Dorothy Toepker

Academic Tutor

I was born in the Greater Seattle Area of Washington, but grew up in both the United States and Hong Kong. My early travel exposed me to differing education styles and needs: my passion for learning was nurtured by the intense nature of schooling in Hong Kong, then released in an environment where a student can choose their own path for education. In high school, I took so many AP classes that I needed to use extracurricular sports hours as PE credits and was able finish my bachelor’s degree one year early from the University of Washington. After graduation, I continued my studies as graduate student at Palo Alto University working on a degree in counseling. I believe that mental health is key to learning and academic success.

My passion lies in the subtle ways our brains create shortcuts to more efficiently receive and process data and store them in a way we can easily access when called upon. This understanding can be utilized for better memorization, guide paradigm shifts, or even simply give some appreciation of how wonderful our minds are.

My first encounter with tutoring was providing support to Chinese-born Americans learning Mandarin. As a teaching assistant working with K-8 children in a Chinese school, I became practiced at keeping the attention of my students while maintaining the goal of education. I found joy in the “ah-ha” moments where all the build-up finally pays off.

However, my experience teaching groups showed me that to create a lasting impact, I need to spend time with each individual. I joined a network of tutors to help high school students pass their classes. During this time, I mostly tutored mathematics, a subject that feels daunting at first glance. My students would always tell me, “I am just not smart enough,” or “Math just isn’t for me.” When I hear students tell me that they cannot learn something, it signals to me that the way something was taught to them did not align with their learning styles, not that they lack the ability to master the material. 

One-on-one tutoring gives me the opportunity to understand each individual’s learning style and guide teaching in a way that clicks. By arranging the information in a way that makes sense to each student, I am able to nurture their confidence. I teach my students to visualize how the material interacts, not to merely memorize formulas and facts and repeat them back to me. 

In my free time I enjoy baking, traveling, and watching anime. I also have a passion for fantasy, sci-fi, and Dungeons and Dragons.

Subjects Tutored:

ISEE, HSPT, SSAT, and Writing Sample
Academic Mandarin
Academic Study Skills
Academic K-8


Happy Parents and Students

 My child's tutor is very good at finding creative ways to engage the student and reinforce learning ideas. She also has been very good at working with parents to determine areas of focus. AJ is a very professional operation. They did a good job of matching a tutor to our student.   Read what others are saying

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