, I would want to have a conversation with the parent and the child to understand what's going well, what isn't, why, etc. I also like to look at past work and see how they did, what they may have missed, and why. No matter what, it's very important to involve the student in their tutoring plan, as ultimately, they are the ones working through it.