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The right kind of help can make all the difference: A tutor’s story

Paper™ tutor Abbey discusses the impact her own educational experiences had on her approach to tutoring in this guest blog post.

Throughout my early academic career, I struggled in certain classes—and specifically in math. My distaste for the subject developed at the onset of my middle school years and progressed throughout high school. 

I never understood the math lessons taught in class, and my questions were often overridden by peers who had a better grasp on the material. Sharing my teacher’s attention with my fellow classmates proved to be a major obstacle as well—I often felt invisible at my desk. Despite attending every after-school group study session and going to all the extra-help classes that I could, I never felt like I received the individualized attention that I needed.

What could have helped me?

Looking back on my early struggles, I realize now that I wasn’t bad at math; rather, I just wasn’t getting the help I needed. I spent so much time believing that I wasn’t smart enough or trying hard enough because I didn’t have access to the right tools (such as an amazing tutoring platform like Paper).

Math became more and more difficult, and none of the resources I found offered me substantial help. However, if I’d had a tutor with a different perspective and the resolute patience to help me, I believe that I would’ve found a method of learning mathematics that was better suited for my ways of thinking.

How Paper steps in

Here at Paper, we help millions of students across the country access academic support regardless of systemic barriers, and we take pride in what we do. 

I’ve been a student before, as has every tutor here at Paper. I know each student faces a unique set of challenges, whether that includes a language barrier, restrictions established due to COVID-19, or trouble focusing in class. I also know how frustrating, stressful, and confusing these obstacles can be. 

That’s why as a humanities and Review Center tutor, I make sure to always approach tutoring sessions from a student’s perspective. When a student is struggling, the first questions I ask myself are:

  • If I were this student, what would be most helpful for me right now?
  • What can I do differently?
  • How else can I explain this?
  • What might be a better way of demonstrating this concept?

At Paper, tutors are empowered to use our diverse skill sets, backgrounds, and knowledge to provide students with personalized and supportive tutoring sessions. Personally, I have a very diverse background. I did my bachelor’s in fine arts, and I’m now a Ph.D. candidate in an applied social and cultural psychology program. 

I’ve found that my multidisciplinary academic foundation allows me to connect with a variety of students across different subjects and to help them overcome challenges through nontraditional approaches. I use my own experiences—both past and present—to encourage students to think outside the box in their own pursuits. 

Just like every tutor here at Paper, I always encourage my students in the classroom, equip them with the skills and knowledge needed for success, and push them to believe in themselves. 


Abbey, Paper Tutor

Paper supports students and educators in school districts by providing unlimited, 24/7, and multilingual Live Help and Review Center support.
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